Essie's Cashmere Matte Nail Polishes Aren't Your Average Neutrals

These wintry shades can go matte OR shiny.
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Natacha Medeiros
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These wintry shades can go matte OR shiny.

If there's one thing I've learned from swatching hundreds of nail polishes, it's to NEVER judge a polish by its bottle. 

That couldn't be more true for Essie's new Cashmere Matte collection. When I first saw the shades, I judged hard—and was overwhelmingly unimpressed. 

Essie Cashmere Matte 2015

Essie's new Cashmere Matte collection.

But once they hit my nails, I couldn't stop staring. These soft neutrals have a satin-matte finish—inspired by cashmere, natch—that you can rock alone or wear under a regular shiny top coat. (I much preferred the latter, as you'll find out in a sec.)

With winter now in full swing, cozy up and check out the swatches, which I've done in both matte and glossy:

Just Stitched

Essie Just Stitched (matte)

Essie Nail Polish in Just Stitched (without top coat).

Essie Just Stitched (shiny)

Essie Nail Polish in Just Stitched (with top coat).

Just Stitched is your standard baby pink with some micro blue shimmer. I was completely loathing this in the bottle, but it ended up being one of my very favourites. This one took me three coats to get perfect, but with a careful application, two should be just fine. I fell in love with how feminine this shade is; I know it's just a baby pink but there's something about that shimmer. While it's a stunner as is, I'm even more obsessed with this shade under top coat. Look at that sparkle! 

All Eyes On Nudes

Essie All Eyes On Nudes (matte)

Essie All Eyes On Nudes (without top coat).

Essie All Eyes On Nudes (shiny)

Essie All Eyes On Nudes (with top coat).

All Eyes On Nudes makes me think of Kim Kardashian—she rocks these camel nude colours on the reg. I have to admit that I don't love it in the matte, but throw some top coat on and we've got ourselves a winner. Two coats was all I needed for this shade. (Oh, and excuse the overly oiled cuticles! It was that or super-dry, gross ones, so, you know....)

Wrap Me Up

Essie Wrap Me Up (matte)

Essie Wrap Me Up (without top coat).

Essie Wrap Me Up (shiny)

Essie Wrap Me Up (with top coat).

Wrap Me Up is a creamy off-white that's really flattering on the nails—but again, I only love it with top coat. (That was a pretty big theme with most of these polishes.) The application was great with this shade; two well-applied coats and I was good to go. The awesome thing about matte polish is that you know it's dry when all the shine goes away... neat! 

Coat Couture

Essie Coat Couture (matte)

Essie Coat Couture (without top coat).

Essie Coat Couture (shiny)

Essie Coat Couture (with top coat).

I'm loving Coat Couture, a grey-purple with blue shimmer, which was perfect in two coats. Believe it or not, I have nothing like it in my collection, and it's SO winter-appropriate. I actually do like this one matte, but it's truly something special with top coat. That shimmer just pops! 

Comfy In Cashmere

Essie Comfy In Cashmere (matte)

Essie Comfy In Cashmere (without top coat).

Essie Comfy In Cashmere (shiny)

Essie Comfy In Cashmere (with top coat).

Of all the shades, I was the least impressed with Comfy in Cashmere. As you can see on my index and ring fingers, the application was a little thick (annoying!), and again, I prefer it glossy, not matte. Almost all of these shades have some sort of gorgeous micro-shimmer that only stands out with topcoat. I mean, look how cute those blue sparklies are! You'd never get the full effect if you kept this matte, but I guess it's cool to have that option. 

Spun In Luxe

Essie Spun In Luxe (matte)

Essie Spun In Luxe (without top coat).

Essie Spun In Luxe (shiny)

Essie Spun In Luxe (with top coat).

Ah, Spun In Luxe is so good—with top coat, of course. (Excuse the glare on the first photo. It's not easy taking nail pics at night!) Without top coat, this shade honestly just looked like a matte black to me when applied with two coats. You can kind of see the blue shimmers in there, but the matte finish doesn't do this polish justice. Look at the difference the top coat makes! It's like my nails transformed into a sparkly little galaxy of blue stars. Definitely another one of my favourites, but I only love it when it's shiny. 

Where To Buy

Find Essie's Cashmere Matte collection this month at salons and Shoppers Drug Mart.

Have Your Say

What do you think of this collection? Do you prefer matte or shiny finishes?