When I first saw the Essie Bikini So Teeny display, I only bought the blue and the green because those called to me most strongly. It wasn't until I needed some serious cheering up and happened across the four-color display again that I bought the orange and the pink. At that point, since I had two-thirds of the collection, I figured I might as well got to Target and get the other two colors. (See, this is how one fills as many Helmers as I have.)
Bikini So Teeny is described on the Essie site as a "sparkling, cornflower blue". I used three coats.
Cornflower blue, yes, definitely. The "sparkling" part took me much, much longer to identify. I assumed this was a creme, but there are actually eensy weensy shimmer particles in there. Get up close to the screen if you need to, because that might be the only way you see them. The shimmer is pretty, but I feel like the only way people are going to see it on my nails is if I let them get way too close. I do adore the color, though.
Mojito Madness is a creme (for sure, I double checked) that Essie describes as "lime green". This isn't as yellow-toned as what I think of when I hear "lime"; I'd call it more of a grass green, though I'm sure there are limes this color, at least on the outside. I used two coats of this one.
Fear or Desire is a juicy orange creme. It's very bright, but not quite neon. I did three coats, though two probably would have been fine.
Off the Shoulder is a bright pink creme and a solid two-coater.
Cascade Cool is a purple-tinged pink creme. It's a softer, lighter version of my summer 2010 Essie favorite, Splash of Grenadine. This was two coats.
All Tied Up is definitely a shimmer; at no point did I confuse it with a creme the way I had done with the blue. The color is one of those I have trouble describing. Essie calls it "rustic bronze", but I'm not convinced. If pressed, I'd probably call this terracotta (though it's perhaps not orange enough for that) or perhaps old rose (though it's not really pink enough for that). It's puzzling, like In Stitches puzzled me in the Essie Fall 2010 collection.
And now it's comparison time! If I didn't have so many other things planned for the next week or so, I might have split this part off into its own post, but I do so I didn't.
Because the shimmer in Bikini So Teeny is so subtle, I chose a creme to compare it to, Models Own Beth's Blue. (I also considered Color Club Hydrangea Kiss, Essie Lapis of Luxury, and Orly Snowcone, but Bikini So Teeny was noticeably lighter than all of those. It was also definitely more purple-toned than most blues I pulled out to ponder for comparison.) The Models Own was two coats to Essie's three. Despite the shimmer/creme thing, these looked fairly close to each other. Bikini So Teeny is a more vibrant and less purple-toned than Beth's Blue. Left to right below: Models Own, Essie, Models Own, Essie.
Here's a closer look; Essie on top, Models Own below:
Here's Bikini So Teeny next to Nicole by OPI Nothing Kim-pares to Blue (on a nail wheel). The Essie is nowhere near shimmery enough to be a match, but perhaps with a topcoat it could scratch that itch if you liked the NOPI but don't want the bottles in your stash.
I was determined to compare Mojito Madness to Orly Mint Mojito just based on the names. As it turned out, they weren't too far off from one another. The Orly is lighter and was three coats versus two for the Essie. Left to right below: Orly, Essie, Orly, Essie:
Essie on top, Orly on the bottom:
Orange cremes are under-represented in my stash, so when it came time to compare Fear or Desire, the closest I could come was not too close: OPI Flit a Bit was darker and Zoya Arizon was lighter (and yellower). Top to bottom below: OPI, Essie, Zoya.
I was very surprised that I couldn't find a dupe in my collection for Off the Shoulder. The nearest thing I had was OPI Feelin' Hot Hot Hot, and that was clearly darker. Left to right below: Essie, OPI, Essie, OPI.
Cascade Cool turned out to be not so different from OPI Sparrow Me the Drama, with the Essie being just a touch brighter and lighter. Left to right below: Essie, OPI, Essie, OPI.
Since I mentioned Splash of Grenadine above, here's Cascade Cool next to Splash on a wheel:
The only thing remotely like All Tied Up I could find was an old Maybelline called Truly Mauve, and I didn't think comparing to that would be much help to most people since that particular Maybelline hasn't been in stores in years, not even Dollar Tree. So just went ahead and put it on next to the oddball from Fall 2010, In Stitches, even though that's a cream. They're definitely in the same weird color family, though.
If you back away and dim the lights, they look more alike.
If I were me, knowing what I know now, and hadn't already bought all of these, I'd probably go for just Bikini So Teeny (such a pretty blue I forgive the disappearing shimmer), Mojito Madness (happy green), and All Tied Up (on the weird and old fashioned side but those aren't bad things). How about you?
Also, more questions for you if you've made it this far:
—Are comparisons helpful even if the polishes in question aren't dupes?
—Are comparisons to a nail wheel helpful?