The most classic of these is the red creme, Limited Addiction. It's a bit squishy; two thick or three regular coats are called for. I applied it a little heavier on my index finger, a little lighter on others as I worked toward the pinky, but also the angle of the light makes the index finger look darker. (All of the swatches today are without top coat.)
Essie makes so many reds I was sure that I had something similar in a full size even though I don't buy that many red cremes. Sure enough, there was A-List in my stash.
A-List is even squishier; I used three coats and think four might have been better. Limited Addiction is a bit deeper red than A-List, though maybe if I'd put another coat of A-List on that would have brought them closer. I'm not overly excited about either of them, though it is nice to have a classic red creme to turn to when the situation warrants.
Next up on the Karen scale of interestingness is Merino Cool, a slightly purpley taupe creme. It's a nice color, yes, but we've been seeing a lot of this sort of shade in recent times.
This looks similar to a lot of polishes in my stash—Sally Hansen Commander in Chic, Rimmel Steel Grey, Ulta SoHo Pretty, to name three—for comparison purposes I grabbed Channelesque.
Much as I love taupes, I can't really say Merino Cool is a must have if you already have any of the others I mentioned.
Continuing in the neutral vein, we have Little Brown Dress, a rich dark chocolate creme. For some reason, I have very few browns in my stash, so this one intrigued me. It dries darker on the nail than in the bottle and two coats were plenty.
The only thing in my collection that was remotely comparable to Little Brown Dress was MAC Rich, Dark, Delicious. The MAC is a shimmer, but a subtle one.
Little Brown Dress is just a tiny bit darker and more cool-toned than Rich, Dark, Delicious.
Finally, we have what I think the star of this set, Sew Psyched, a greyed green with a very subtle shimmer.
There aren't a lot of colors like this out there, but I could think of one, and fortunately had it in my stash to compare: Rescue Beauty Lounge Diddy Mow.
Well, lookie here, I do believe we have ourselves a dupe. Good news for people who won't or can't spend $18 a bottle but can afford $8. Since I already have the RBL, I won't plan to buy a full size of Sew Psyched (even though I like the name very much--I do often get psyched when I make time to sew). I do think I'll get a full-size Little Brown Dress, though; I can see myself wanting to wear it a lot in the fall (and maybe other seasons, too--it would go great with the outfit I had on yesterday, for instance).
Edited to add a link to the post with the other two colors in this collection:
Essie Fall 2010 The Rest of the Story.