Essie Retro Revival : Starry Starry Night & Birthday Suit

Friday, January 8, 2016 3 comments

It was a no-brainer that I would be picking up a bottle of the coveted Essie Starry Starry Night, a polish that Essie long ago discontinued and nail polish fiends everywhere cried. I mean, I HAD to get my hands on this polish that was brought back to life for Essie's 35th Anniversary. It almost was the only polish I was going to pick up from the collection and then I changed my mind and grabbed Birthday Suit as well.

Left to Right: Starry Starry Night, Bikini With a Martini, Life of the Party, Birthday Suit, Sequin Sash & Cabana Boy

Birthday Suit

Birthday Suit was originally released in the first 12 polishes Essie created in 1981.  When I saw the original swatches by CutePolish, I disliked this colour a lot. Her swatches were so sheer and looked almost yellowy-beige and I was not into that. But then I saw Lauren's List's swatches and hers made this colour look more of a light pink-toned nude. I thought it was so pretty in her pics and it's what pushed me over the edge to pick this colour up.  

I was worried about this polish being streaky and wanted to figure out the best way to apply it, so I first tried Fill the Gap as my base. I then did two coats. The first coat I applied normally/thinly like you are supposed to. For my second coat I went a bit thicker and sort of just floated the polish over the surface of my nail to get more coverage with the least amount of streaks. In the photos, you can see a bit of streaking on my middle and ring finger but in person it wasn't as noticeable.
Fill the Gap Base Coat + 2 Coats of Essie Birthday Suit

Next I tried a normal clear base (Essie All In One). I made sure to do all the coats thin this time to see how many coats it would take and to see if it would be streaky. I found the polish levels out nicely, but yes the streaks were there, especially on the first coat. Once I had two thin coats on it really wasn't bad! I know some would hate this because you can see your nail line and faint streaking but the streaks aren't super obvious and I think my nails look really clean and classic. After 3 coats, I'm so into this. It's smooth and even with no streaks. It's a squishy white nude with pink tones to it. I'm so loving this polish!

After trying both methods, I got the best results doing 3 thin coats. I think in combination with Fill the Gap as a base coat instead of something clear you could get even better results, but I don't think it's absolutely necessary since I got a beautiful mani without it.

The above picture is in cool lighting and the bottom one shows it in warmer light.

Edited to add: Check this post here to see Birthday Suit compared to other Essie Sheer Nudes

Starry Starry Night

I haven't completely nailed down when this polish was first released. Essie posted on their Instagram that it was in 1985 but then a bunch of promo packages being sent to bloggers said 1997. While I haven't come up with an exact answer, after doing lots of research, I think maybe both are correct. My guess is that it first came out in 1985, then for some reason it was discontinued. Then in 1994 Chanel released a blue nail polish with fine glitter in it that was called "Ciel de Nuit" (Night Sky) and everyone went mad for it and the limited edition polish sold out. Essie later released (either as a re-release or first time release) Starry Starry Night and again the nail polish community went bonkers for it's beauty. 

I can see why everyone loved it so much! Starry Starry Night is a deep blue jelly base full of little silver glitter. The glitter suspended in the base turns a shade of blue. As you lay down another coat of polish, the first layer of glitter turns a deeper shade of glittery blue, while the top layer has some of the glitter covered in the polish making them light blue and others that show up silver, making for this beautiful layered effect. It's very very striking.

The formula is strange for a jelly. It's thick and slightly goopy. It's not as smooth as other Essie jellies that I've come to love like Bordeaux. Fortunately, it's not too difficult to apply. It's opaque in two coats. It's not too gritty when dry and a coat of top coat will smooth it right out.

I did find that when I used my Essie Good to Go fast drying top coat, that it seemed to shrink this particular shade a bit. In the photo below, I had Essie All In One Base Coat, 2 coats of SSN and 1 coat of Good to Go. In less than 12 hours, the polish had shrunk and was revealing the white tips of my nails. The effect is pretty minor but it bugs me a little so I need to experiment more and see if other top coats do that.

All in all, I had mixed feelings about this collection (and I think a lot of you do too!). All over my Instagram a lot of you said you weren't interested in these sheer polishes with frosted finishes. They seem really outdated. I kind of wondered who the fans were that wanted these polishes back? And on the flip side, I've also had friends and others comment and say how much they love this collection and that they want every single shade!

For me, the only other polish I considered getting from this collection was "Life of the Party" (the dark red). I thought it was actually quite beautiful but because it has a more pearlized finish, I wasn't sure how much I would really wear it. "Cabana Boy" (the pearlized white/grey) seems to be popular among other nail bloggers. I keep seeing others say how much they really like it which kind of surprises me and makes me kind of curious about it. Sequin Sash (sheer glittery bronze) and Bikini with a Martini (sheer iridescent pink) didn't interest me at all because of how sheer they are. However, Janine at Beauty Geeks used them for layering over other polishes and the effect was crazy beautiful!

The other thing I've read is that Starry Starry Night is quite different from the original release. The glitter isn't as fine and the actual base colour and formula are different (read more about it and see pics here and here). I'm disappointed that this polish isn't exactly the same since the original is stunning with diamond dust in it, but it's not a deal-breaker for me. I really like my bottle of SSN but just in case you hadn't heard of this discrepancy yet, I thought I would bring it up.

So not every shade in this collection tickles my fancy and Starry Starry Night is different than the original...BUT! The two polishes I ended up with are perfection. They're total beauties and I really love them.

I'm soooooooo curious to hear your thoughts on this collection! Do you like these shades? Will you pick any of them up? How does it make you feel that Starry Starry Night is different? Let's chat in the comments.


  • Emma said...

    Hi Kindra,
    I'm a fairly newcomer to your blog, but can I just say it's amazing and so helpful!!!
    I must say I completely agree with you, the red and the blue polishes are the ones I'm going to get from this collection (still waiting for the release in Belgium) the others are just too sheer.
    I mean I get that it wouldn't really be a "retro" revival without at least one sheer, since that's what Essie was known for, but 3?!!! I mean the people that would be attracted to this; are either of an older generation (do they really follow limited releases that closely) and people that have to wear neutrals for work or just don't wear polish on a regular basis. That's what I think anyway!
    The majority of the loyal followers who do follow releases more closely tend to like colours and opaqueness.
    That said I'm looking forward to Starry Starry Night even if it isn't like the original, honestly I think Essie's Lots Of Lux is the most similar in that respect (absolutely stunning in sunlight) but because it's a sand it chips rather quickly, so Starry Starry Night would be a good alternative for me, when I don't fancy the chips :)
    However when it comes to the best night sky representation in a polish, I really love OPI's recent release Cosmo with a Twist, on my blog if your interested
    I don't know how you feel about OPI since you mainly do Essie, but it's worth a look :)

  • Kindra said...

    Hi Emma,
    Yes I totally agree with you! I feel like these colours capture the old Essie, but Essie has gone in a much more modern direction with fun colours and thicker formulas than previous years, so it's too bad there wasn't more to represent that.

    I have nothing against OPI or any other brands and really like their polishes, there was just something that drew me to Essie. Once I started my blog, I seemed to keep collecting Essie since that's what the content of my blog is. But I would love to check out your post! I've seen pics of OPI's Cosmo With a Twist and it's really pretty!

  • Emma said...

    Ah ok wasn't sure, some people tend to be quite polarised when it comes to OPI and Essie.
    I used to love OPI a lot when I was mostly going for dark colours (they excel in that department). But over the last couple of years my love has definitely shifted towards Essie for their fun and sometimes unusual colours (Chilato, I'm a right).
    But thank you for checking out my post and leaving such a nice comment, it really means a lot since I'm still just a beginner in this blogging world :)

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