Essie Neons 2016 - Off the Wall Collection : Swatches, Review & Comparisons

Tuesday, May 30, 2017 2 comments

I never felt the need to own a bunch and even with the couple I do have, I honestly never wore them. Not to mention Essie hasn't had a legit Neon collection since 2012, despite putting out "neon" collections every summer. 

But last summer Essie gave us the Off the Wall Neon collection and from what I could tell from swatches, they were true neons! As usual, my apathy towards neons made me not pick up any, until late September when I realized the collection had a highlighter yellow that would match the laces on my running shoes and I was running a half-marathon in October and wanted my nails to match my outfit. So I picked up that lone polish, wore it once and then haven't touched it since. 

Earlier this year, I shopped an Essie sale at my local drugstore and because my purchase was so big, the girl at the till gave me some free Essie's which just happened to be two from this neon collection. My friend shopped the same sale and got two different neons than me and before I knew it, I almost had a full collection to review!

To complete my collection I grabbed the pink polish which is the namesake, Off the Wall. I'm also still missing the purple called "The Fuchsia of Art" but it doesn't look all that neon to me and I also saw swatches online where it looked streaky. I decided to skip out on it. But I have the rest of the collection to swatch and review, including the base polish called "Prime and Pop".

While those of us in North America, saw this collection in the Summer of 2016, it was recently released in Europe. It's a paired down collection missing the yellow and blue, but hopefully my review will still be helpful to my lovely European readers who can easily pick this collection up at their local drugstore. I also included a few comparisons. I have no other Essie's that compare to the neon yellow and orange, but I had a few blues and pinks from past Essie neon collections that I included. 
Photo credit: Superdrugloves

Prime and Pop 

Alright, lets start with this white base coat. I was really hoping it would be different than Blanc and be a one-coater since that would eliminate an extra coat of polish. But no. It's opaque in 2 coats. It also shows off brush strokes and ridges in the nails. Hmm. It will perfectly cover your nails and leave no bald spots if you are careful and don't mess with it too much. It's fine but not awesome. If you have a white polish in your collection, Prime and Pop is totally unnecessary....although I wonder? I just had the thought that with a name like "Prime and Pop" that maybe the primer is built into the white colour? I skipped primer in all these manis/photos so that I could eliminate a coat overall, but if there's base built into this white, that's actually kind of cool. 

Stencil Me In

This is the polish I picked up last year to wear for my half-marathon. It perfectly matched my neon yellow shoe laces and running shirt! (which kind of made me love it) It's a sheer jelly highlighter yellow that actually applies really well. It wasn't streaky at all. My longer nails needed two coats but they are shorter now so I could do a generous one coat. I guess it depends on your nails. Your white base really matters. It needs to be perfectly smooth and opaque for the neon on top to look good. Any bald spots in your base show up in the finished nail look because the neon polish is totally sheer. I like this one and would totally wear it this summer. 

Mark On Miami

This was one of the polishes I was given for free with my Essie purchase. I keep seeing orange nails around Instagram, which is normally not at all a colour I would go for, but something about Mark on Miami has been calling my name to try it out. I found the application of this one the same as Stencil Me In. I could do one generous coat of Mark on Miami over my white base and it came out nice and smooth and not streaky. On longer nails than mine I think you'd need a second coat. I'm absolutely loving this shade and could definitely see myself wearing it. Who am I?!

Gallery Gal

Another great colour! I love this one too. I did find that I couldn't do one generous coat but instead needed two thinner coats of Gallery Gal on top of my white base nails. Even then, polish carefully otherwise it will look uneven. But yes, I'm seriously loving these neons for summer!

Off the Wall

Gallery Gal was a coral-toned neon pink whereas Off the Wall is a straight up pink. I needed 2 thin coats over my white base. If you are not careful it can get thick and uneven in spots. It's a great hot pink. These are legit neons you guys! I'm so impressed. 

Off the Wall vs. Bottle Service vs. Gallery Gal

I pulled out my only neon pink which came out in the 2013 collection and decided to compare it to both of the neon pinks in this collection. The 2013 Neon Collection also needed white undies, so all the swatches here were over a white base. The new polishes are much brighter and truer neons even though Off the Wall and Bottle Service look pretty similar in the bottle. The pics don't show it, but Gallery Gal is much more of a coral with orange undertones. In person, it stands out as totally different (I guess the neonness of this mani freaked my camera out a bit)

In it to Wyn It

This is definitely a nice bright blue but I'm not a fan of this one. At all. It needs two coats over the white base and it's still streaky and uneven! I tried a third coat of In It To Wyn It and it looked less streaky, but it no longer looked bright and neon. I really don't think 2 coats of white plus three coats of In It to Wyn It plus a top coat is worth it! Good choice on Essie EU to pass on this polish for their neon collection. I would never wear this colour on it's own like this, but maybe if you were doing some neon nail art this one would be okay. 

In It To Wyn It vs. Make Some Noise vs. I'm Addicted

In It to Wyn It is definitely the most neon blue out of these three but it's just so uneven and streaky! Pass.

I read that The Fuchsia of Art (purple) was just as streaky, if not worse, than In It To Wyn It so that's why I decided to skip out. In It To Wyn It was one of my freebies otherwise I never would have bought it. It actually surprises me that the yellow one Stencil Me In, wasn't included in the European release! It's honestly the best one and the easiest to apply. 

I'm super impressed that Essie finally came out with a neon collection that has true neon pigment in them. These are all super bright and dried matte so I used top coat for my photos. If you are annoyed that Essie needs white undies as their base while some other companies don't, I actually asked that same question when I was at the L'Oreal Labs in New York. The answer is that L'Oreal (and in turn, Essie) uses really high safety standards. If they deem something unsafe they won't use it, even though other companies still do. It's actually happened where a certain pigment will be newly banned by the FDA and all other companies have to stop using it, but it's something L'Oreal hasn't used in years. So the true neon pigment, that doesn't need white undies that is opaque on it's own, is actually not approved by the FDA. So Essie won't use it. That explains why the last true neon collection came out in 2012 (pre-L'Oreal) and why every collection since hasn't been neon at all. I'm glad that the Essie labs chemists worked out a formula where they could produce a neon that's FDA approved! Yes it needs white undies but I'm okay with that. 
I don't know who I am, but I'm totally stoked to wear these neons this summer! (minus In It To Wyn It) If you are someone who is new to polish or not very good at polish, I think you would find these frustrating to apply. They take some careful application skills and many coats but I'm loving the finished result. Give yourself lots of time for application and maybe even get yourself a white base that only needs one coat. Also, be careful with clean up. If you get overzealous with your brush and acetone, you end up wiping away polish colour and expose the white base underneath, giving yourself a really obvious white ring around your cuticle. Despite that, Stencil Me In, Mark on Miami, Gallery Gal and Off the Wall are the winners in this collection.

Did you pick up any from this neon collection? What were your experiences?


  • Unknown said...

    Hmm, I have never used a white base before so I'm not sure how I would do, because I often do a lot of cleanup with regular polishes. Maybe when Essie comes out with a neon Gel Couture collection I'll give neons a try! (With GC colors, I need minimal to no cleanup)

    That yellow is somethin' else though!

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