Treat Love & Color Expansion : 15 New Shades - Swatches & Review

Tuesday, January 23, 2018 6 comments
Good morning lovelies!

I've been so excited about this TLC shade expansion from Essie, so I can't wait to dive in and share them with you. Last year when Essie came out with the sheer shades of this line, I did a two-week wear test and had amazing results! These really make my nails less dry and brittle. I wear them underneath regular polish as a base coat all the time, so I'm excited to be able to eliminate a step and just wear the cream shades by themselves.

I've been asked this question lots of times, so I thought I would address it here: these are meant to be worn on a bare nail with no base coat or top coat. They colored nail polish that is infused with nail treatment to make nails stronger and peel less. While I don't use base coat (that would defeat the purpose of them), I do use a top coat. They take a little too long to dry for my liking and my nails still get the benefit of the treatment. I like Essie Speed Setter as the topper.

Alright. Let's dive in and take a look at the swatches! (*please note: while I would've loved to provide comparisons, I was swatching 15 polishes all at once which is incredibly time consuming. I decided to just go with swatches this time. If you really want comparisons, let me know in the comments and I can work on it :) ) 

Gloss Fit 

This first one is just a clear gloss that makes your nails shiny, while giving them that TLC treatment. While at first I felt no need for a shade like this, I think I might actually find it useful. Funny enough, the name "Gloss Fit" is a play on the word "cross fit" and I actually go to cross fit 5 times a week. I find my nails are better protected while working out whenever I have polish on and I've totally snagged or broken a nail or two when I go with bare nails. If I don't have time for polish, but want them to be protected, it would be super easy to slap on a quick coat of this stuff. It would also make a great treatment base coat under regular polish.

Minimally Modest 

This is a very pretty sheer pink, reminding me of Coming Together or a more sheer version of Muchi Muchi. I did 3 coats for these pics but I've worn it with only two and it's beautiful. The brush was curved with a few stray bristles that stuck out further so I trimmed them with my cuticle nippers. The brush worked great after that. I liked this one, my nails looked really clean and healthy.

In a Blush 

OBSESSED. I can already predict this one will be my favourite of the collection, which is not surprising because I absolutely love Pre-Show Jitters and they are basically the same color.  In a Blush needs 3 coats to be opaque.  This polish had a wide but flat brush. Not curved like the last one. It was more difficult to use, not only because it wasn't curved but because it had a sort of 'flimsy-ness' to the bristles, almost like the bristles were too long. It wasn't the easiest to control the polish with.

Pinked to Perfection

OMG. This pale pink is so pretty!! It's a pale pink with some nude tones and I love it so much. The application however, was a different story. The first coat applies so weird. It kind of mottled and the pigment separated while it was on my nail. It just looked streaky and very patchy. After 3 coats, it was mostly opaque, but I had really obvious lines down my nails where the polish had thinned. I must have had some ridges in my nails, so I pulled off the polish, buffed my nails and applied 3 coats of Pinked to Perfection again. It looked much better that way. I would say its "mostly opaque" in 3 coats but I can see some darker patches and would need to do a 4th for them to be totally perfect. I wanted to love this one so much, but the formula isn't doing it for me (I'll still probably wear it because I love the color so much and I'll curse profusely while I apply it, haha)

Tonal Taupe

Tonal Taupe is a sheer like Minimally Modest. Looks really good at 2 coats (ie; no streaking) but I decided to go with 3 coats. It's loooooooaaaaded with golden shimmer! Very pretty in direct sunlight. In regular lighting, it looks like you are wearing a nude with a bit of a sheen. The brush on this one also had a stray bristle that I had to trim before I could use it. The brush was a little bit curved (?) . It was weird - not a flat straight brush like some of them, and not completely curved like some of the others. The brushes in these TLC polishes are definitely not consistent! Some are harder to use than others. 

Good Lighting

Good Lighting is a greige cream. This is doing that same mottled/separation thing on the first coat. I'll show you a pic. 

Good Lighting was almost opaque on the second coat but I still had some streaks/patches so I went with 3 coats. This brush was cut straight across. Since I'm seeing so much variation in brushes, I'll just say now, that I really don't like the brush design. It's not consistent, it's sometimes flimsy and difficult to control and sometimes needs trimming. The wide stem means polish just runs straight down and can easily flood your cuticles. The twist they put on the GC stem is the very best and stops polish from sliding down so easily, and of course those curved brushes are everything. If Essie wanted to go with a wider brush format, they really should just use the technology from the GC brushes. 

Loving Hue

Loving hue is a rosey pink filled with golden shimmer. This is 3 coats and you can still see a bit of my nail line, however it's not streaky. This one has a perfect curve to the brush, so I like it better than all the other ones I've tried. 

Glowing Strong

This is a bright coral orange, somewhere in between Peach Side Babe and Haute as Hello. This brush was wide, but not as wide as the previous ones, and it was flat and short. Totally different than all the other brushes! It made it much easier to control the polish than the "flimsy" brushes I was experiencing with Good Lighting and In a Blush. I'm really surprised there has been so much brush variation! This one is opaque in 3 coats. 

Power Punch Pink

This is a bright opaque bubble gum pink and it had kind of crelly formula but wasn't streaky. It was nice. It's opaque in 3 coats (and I didn't hate the application because the brush had a perfect curve).

Daytime Dreamer

I had to trim this brush because there were weird bristles sticking out. This one was opaque in 2 coats, although now I'm seeing in these pics that I have a dark streak down my middle and ring finger. Those nails definitely could've used a 3rd coat. I'm loving this candy lilac shade!

Indi-Go For It

Another short brush that isn't too wide. It was opaque in 2-3 coats. I had a some streaks on a couple nails, so those got a 3rd. When I look at this next to Mooning and Udon Know Me, this stands out as a different shade of grey-blue.  

On the Mauve

This is a deep grey with lots of purple/mauve and brownish tones. You'd think a shade like this would easily become opaque but it's more of a crelly. It took 3 coats to become opaque, and even then, I can see some thin patches in these pics. 

Tone it Up

Ugh, another brush I had to trim. But I'm LOVING this color!! It's so gorgeous. And this one has the best formula of them all! It was opaque in one coat although I did 2 coats. I think this might be close to Winning Streak, but with more of a purple tone. 


This brush was cut straight across but on an angle (*insert eye roll). Nonetheless, this is a beautiful color. It has a nice formula that is very opaque and smooth. This one needed 2 coats. 


Another fantastic formula! Self-levelling, creamy and opaque in 1 coat. I left it at one coat for the pics because it was so flawless. This polish is like a cross between Mrs. Always Right and Angora Cardi. 

Loving most of these new shades, but woah, those brushes were quite the roller coaster! Essie definitely needs to fix that. They need a consistent shape and thickness. Ideally, they would either be flat and curved (perfectly curved, with no stray bristles to trim or some that are longer than others) or a short, flat brush like Indi-Go For It or Glowing Strong. The regular skinny Essie brush would be better than some of those brushes I got!

Some of the formula's were better than others, and I wasn't digging that whole weird "separation" thing or having to add an extra coat for opaqueness. But if these opaque TLC's work as good as the sheer ones that came out last year, I will still totally use them. 

With these 15 new shades, plus the three we already had (Sheers to You, Treat Me Bright and Laven-Dearly) that makes 18 TLC shades here in Canada. There's so many good colors to choose from and there's a really good range.

My UK girls are getting these new TLC's but with not as many shade releases. You are however, getting at least 3 shades that neither America or Canada got:

  • Crunch Time (nue beige - looks similar to Eternal Optimist or maybe Suit & Tied)
  • Lite Weight (natural beige pink)
  • Nude Mood (pure ivory white cream)
  • See the Light (reflective ivory beige - also being released in the U.S. but not Canada) 

My U.S. friends, you guys are getting all these shades plus 7 more! The shades America got that Canada didn't:

  • Can't Hardly Weight (grey slate)
  • In the Balance (pale grey with silver shimmer)
  • Mint Condition (mint sage green)
  • Right Hooked (slate grey with beige tones)
  • See the Light (reflective ivory beige)
  • Time to Unwind (a shadowy greige with pink/red shimmer - reminds me of Social-Lights)
  • Work for the Glow (bubble gum pink with fuchsia shimmer)

My absolute favourites from the Canadian release are In a Blush and Tone It Up. The one I wish I could get is Mint Condition from the U.S. I received these as PR from Essie Canada but they are out in stores now. I've seen them at Superstore and Shopper's Drug Mart for about a week or two now.

What are your thoughts on this new collection? The colors, the formulas, the brushes?! I wanna know!


U.S. exclusive shades:



  • Shimmering Highlights said...

    Wow so many swatches. I bet these took you so long to do.

    I've bought daytime dreamer and will be trying it this week. I wanted to get mauve-tivation and a-game as well, but I can't find these two, so presume were not getting those two in the UK. Hoping Ella Gray gets them in.

    Wish they'd release the same polishes in each country.

  • Anonymous said...

    Thanks for the amazing swatch fest Kindra! I've read a few reviews now that detail the brush inconsistency...that's unfortunate. I like the concept of these & have a couple of the sheer shades, but I'm afraid that without a base, I'll end up with stained, yellow nails. So glad you're back in action!

    Rachel - Cleveland, OH

  • Holly said...

    So many colors!! I'm keeping my eye out for Tone It Up and Daytime Dreamer. DD looks similar to Meet Me at the Altar, which I love. Maybe DD is more of a cream though.

  • Cat said...

    Hi Kindra, Thanks to your honest review, I'll be passing on this entire line. Inconsistent formulas and infuriating brushes = NO. I can achieve the same "treatment" results with my regular method of polish application and trusted base/top coats. This is not the first review complaining about the brushes and formulas, by the way!

  • Anonymous said...

    Hi Kindra! I have found that if you use TLC Gloss Fit as a base coat it solves the streaky/blotchy application for the rest of the TLC line. I have used it with In a Blush, In the Balance and On the Mauve and only needed 1 coat over the Gloss Fit.

  • Vanvi_vi said...

    Those brushes sound awful D:
    I still only got Treat me bright. I'm about halfway through the bottle and I start to get small clots. I also found that they need a while to dry.
    I really love my TLC color though. As a base or just a sheer "in between polish" to prevent breaking/cracking.

    I do love my light blues, so indi-go for it is on my wishlist now. But I do not really find the new shades to be a selling point for me. If I want colour, I'm putting on my treat me bright as a base and then add a regular colour, which might apply better, dry better and not have a tricky brush.

    Also anyone else find the smell of the TLC to be rougher than those of the regular polishes?

    Didn't mean it to be such a long comment :D
    Thank you for keeping us all update with the Essie!

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