Essie Winter 2015 - Virgin Snow Comparisons

Friday, October 23, 2015 15 comments

I shared with you my excitement over the new Winter 2015 Virgin Snow Collection, but I had heard some rumblings on Instagram and various places on the internet that it was a collection full of polishes Essie has done a thousand times. And it's true,  I found TONS of polishes to compare with the collection and I actually came up with some dupes. This post is chock full of pictures to help you decide which polishes you really want to get from the new collection and which ones you can pass on because you may already have something like it at home.

Before I get into comparisons, I just wanted to make a note that my lighting in these photos is all over the place. It's intentional, as I was trying to show the differences in polishes as it was highlighted best: sometimes that was in soft, indirect, natural lighting and sometimes it was in direct sunlight. I hope you find these comparisons helpful!

Apres-Chic vs. No Place Like Chrome

Left: Apres-Chic
Right: No Place Like Chrome
Because Apres-Chic has a tiny bit of "shimmer" texture and No Place Like Chrome is a very smooth chrome polish, I did not expect these two to look as similar as they do. But they do. Can you tell which is which?
Left: Apres-Chic
Right: No Place Like Chrome

The differences in these two polishes is so subtle. They apply the same: they both need a good ridge filling base coat to smooth out the nail to make the application nicer looking and they both need a steady hand to apply with straight brushstrokes. Every time I've applied Apres-Chic, I've made note that it applies in one coat. I've also had No Place Like Chrome sitting in a draft folder for another One-Coat Wonder post for months now, and yet when I applied it this time for these swatches, it went on a little patchy. Most nails were a one-coater and others needed a second coat to smooth things out. So I would say Apres-Chic has a slight upper hand with application, but other than that, they are incredibly similar. Because No Place Like Chrome is just a touch smoother looking without that very fine "shimmer" texture, I'm going to be nit-picky and not call these dupes. But do you need both? No.

Peak Show vs. Minimalistic vs. Fiji

Left to Right: Minimalistic, Peak Show & Fiji
I made the comment in my Winter 2015 Collection post that I love the look of the European version of Essie's Fiji because it looks like a very white pink, although I have no idea how close in colour they really are. Here I'm comparing it to our North American Fiji (pinky finger), which as you can see is a much more saturated baby pink.
Pointer & Ring Finger: Peak Show
Middle Finger: Minimalistic
Pinky: Fiji (North American)
Minimalistic and Peak show are very very close, although Minimalistic is a slightly cooler pink and Peak Show is "whiter" looking. Minimalistic also applied very sheer, and still had some mild streaking at 3 coats, so I applied 4 coats for these photos. Yeesh! Peak Show can be applied in 2-3 coats. I say that because every time I have applied this polish, some nails only need two coats and some need a third. Peak Show wins the formula battle on this one.

Peak Show vs. Romper Room vs. Ballet Slippers

Left to Right: Romper Room, Peak Show & Ballet Slippers
Peak Show really has the icy-white barely pink thing going on. It looks similar to Romper Room, but Romper Room has a touch more pink making it just a bit warmer. Ballet Slippers isn't close to Peak Show at all, with it's sheer formula. It's definitely not as bright as Peak Show, as all that white in Peak Show's base makes it very bright/stark looking, whereas Ballet Slippers has a bit of warm beige, cream colour with a whisper of pink. There are three coats of all three of these polishes on my nails (note that ballet slippers is still not completely opaque on three coats).
Pointer & Ring Finger: Peak Show
Middle Finger: Romper Room
Pinky: Ballet Slippers

Virgin Snow vs. Lilacism vs. Salt Water Happy 

Left to Right: Lilacism, Virgin Snow & Salt Water Happy

It's hard to tell in photo's if Virgin Snow is a light blue or a lilac, so I compared them to both. Salt Water Happy is much bluer than Virgin Snow (especially in person), but Lilacism is a different story. These two hardly look different at all on the nails. I would say Lilacism is ever so slightly greyer than Virgin Snow. Virgin Snow maintains it's light & bright icy lilac colour where Lilacism definitely has some grey in the formula, making it shift between a greyed-out lilac to greyed-out blue. But the difference in appearance is so minimal.

*Updated August 2016: I've recently discovered that my bottle of Lilacism is very discoloured, which is why it looks so similar to Virgin Snow. To see Virgin Snow compared to true Lilacism go here.

Pointer & Ring Finger: Virgin Snow
Middle Finger: Lilacism
Pinky: Salt Water Happy

While these two polishes may look very similar, the formula is a different story. Virgin Snow needs two coats to be completely opaque and Lilacism needs three. Virgin Snow also has a much more self-leveling formula and Lilacism left polish ridges on my nail. I used topcoat for these photos to smooth out the surface of the nail. Virgin Snow for the formula win!

Haute Tub vs. Frock 'n' Roll vs. Licorice

Left to Right: Frock 'n' Roll, Haute Tub & Licorice
Frock 'n' Roll and Haute Tub looked very similar in the promotional photos, but as you can see above, their base colours are very different. Frock 'n' Roll is more of a dusty eggplant espresso colour, while you can see Haute Tub is in a black base, as seen next to Essie's jet black Licorice. The photo below highlights the different coloured shimmer that's in these two polishes as well: Frock 'n' Roll being silver and Haute Tub being this gorgeous amethyst purple.
Left to Right: Frock 'n' Roll, Haute Tub & Licorice
 The formula's of each of these polishes are great. Two easy coats on all of them.
Pointer & Ring Finger: Virgin Snow
Middle Finger: Lilacism
Pinky: Salt Water Happy

Altitude Attitude vs. Double Breasted Jacket vs. Style Hunter vs. She's Pampered 

Left to Right: She's Pampered, Style Hunter, Altitude Attitude & Double Breasted Jacket
Ok so here's where things get tricky. The differences between these polishes is so minuscule. Hopefully you can see that She's Pampered is the most different from the bunch (pinky finger). She's the most red, while the other's are pinky-reds. She's Pampered stood out clearly as being different on my nails, whereas the other three looked pretty much the same. Style Hunter (middle finger) and Double Breasted Jacket (pointer) were almost identical - Style Hunter was just a touch pinker and Double Breasted Jacket had a slight "dusty" colour to it. Altitude Attitude (ring finger) was just a hair redder than the others...but really, let's get serious here. In most lighting, these three polishes looked identical. I had a hard time telling them apart. Do you need all of them? Definitely not. They all have great formulas; there's two coats of all of these on my nails and all of them were easy to apply. 
Pointer Finger: Double Breasted Jacket
Middle Finger: Style Hunter
Ring Finger: Altitude Attitude
Pinky Finger: She's Pampered

Shall We Chalet? vs. Size Matters vs. Fishnet Stockings vs. Twin Sweater Set

Left to Right: Size Matters, Shall We Chalet?, Fishnet Stockings & Twin Sweater Set
Right off the bat, I will point out the two polishes who are not like the other. Size Matters (pointer) is a darker berry red that was deeper in colour than the rest. Twin Sweater Set (pinky finger) was more of a deep apple red with a jelly formula (the rest are cremes). But Shall We Chalet? (middle) and Fishnet Stockings (ring) were straight up dupes! There was no "but this one's a bit more red and this one's a little darker, blah blah blah" business. I could not tell these two apart. They applied very similarly too, both have two coats for the photos.
Pointer Finger: Size Matters
Middle Finger: Shall We Chalet?
Ring Finger: Fishnet Stockings
Pinky Finger: Twin Sweater Set

Shall We Chalet? vs. Dress to Kilt vs. A List vs. With the Band

Left to Right: Dress to Kilt, Shall We Chalet?, A List & With the Band
No dupes in this grouping. Dress to Kilt (pointer) is a teeny bit darker  than Shall We Chalet? (middle). A List (ring) is a bit more of a cherry colour as well as being a crelly formula. With the Band (pinky) is much darker with that "toasted spice" touch of brown thing going on. 

Alright, so there's lots of look-alikes in this collection, and one definite dupe. It depends on how loose your definition of a dupe is, because you may consider some of these other comparisons dupes as well. I put together a little collection of polishes, from the ones I already had, to mimic the polishes from the new Winter Collection.


Looks basically identical doesn't it? I could have easily shopped my own collection instead of buying the 2015 Winter Collection. Except for Haute Tub. That polish is a beauty and I have nothing like it. It's definitely the most unique out of this entire collection.

I'm still into this collection. I do love the way Essie groups colours together and the overall quality of the formula's is great too. I much preferred applying Peak Show and Virgin Snow over my older Essie counterparts.

What are your thoughts on this collection? Are you disappointed in it or do you like it? Will you be picking any of these polishes up?

P.S. I didn't label any of the comparison photos like I usually do. What do you think of that? Is it fine just to caption it or do you like having the labels right on the photos?


  • Crystal said...

    When I first saw this collection I was pretty underwhelmed, and now that I see your comparisons I am pretty settled on not picking up any of these. Great post, Kindra! PS: Regarding the labeling of the comparison photos, I like it labeled directly on the picture. Makes it even easier to know what I'm looking at, in my opinion. : )

  • Kindra said...

    Hi Crystal,
    I'm glad my post could help you decide which ones to get. And I'll keep it in my next time to label the pics themselves! To be honest, I had spent so many hours swatching, taking pictures, editing and composing this post that when I went to add the pictures and saw I hadn't added labels yet, I opted out just to get this post done. Haha. But next time I'll label for sure ;)

  • Michelle V said...

    I already bought Virgin Snow, because I don't own a color like that in my collection. I was thinking of buying Peak Show but I already own Fiji. I think Peak Show is a few shades lighter so I think I might go ahead and get because I want a lighter pink color. But, I agree it's not Essie's most creative collection. In fact, at first glance I wasn't interested in any of the colors.

  • Unknown said...

    Okay this has helped curb my essie addiction and not going crazy and buying the whole collection!
    Loving peak show! But crying over the
    difference between uk Fiji and North American! Is there a uk colour that is similar to your Fiji! I need that shade baddddd


  • Yasa said...

    Essie Peak Show is just horrible to apply. I had to make 4 layers. It bubbles, makes huge strokes and looks like cheap polish. Waste of money. I am afraid Essie Virgin Snow will be just the same. Strange, but websiye does not allow bad comments rated with 1*.

  • Unknown said...

    It seemed to me that most of all the polishes in the new collections are a joke because of how similar they are to previous nail polishes and their constantly making new reds and pinks when they already have so many of them. Essie is adamant about their "new colors" despite others' comments, so I've decided that they must put a tremendous amount of thought and work into each color and collection, so each polish is designed to be itself and pretty, and fit for the season and year.

  • Kindra said...

    Yasa - sorry to hear your bad experience with Peak Show! My polish was great, so you must have gotten a bad bottle. I really hate that there can be differences like that.

  • Kindra said...

    Unknown - yeah I know what you mean. Other's have complained that Essie constantly repeats itself, but because I was just buying the new collections I didn't see it. Now that my collection has grown so much, I find that Essie dupes itself quite a bit or at least gets very very close, especially with reds and pinks like you said. Hoping to see more diversity from them with Rebecca Minkoff as colour designer.

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