Essie Valentine’s Day 2023 Collection – Swatches & Review

It’s another February, and so that means another Valentine’s Day collection from Essie (no you’re NOT reading this after Valentine’s Day is already past, idk what you’re talking about). China Glaze has us covered for Halloween, and Essie has us for Valentine’s. We’re slowly getting covered for every major holiday, and next up, I’m expecting greens for St. Patrick’s, thank you very much.

ANYWAYS, as always, Essie has blessed us with another 6 piece collection to help us celebrate love. Nail polish will always be #1 in my heart (and okay, fine I guess my boyfriend too) so of course I’m excited to have even more to put on my fingers. Let’s talk about these shades.

Since Essie has done many a Valentine’s release by this point, we’ve gone through quite a lot of pinks and reds. So for this one, they venture on down into some “non-traditional” Valentine’s shades, like rich blues, dusty purples and some gorgeous shimmers. AND I’M NOT MAD AT IT. I’m a lover of all colors, I welcome them all, and we’re here to celebrate Love Day with any shade. They also of course have the little bottle detailing – with some little flames and hearts wrapped around the bottom of the cap. Cute as always.

I purchased these from Ulta (and yes, dealt with their lack of padding for glass nail bottles again), and I’m sure you can find them at other various drugstores like Target, CVS or Walgreens. Ulta still has them in stock and shipping if you don’t feel like hunting them down.

Alright, enough talking, let’s get right into the swatches!


This first one is ‘U Wish’ and it’s right in between a red and an orange shimmer. It definitely leans more red, but next to a true red you’re going to see those orange tones. Maybe even coral? Tomato red? It’s quite an interesting shade, and there’s also this gorgeous bright orange shift to it. I do wish it was more noticeable like in the bottle, but it does add a little glow to the shade.

As for formula, this is gorgeous! It’s practically opaque in just 1 coat. So smooth and pigmented and just glides on. Since it’s a shimmer there are some brushstrokes, but as you can see most disappear and level out on the nails. A good start here!

U Wish – Live Swatch


Now we come to the first cream, and it’s a tone of color I do always love. This is ‘Fuel Your Desire’, and it’s a bright lavender cream shade. It has some warm pink tones to it, and it’s perfect for spring weather as well.

And for the formula, this has that amazing Essie cream formula that I’ve come to absolutely love! It’s incredibly smooth even on my super ridged nails, and practically opaque in just 1 coat, though I always do 2. Great all around here!

Fuel Your Desire – Live Swatch


Continuing right along, we have another cream. This is ‘No Ex-pectations’ (get it, like an ex that you dated), and it’s another color that always has my heart. This is a deeper, dusty muted purple shade. Indigo maybe? Again right in between a blue and a purple here and hard to describe exactly. All I know is I always love a dusty shade like this.

And again, another stellar formula. Especially with a deeper color like this, it’s incredibly pigmented and once again so smooth and opaque in just 1 coat. Essie has this type of cream formula down and I can only hope it’s one we’ll always see, at least in deeper shades like this one!

No Ex-pectations – Live Swatch


And another bold, non-traditional cream shade for Valentine’s here! This is ‘License to Thrill’ and yes I am THRILLED. This is a very deep navy blue shade. Perfect if you’re still reaching for those vampier winter shades.

Of course, this is very pigmented as well and such a rich formula. Opaque in just 1 coat and so smooth. I will say a word of warning with this one, as it’s so pigmented – definitely be careful with painting. I noticed a tiny bit of staining around my cuticles when cleaning up and removing this shade. This is one where I would recommend pulling the cotton down the nails, instead of twisting them to remove the polish, so you don’t end up with some smurf fingers on V-Day.

License to Thrill – Live Swatch


For our final cream shade we have ‘Burning Love’. It’s another shade that lands right in between two colors and makes it fully hard to describe! It’s a coral pink shade, with some warm orange tones rolling it from a straight pink. Super gorgeous! (Even my camera had an issue with it, and it showed super orange in the live swatch. My photo is the color corrected swatch, while the video shows the formula).

And speaking of formula, another easy 2 coats! Not quite a 1-coater like many of the other shades, but I don’t fully need that when I’m always doing 2 coats anyways. Super smooth and so lovely to paint on like the others!

Burning Love – Live Swatch


And last up we have ‘Flirt with Freedom’. This is a deeper, warm toned purple shimmer shade. It’s got some warm tones to it, that you can especially see on the edge of the bottle, but that shift doesn’t show as much on the nails, instead giving it a tiny bit of glow.

This was the only one that was more sheer than I was expecting based on the shade in the bottle, feeling almost like a dense shimmer in a jelly base. Because of that the first coat is uneven, but it does deepen up and is fully opaque with a 2nd coat. However, depending on your application and nails you might want a 3rd! There are some brushstrokes visible, so I do recommend painting as straight as possible. Not quite my favorite after the bar was set so high with the other shades in the collection, but it’s workable and I have no true complaints.

Flirt with Freedom – Live Swatch


That’s the set! Like I mentioned in the beginning, I love that they went for some more non-traditional Valentine’s Day shades. Of course, after you’ve released as many as they have, there are only so many pinks and reds in the world. But listen, I love it, and they all still feel romantic to me.

And we have absolutely stunning formulas here! So many were basically opaque in just 1 coat, and so pigmented and smooth on the nails. I can easily recommend any of these shades – even ‘Flirt with Freedom’ is still workable and a lovely shade. A great release here!


Upcoming Posts
Glam Polish Cutest Crellies collection • Orly Hopeless Romantic Spring 2023 • OPI Me, Myself & OPI Spring 2023 • China Glaze Hey Sugar! Spring 2023 • Orly x NASA collection • Essie Cyber Society collection


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