Name something more iconic than being Queen Elizabeth's favorite nail polish shade. I'll wait. Essie Ballet Slippers is so beloved by the monarch, in fact, that it's reportedly the only color that she'll let touch her royal fingernails. While my own love affair with Ballet Slippers isn't as well-documented as the Queen's, it is just as passionate (yes, you can be verypassionate about nail polish, especially when you work at Allure).
When I was in the heat of my pre-teen years, I would wander off and peruse the beauty aisles of my local drugstore while my parents were shopping. I'd browse the newest skin-care product, claiming to get rid of my blossoming acne fast, then move over to nail polishes where I was always mesmerized by the variety of colors, sorted in rainbow order.
During one of these shopping expeditions, I became drawn to a sheer, light pink shade, but fell in love when I saw that it was aptly named Ballet Slippers — I was a ballerina my entire life and felt that the name was kismet: we were meant for each other. It was the first nail polish color that I ever picked out on my own and remained a mainstay in my (rapidly expanding) lacquer collection.
Ballet Slippers has been around since 1982, only one year after Essie Weingarten launched her line of nail colors. Reportedly, it was named to pay homage to Weingarten's girlhood ritual of getting manicures with her mother after ballet class every Saturday. The enduring appeal of the shade's romanticism and femininity is not unlike that of ballet itself.
Whenever I am doing my nails myself (which actually tends to be a lot), I start with a drop of the Deborah Lippmann Cuticle Remover on each nail. After a quick push and more general cuticle maintenance with Deborah Lippmann Cuticle Oil, I'll always pack on additional hydration to both my nails and my hands by applying Weleda's Almond Hand Cream — I find that moisturizing before applying polish helps everything feel fresher and sometimes last longer. To give yourself major staying power and insurance against chips, I also recommend swiping on a quick layer of Essie's Here to Stay Base Coat before getting to the main event.
The trickiest part about applying Ballet Slippers is that it's a very thin and sheer shade, obviously, so brush strokes can become apparent if you're not careful. With every layer you add on, the more streak-free the look becomes — three layers for me tends to be the sweet spot. If you're looking to make the soft, pink color stand out a little more, borrow this tip from Lauren Weisberger's 2003 novel The Devil Wears Prada, where Ballet Slippers makes an appearance: layer it on top of one coat of Essie's Marshmallow, a sheer white shade.
Even though I've experimented with bolder nail art (ombré neon nails, anyone?) and colors, I've always had a fondness for this oldie-but-a-goodie. It brings me back to the days when I would wander the drugstore beauty aisles, desperate to try every single product. And, if wearing Ballet Slippers gets me one step closer to royalty as a result, I'm here for it.
The Essie Ballet Slippers Nail Polish is a 2020 Allure Readers' Choice Award winner. See the complete list of this year's winners here.
Essie expressie quick-dry nail polish, pink nail polish, trend & snap
essie, America's nail salon expert since 1981, inspires an obsession for color that has been at the heart and soul of the brand since its beginning. essie is impeccable, feminine and playful, offering a portfolio of nail products and a diverse palette of colors that includes: essie original, a vast range of iconic and on-trend nuanced colors, gel couture , 2-step longwear system, TREAT LOVE & COLOR advanced color and strength, and new expressie, quick dry on-the-fly polish. the go-to nail brand for beauty professionals, industry insiders, celebrities and fashion icons around the world, essie is beloved for its salon-quality nail polish formulas and witty shade names. whether in salon, at home, on the runway or red carpet, essie believes in bringing people together through color; something powerful, collectible, personal and so much fun.
Then, in 2008’s Don't You Forget About Me (the eleventh book in the Gossip Girl series), Blair Waldorf got nostalgic about her best friend, Serena van der Woodsen, painting her nails with Essie’s Ballet Slippers. "[Blair] remembered how much fun they used to have playing dress-up when they were little, trying on clothes in her room all afternoon and drinking Campari and sodas with lime, giggling together in the bathroom mirror as Serena expertly painted Blair’s nails with black liner, or lacquered her nails with ballet slipper pink Essie polish," wrote Gossip Girl author Cecily Von Ziegesar. In this context, the polish represents a time when Blair wasn’t quite so conniving and competitive. She’s nice! She’s not trying to find ways to take Serena down a notch! It was a simpler, sweeter time, which is totally in keeping with the ethos of Ballet Slippers.
As with Blair, Ballet Slippers was like a rite of passage for many women. For Zoe, 25, a lawyer in Ann Arbor, Michigan, it's one of only five nail polishes she owns. "I received it as a gift in a set of other polishes when I was a teenager," she says. "It was the only one of them that I repurchased. I like that it's the 'no-makeup makeup' of nails, if you will, but it can also work as a more opaque pink with multiple coats or—and this is my favorite part—with other polishes to tone them down, brighten them up, or just add a little shine." It's the kind of shade that can do it all—including make you feel like you're on your game. "It's almost a security blanket," says Brittany, 27, a publicist in New York City. "Even if I hate my outfit and my hair's shit, I feel put together and polished when I wear Ballet Slippers." (Hey, it has a rep of being "safe" for a reason.) Plus, it's as low-maintenance as it gets. “I started wearing it at least five years ago,” says Christina, 26, an engineer in Los Angeles. “I liked that it was light enough that you can’t see when it starts to chip."
It's also a red-carpet staple. It's last reported celebrity sighting was on Emma Stone at the 2018 Met Gala. And everyone from Barbra Streisand to Mandy Moore has worn it. “Ballet Slippers has less pink than similar polishes, so it's better-suited for high fashion and couture styles," says celebrity manicurist Emi Kudo, who counts Stone, Yara Shahidi, and Kerry Washington among her clients. "It never fights with any outfit, which is why I think celebrities have loved this color for so long. I've been using this color on them for 20 years."
That sort of appeal translates for newer celebrities too, like Instagram influencers. A search for #BalletSlippers on Instagram brings up over 40,000 posts (most of which are the nail polish, not actual ballet slippers). Among them, you'll find many from Instagram beauty influencer Marianna Hewitt, who wears (and raves about) Ballet Slippers regularly. And on Pinterest the tag "Essie Ballet Slippers" brings up an endless scroll of pretty photos. No wonder it's one of the most repinned nail colors on the site.
What's most impressive is its staying power. After all, it shouldn't be that hard to find a dupe for a pale pink nail polish. But the texture sets it apart from the rest. "Many try to capture the soft, neutral pink color, but what's truly unique about Ballet Slippers is it's not-quite-sheer, not-quite-opaque look," says Remark. "The result is a soft pink veil of color that conceals nail imperfections and flatters your nails all while remaining clean and sheer." Plus, that translucence means it works for just about everyone, which might explain why it's a regular for brides (so much so that some bridal experts hold it as the standard). "It doesn’t compete with your dress and complements rings perfectly," says Sarah Gibson Tuttle, founder of L.A. nail salon Olive & June. "It's been a bride favorite forever."
So it doesn't even matter whether Markle wears it for the royal wedding or wears another neutral, like Kate Middleton did with Essie's Allure. Ballet Slippers has made history all on its own.
Essie nail polish in Ballet Slippers, $9, amazon.com
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I’ve been on a baby pink nail polish kick lately and have a few favorites I love I wanted to share! So many of my favorite light pinks have been discontinued from Chanel and Dior. Rescue Beauty Lounge also used to make some of the best pale pinks (so sad they’re no longer around!). Here are my favorites right now!
Olive and June Pink Sands ($8, available at Olive and June) – This one is super creamy pale and opaque white-based pink, apply 2 thin coats for full coverage. (If you want something with a little less white base try Olive and June SE.)
OPI Bubble Bath ($10-$10.50, Target and Ulta) – This is one I rediscovered early summer, I remember not liking it before thinking it was sooo sheer it was difficult to get the color to show up. I tried it again and if I apply 2-3 coats I find I get the perfect pale pink manicure.
Gucci Beauty Ellen Blush ($30, Nordstrom, Sephora, Gucci) – I just ordered a few of the newly repackaged nail polishes from Gucci. This one has full opaque coverage with one stroke but I still prefer to apply 2. Ellen Blush is the perfect medium light pink to me.
Essie Fiji ($8.99 at Target) – This will be hit or miss depending on your skin tone or undertone, it’s a cool-toned blue based pale pink with full coverage. It has the tiny skinny brush which I wish they would update. I do think it’s a classic pale pink on me though.
Essie Muchi Muchi ($8.99 Target) – Muchi Muchi is a medium pale pink on me. It’s not quite as pale as most lighter pinks which makes it more fun for me.
Essie Gel Couture Polished and Poised ($11.50, Ulta) – A newer to me discovery, love that this is a really pretty light medium neutral warm pink that has full coverage but doesn’t have too much white in it.
For those who want a closer look at the brush applicators:
A few other posts you might find helpful!
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What are your favorite light or pale pink colors to wear?
Polish essie pink nail
My Favorite Pink essie Nail Lacquer Colors
My Favorite Pink essie Nail Lacquer Colors
Happy almost Friday everyone!
Today I have my favorite pink essie nail lacquer colors for you. As you probably guessed, there are A TON of essie pink nail shades, so picking my favorites wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be. I could have added way more, but wanted to keep it under ten.
backseat besties is a cute classic bubblegum pink creme.
baguette me not
baguette me not is a lilac/pink creme.
punchy pink is a SUPER neon fuchsia!
flirty fuchsia is another crazy neon pink, slightly deeper than punchy pink.
wire-less is more
wire-less is more is a greyish/pink shimmer.
it takes a west village
it takes a west village is a mauve pink creme.
sure shot is an intense shimmery fuchsia and it’s SO pretty!
bold boundaries borders on being a red, but it’s also kind of pinkish.
the fuchsia is bright
the fuchsia is bright is a nice, clean, cool-toned medium pink creme.
beat of the moment
beat of the moment is a great pink and gold textured shade.
My Favorite Pink essie Nail Lacquer Colors
So as I said above, I could have picked a lot more since essie has so many great pinks (and reds) but I reigned myself in. 🙂
Which essie pinks are your favorites?
Byrdie Readers Share Their All-Time Favorite Essie Colors
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In 1981, one Essie Weingarten created 12 stylish nail colors and began selling them in Las Vegas. Almost four decades later, Essie is one of the most recognized nail polish brands in the country. Beloved for its massive and always current shade range, matchless staying power, chip resistance, and unforgettably whimsical color names, Essie has won over the hearts of nail painters everywhere.
It's now fall-mani season, but with over 300 Essie polishes on the market, choosing the perfect hue can be difficult. Some Essie colors have outdone the others in terms of their iconic-ness, and since we know Byrdie readers are connoisseurs of the brand, we wanted to get their take. So we posted in Byrdie’s secret Facebook group, The Beauty Line, and asked our readers to tell us their holy-grail Essie colors. Let’s just say they had strong opinions.
Keep scrolling to see what they said. Is your favorite Essie color below?
No single Essie shade has stolen readers' hearts like the soft pink Ballet Slippers. The color is "always my simple go-to," says a reader named McKenzie. Joey agrees: "Ballet Slippers is a perfect sheer for when you want a little something, but not too much color." As a third reader named Kate adds, "even if it makes me the most boring person alive, [Ballet Slippers] always makes me feel like A Real Adult."
This deep midnight blue punctuated with bright blue shimmer is another of Emily’s favorites. "It resembles the night sky and reminds me of my connection to the universe," she says.
This one's "a great magenta color that can be worn year-round," says Emily.
This deep burgundy is a top pick for multiple Byrdie readers, who call it "vampy but classic" and "a great deep red for fall and winter."
Another one on the vampier side, Bordeaux is "a deep wine which is a great alternative to black and it's more grown-up and sophisticated," Joey says.
This dainty shade is "the most amazing pinky white color, which is great for year round, and it lasts forever," says a reader named Mollie. "Simply gorgeous!"
Multiple readers mention this classic deep blue as a favorite. As one reader named Susan describes, the shade "is such a dark beautiful navy, when you put it on you can't tell if its navy or black."
A Byrdie reader named Melanie calls this "a gorgeous sheer nude with a hint of sheen/glitter. So pretty and elongating for the fingers!"
What to Look For in an Essie Nail Polish
It’s all about the color when choosing between different Essie nail polishes. Remember that there’s no hard and fast rule about what colors you can wear throughout the year. Some people sport nude nails every season, while others are constantly experimenting with vibrant hues. Choose whatever color speaks to you!
If you want a solid, glossy finish opt for an opaque nail lacquer. If you want your nails to look translucent, opt for a sheer polish. Shimmery polishes often come in either an opaque or translucent polish, whereas glitter polish is often mean to wear over an opaque color or on its own.
Essie nail polishes typically dry quickly, but if you lack patience or don’t have the time to wait, look for a quick-dry formula. Additionally, you can apply any quick-dry topcoat over your nails to speed the process up.
Yes, according to the brand, its polishes are free of the following ingredients: formaldehyde, toluene, dibutyl phthalate, formaldehyde resin, camphor, ethyl tosylamide, xylene and triphenyl phosphate.
Instead of shaking your nail polish, which can cause bubbles, roll the bottle upside down between your hands. However, if your formula has separated from lack of use, you should shake thoroughly it so that everything mixes back together.
Yes. Unopened, Essie nail polish has a shelf life of two years.
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Once again, looking at this motley gathering, he singled out his wife in it, how she sat gracefully, crossing her legs. And enthusiastically listened to Natakha. And Natakha chirped like a carefree bird in her ear, while spreading her hands like an inveterate fisherman who caught an unmeasured fish.