Essie Sheer Nude Comparison : Ballet Slippers, Birthday Suit, Limo-Scene & Baby's Breath

Tuesday, January 12, 2016 2 comments

Kay, I just gotta start by saying thank you guys for all your support on my Blogiversary post! You guys are the best and so encouraging. If you haven't entered the giveaway already, you should. There's only one day left, so go do it! (click here)

When I asked what you'd like to see more of on Essie Envy in 2016, overwhelmingly across the board, you guys said comparisons. Your wish is my command! I really love these comparison posts as well, because it's the kind of information I really want to know and I find it helps me get to know my own collection better. Until I see these polishes laid out side by side, even I don't know how the colour differs slightly or how the formula compares. Because I just reviewed Essie Birthday Suit from the Retro Revival Collection and absolutely loved it, I wanted to compare it to other sheer Essie nudes in my collection. These were the four polishes I came up with:
Left to Right: Ballet Slippers, Birthday Suit, Limo-Scene & Baby's Breath
In the bottles they all look like they are going to be quite similar, especially Ballet Slippers and Birthday Suit. I hadn't even worn or swatched Baby's Breath or Limo-Scene before this comparison so I couldn't wait to see them in action. Baby's Breath looks like an off-white with blush tones and Limo-Scene looks like a creamy off-white nude.

I knew these polishes were sheer so a ridge filling base coat would have given me the best results, but I wanted to see how streaky (if at all) they were on their own, so I'm using a clear base coat in all my swatches (CND Stickey Base). Let's take a look at them side by side on the nail, one coat at a time.  

At one coat, Birthday Suit and Limo-Scene are the most sheer. Baby's Breath and Ballet Slippers are sheer as well but they do have more of a creamy opacity on the nail than the other two. All of them have streaks at this point. 

Woah. Second coat and Baby's Breath is standing out as different than the rest. It's much more opaque and more white than the others. Ballet Slippers, Birthday Suit and Limo-Scene are looking pretty similar but Limo-Scene has just a slight bit more white to it than the other two. 

At three coats, Baby's Breath is an opaque white. This totally surprised me, it's not what I was expecting at all from this polish. Ballet Slippers is the same colour tone as Birthday Suit but it's more opaque and smooth looking. Baby's Breath and Ballet Slippers have no streaks at three coats, but Birthday Suit and Limo-Scene do (especially noticeable on Limo-Scene). Limo-Scene and Birthday Suit have the same amount of sheerness to them, but Limo-Scene is a touch more white while Birthday Suit keeps that blush nude colour (but to be honest, the difference is very slight).

Birthday Suit

In 1981, when Essie Weingarten created her first 12 polishes and took them to Las Vegas to sell, Birthday Suit was part of the original 12. I'm not sure at what point this polish was discontinued, but Essie brought it back for the 35th Anniversary Retro Revival Collection. Birthday Suit's formula is thin but easy to control. It's quite streaky but the polish self-levels well, so as it dries the streaks mostly smooth themselves out. It looks best at 3 coats and is usually fairly streak-free, although I've now worn this polish several times and haven't been able to get it streak-free with every single application. So careful application of this polish along with a ridge filling base coat would give you the best results. It has a really pretty nude blush tone to it and you can still see your nail line at 3 coats, so if that bothers you this polish won't be for you (I myself love this though!)

Baby's Breath

This is another original polish from Essie's first 12 created. I actually got it because I love jelly whites and off-whites and I wanted to try it out for my Essie Classics series. This polish has a nice, thin, easy to control formula and it's easy to apply thin coats. It's streaky on the first coat, but the second coat covered quite well. I decided to go for a 3rd coat since I was assuming all of these polishes would need 3 coats, so I wanted to see which ones get more opaque/less streaky than others. At 3 coats of Baby's Breath there are zero streaks and its way more of an opaque white than I was expecting. The formula was really nice and the lack of streaks is a plus! The one drawback I found to Baby's Breath is that it takes a long time to dry (much longer than the other three polishes). 


I've been coveting Limo-Scene forevvvvver and almost got ahold of it during a Black Friday sale but it sold out before I could even check out. My friend Bree is an amazingly thoughtful gift giver and she read about my Black Friday mishap in my haul blog post and picked it up and gave it to me for Christmas. I love that girl! Limo-Scene is very sheer off-white. The formula is thin and you can't put too much polish on your brush or it will run down the sides of your nail and want to pool, so keep your coats thin. I loved how sheer this polish was and for a regular mani I probably would have stopped at 2 coats, but for the sake of this comparison did the 3rd. I really like the effect this polish has! I like that I can see my nail underneath, it reminds of a gel manicure. However, Limo-Scene is streeakkkky. In the photo it doesn't look too streaky but be aware the streaks are there, even after 3 coats.

Ballet Slippers

In my head, I always think that Ballet Slippers is a pale pink but when I did the comparison to other pale pinks, it stood out as being more creamy nude. I wouldn't have initially grabbed this polish for this comparison, but I remembered it's blush nude tones and decided to add it. It turns out to be almost identical to Birthday Suit, especially when you have two coats on. Ballet Slippers is fairly easy to apply. It's a tiny bit thicker than the others (who have thin formulas) but that could also be because I've had this bottle of polish for a few years now. There still a bit of streaks at 2 coats. At 3 coats its a creamy beige nude with blush pink tones and it's got more opacity like Baby's Breath. There may be minor streaks (if any at all) but not noticeable.

Let's have another look at these babies side by side in different lighting:

These are the polishes side by side in cool end-of-day light, so all the shades are looking quite cool and whitish. You can hardly see the blush nude tones.

Here they are in full warm-toned sunshine. Baby's Breath is still the odd-ball out since it's such an opaque white, but it's nude tones come out in this lighting. The other three basically look all the same here and you can really see their blush nude tones as well, although Limo-Scene is a bit brighter because it has those white tones. 

I also added a coat of Good to Go for this picture and it really helped to blend out the streaks that were visible on Birthday Suit and Limo-Scene, so that's a great tip: use a good top coat! Also using a ridge filling base coat as your base will help them all have a much better (streak-free) application as well.

*Edited to Add: I just couldn't help myself and wanted to see how these polishes performed with Fill the Gap as the base coat. Limo-Scene and Birthday Suit look much better! Although the base coat makes the polishes less opaque as well, so they all kind of look the same. But I will definitely be using this base coat with those two from now on. 

Because I mentioned above while doing swatches that I thought Ballet Slippers at 2 coats looked the same as Birthday Suit at 3 coats, I decided to go ahead and try it to see if that was true.
Yup! They are identical, although Birthday Suit at 3 coats is waaaaay more smooth with no streaking and Ballet Slippers at 2 coats has lots of streaks. But the colour and opacity is the same. 

At 3 coats, both Birthday Suit and Ballet Slippers start to look very different. They are both quite smooth with a blush nude tone but Ballet Slippers is now more opaque and looks brighter on the nail.

I don't quite know which my favourite was. I told you in my review post that I loved Birthday Suit and that's still true. I love the look on my nails because it's sheer but in a pretty way. And the colour is gorgeous. But doing this comparison showed me it's basically the same colour as Ballet Slippers!  I definitely need to wear that polish more often because it's so beautiful. Even though they are the same colour I don't mind owning both, since I get different effects with them at 3 coats, so I would say that Birthday Suit and Ballet Slippers are tied for my faves. I liked Limo-Scene but I'm disappointed with how streaky it is. Baby's Breath was a fantastic formula, but really not a sheer nude at all! Next to these blushed nudes it looked white, yet I'm curious if I swatched it next to a pure opaque white, if it's off-white tones would come out (a comparison for another day ;) )

Have you tried any of these polishes before? Which were your faves?

I have many more comparisons so if you missed any of them, click here to see them all.


  • Emma said...

    January is definitely the month of nudes for me, after all that red :O
    So this post couldn't be more perfect Kindra! I'm really tempted by Ballet Slippers; a) because of the name (I used to do Ballet, got as far as point level...woop woop! b) it doesn't have streaks
    The only issue is that I'm saving my pennies for the lovely pinks in the OPI Hello Kitty Collection. Unfortunately, Essie's Coachabella never made it to these shores, but I think I spy a dupe in Hello Kitty 😈😊

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