Essie put out two J. Crew exclusive polishes this spring–Milky Way, a caramel-tan I just reviewed, and Peep Show, a bright neon-leaning pink jelly with strong coral tones. These colors have been sold out online for awhile, and Peep Show has become notable for reportedly being featured on the toes of the five-year-old son of J. Crew’s Creative Director, Jenna Lyons. When I found my Essie Milky Way, the store didn’t have any bottles of Peep Show left. I was out of town, so I checked the J. Crew I live near on the off chance they would have some. And I was in luck!
The J. Crew where I live is kind of a pain to get to (for me anyway), but they had about six bottles of Peep Show sitting in their display! Like a secret Peep Show stash. They also had Milky Way, and a few lonely bottles of Cute as a Button (which is very close to Peep Show but a normal Essie-line creme, and slightly more orange) on a sale mark-down near the register. So I picked up that one, too.
The picture that caused all the fuss is cute (and pasted in to the right), although I’m not so good at the willing suspension of disbelief-I keep imagining all the lighting and camera men arrayed around this seemingly blissful and fleeting moment. You know that’s not how this picture happened. Anyway, I’m interested in the lighting men because I’m still just not sure about the polish in the picture. There have been reports that Essie said on their Facebook page that the polish is Peep Show, but Peep Show has a lot of orange and the polish in the picture looks to lean blue to me. Also, when this ad first came out, J. Crew’s website would take you to a page that had a tag of “pink parka” under the picture for a pink polish. Pink Parka is a slightly older Essie neon pink that is way blue-er than Peep Show, so when I look at this picture and the Peep Show and Pink Parka bottles in my hand, I kind of wonder if it was Pink Parka that was used. I think I need to do a comparison once it’s a weekend day and the sun comes out again. Since it seems like Pink Parka was for sale recently on the J. Crew website, too, it’s plausible to me that it could have been used for this picture. Maybe we’ll never know.
I found Peep Show to be very hard to photograph. It looks much less bright in my pictures than it does in real life, but we haven’t had any sun lately so that may be part of the problem. I really like it–it has this heated, warm flash of color but it’s a jelly so it’s not overwhelming. It’s a beautiful pink, and I think I like pink over orange for a bright color. The application reminded me of the OPI “sorbet” colors from the Texas Collection that I tried, only a little bit more opaque-after three coats I still have a tiny bit of visible nail line in some lights. But, it went on very evenly and smoothly and didn’t streak at all, which I have found is the key for slightly sheer colors for me. What I really hate is streakiness, not so much the VNL. And this polish applied so well, and was so controllable, that I liked it a lot even though it’s a little sheer.
These pictures may only be good to illustrate how nice formula is, since I was able to have such a good cuticle line. The polish is so much brighter in person that these pictures don’t do it justice. It somehow seems hot and bothered and pouty when I look at it on my nails. It’s really pretty!
In an attempt to better capture the color, I did some flash pictures (which I never do). They came out slightly better but still nowhere near as bright as the polish is in person. Here’s one to give a bit of an idea:
And finally, the label. I commented before that the Essie for J. Crew label is great because it actually uses the J. Crew trademark. It’s clear that the polish is different from other Essie polishes. I do want to complain a bit that someone at the J. Crew that is near me put the gross, sticky store label right on TOP of the so-important nice Essie label. I had to carefully peel (and remove with alcohol) the nasty store label off of the Essie label just to be able to read the “exclusively for J. Crew” part-it was totally covered up. The Essie labels are like accordions, so if you get it too detached there will be this weird, long trail-y string of paper instead of a cute label on the bottom of the bottle, so it’s important NOT to stick something on that label. Most stores stick their over-sticky price-only label on the side of the glass bottle where it’s easily removeable, but this was…not. I had to take rubbing alcohol to it and remove it very carefully so that I didn’t peel off the real Essie label along with the nasty label. My fingernails still kind of hurt from the intense, careful picking that was required. I’m talking about the kind of label where it clearly comes out of some sort of labeling “gun” and has perferations in the label material so that you can’t pull it off easily. Yuck.
In fact, when the associate rang up my purchase, he had to pull out this weird binder anyway and look up the number to scan because there was no normal J. Crew barcode on the bottle. I guess they don’t sell that many items so small that they can’t use their normal “plastic ring with paper label” system. The binder was kind of funny because it had two black and white pages listing all of the possible Essie polishes that J. Crew has sold, and they had to match up the name to the polish to get the number to punch in. It seemed pretty elaborate, and a woman had to come over and locate the binder for the man who was trying to ring up my purchase, and she told him that I was buying two bottles of Cute as a Button. I had to point out that Peep Show was a different color. In the black and white pages, Peep Show and Milky Way were by themselves and next to each other. Which just reinforces that these are kind of special polishes, if only because they’re such a chore to find and buy at this point. You should pick them up if you have a chance, and hope to find a J. Crew store that didn’t take a pricing gun to the bottom of their nail polish bottles.