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Essie Summer 2012 Collection — A Nail Color Heat Wave!

When you dip your toes into a sparkling swimming pool, let the sea-moistened sand creep onto your feet while strolling down the shore, or show off your pedi in a pair of feather-adorned or beaded thong sandals, do you really want your nails to be coated in a matronly wine or russet color or, worse, to bear a timid baby pink or nude hue? Absolutely not! Summer is the season to embrace your inner daredevil, to shed your inhibitions, to embark on new adventures and adopt a carpe diem motto. And there’s no easier place to start than with your style choices. Sure, you may prefer a demure one-piece swimsuit or a coverage-offering tankini to a minuscule triangle bikini top with a skimpy hipster bottom, but there are other ways to experiment with vivacious color and bold attitude — and chief among them is investing in beachy, vibrant, succulent nail lacquers.

The Essie Summer 2012 collection incorporates unapologetically bright hues like the hot pink Off the Shoulder polish or the blazing orange Fear or Desire polish; refreshingly cool colors like the cornflower blue Bikini So Teeny and the spearmint green Mojito Madness; a feminine, lavender-tinged pastel pink dubbed Cascade Cool; and a smoldering, sunset-worthy, coral-tinged bronze shade dubbed All Tied Up.

Below, you’ll find close up images of each shade, along with swatches, so you can select which shades you want to splash around in!

BIKINI SO TEENY 

Every time I speak about (or write about) the Essie Bikini So Teeny nail polish ($8 per bottle; visit Essie.com for store locations), Bryan Hyland’s “Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Yellow Polka Dot Bikini” pops into my head, the irony being, of course, that this color is as far from yellow as they come. Pop culture references aside, this color is a breath of fresh air — it’s a light cornflower blue that almost borders on sky blue and, though it’s a pale shade, it’s intensely saturated with pigment, offering excellent coverage. The consistency, meanwhile, is creamy and rich, adding to the pastel’s shade modern sophistication.

Here’s what the Bikini So Teeny hue looks like on nails:

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CASCADE COOL

Normally, light pink nail enamel hues don’t float my boat (in fact, they tend to sink my battleship), but the Cascade Cool nail polish ($8 per bottle; visit Essie.com for store locations) introduced in this collection stands as an exception to the rule since the tonality of the pink is much icier, with almost lavender or lilac undertones, and it’s got the perfect medium-strength depth along with a very succulent creamy texture.

Check out the cascade of color:

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MOJITO MADNESS

In addition to Bikini So Teeny, the Mojito Madness nail polish ($8 per bottle; visit Essie.com for store locations) stands as my favorite shade in the collection. This creamy nail lacquer has a very unique green tone. Despite the reference to mojitos in its name, the color is deeper and richer than the yellowish-lime shade of the classic cocktail, and it features more bluish undertones than those associated with standard mint leaves. I’d actually describe Mojito Madness as more of a jade color or even a lush spearmint green.  Either way, the color is worth going mad over!

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FEAR OR DESIRE

No summer color would be complete without a sizzlin’ orange hue, and that’s the role the Fear or Desire nail polish ($8 per bottle; visit Essie.com for store locations) plays in this collection. Another creamy, medium-depth shade, Fear or Desire has the same electrifying, sunny quality of a Sunkist soda bottle.

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OFF THE SHOULDER

Though not the most original shade in the collection, the Off the Shoulder nail polish ($8 per bottle; visit Essie.com for store locations) is arguably the most audacious and provocative since its deep honeysuckle pink hue hardly lacks in flamboyance. As its name implies, this is a color meant to titillate and seduce, to convey a confident and unabashed sense of femininity.

Here’s what going off the shoulder entails:

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ALL TIED UP 

Last, there’s the All Tied Up nail polish ($8 per bottle; visit Essie.com for store locations), the most “neutral” of the lacquer hues in the collection. Described as a molten bronze shade, All Tied Up has this tawny, almost caramel-like feel mixed with a fleshy pink quality and it’s saturated with fine golden shimmer. Though it’s a versatile hue, I actually found it to be the least exciting in the lot since, once I applied it to my nails, I felt that the mix of coral, bronze, and brown tones looked a bit too matronly and austere. Even the shimmer added to the formula couldn’t quite rejuvenate the base color.

Here was the result:

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Overall, however, I found the Essie Summer 2012 collection to incorporate some great high points — particularly with Bikini So Teeny and Mojito Madness.

Which are your favorites?

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