essie Retro Revival Mini Set Swatches & Review

essie Retro Revival Mini Set The Daily VarnishThe essie Retro Revival collection has landed. And the hype surrounding the collection is something I haven’t seen in the nail polish world in ages.

Granted, the vast majority of the hype is about one polish; Starry Starry Night. But there are 5 other polishes in the collection. I picked up the mini set so I could get a feel for the entire collection.

The mini set includes Starry Starry Night, Life Of The Party, Bikini With A Martini and Birthday Suit.

I have swatched and reviewed all the polishes in the mini set under the jump!

The Retro Revival collection is currently in stores. You can find the collection online at (including the mini set!) as well as on Amazon.


essie Starry Starry NightStarry Starry Night: The hype surrounding this polish is OUT OF CONTROL. This is a polish that has been on seemingly everyone’s wish list. So that fact that essie was releasing it again sent people into a frenzy. But I must say, it lives up to the hype.

Starry Starry night is a deep, cobalt blue jelly packed with small silver glitter. After two coats my nails looked gorgeous. Especially in the sun!

The formula isn’t the easiest to deal with (I have the full size bottle as well and I will say the full size for whatever reason did make application easier). Starry Starry Night was originally released in 1985. This polish was way ahead of its time. I’m thrilled essie brought it back.

A note: there is much talk about how the new SSN isn’t exactly the same as the old one. WELL NO KIDDING. Nail polish has changed (for the better) since 1985. I adore this version of SSN. It’s very close to the original. My opinion is people need to stop complaining.

That being said, the frenzy has made Starry Starry Night a bit hard to find. Places sell out quickly; even online. Currently Ulta does not have Starry Starry Night in stock but Amazon does. The displays were supposed to roll out in stores this week so keep your eyes open. Of course, you can always grab the mini set (an online exclusive from Ulta) that includes SSN.

essie Starry Starry Night swatch

essie Life Of The PartyLife Of The Party: Described as a pinot noir pearl, Life Of The Party was originally released in 2002. It reminds me a bit of OPI I’m Not Really A Waitress (which makes sense as INRAW was released in 1999) just not quite as timeless.

Life Of The Party is a deep shimmery red that has brown undertones. And the formula is a bit hard to wrangle. I had to use three coats to get an opaque, even finish.

It’s not that Life Of The Party isn’t pretty….it is. There’s just something a bit old and boring about this polish. It looks like 2002. And I have no interest in living in 2002.

essie Life Of The Party swatch

essie Life Of The Party MACRO

essie Bikini With A MartiniBikini With A Martini: It’s bold to release a nail polish in 2016 and describe it as frosted. That word brings back terrible memories of frosted lipgloss. But, I suppose 2006 when Bikini With A Martini was originally released this was right on trend.

Bikini With A Martini is a warm pink with a super frosty finish and a less than average formula. Like with Life Of The Party, I needed three coats to get the polish opaque and even.

To be honest I really dislike (actually hate) this polish. I wouldn’t have liked it in 2006, either. The warm pink is all wrong with  my skintone (it makes my nails look yellow…ew) and the finish is the definition of dated. I think it’s best this polish is left in 2006….along with chunky highlights and corset tops.

essie Bikini With A Martini swatch essie Bikini With A Martini MACRO

essie Birthday SuitBirthday Suit: The Retro Revival collection is celebrating essie’s 35th birthday so of course they had to include Birthday Suit!

Birthday Suit was one of the original essie polishes released in 1981. Which is not surprising as essie has been known for the nude and pale pink polishes since 1981.

Birthday Suit is a cheeky delicate nude (I see what you did there, essie) and it’s the perfect your nails but better polish. After 2 coats my nails looked polished, chic and understated with a nude, jelly finish.

essie Birthday Suit swtach

Conclusion: The Retro Revival mini set is somewhat of a mixed bag. Starry Starry Night and Birthday Suit are fantastic polishes. Life Of The Party is ok and Bikini With A Martini is just not good.

Starry Starry Night is the only must have from this set (Birthday Suit just isn’t all that unique). I’m glad there is a mini set option for this collection that includes SSN however I’d just grab a full size bottle of Starry Starry Night and call it a day.


    1. Katie reviewed Dream just the other day (you can check out that post here). I’m not a fan of holographic glitter so I much prefer SSN. I think it’s ultimately what you are looking for out of this kind of polish and your personal preferences.

  1. Sure, the hype around SSN I can understand, and Birthday Suit is nice, I guess. But stuff that was made in the ’90 and ’00 should stay there… 🙈
    Those where not the most stylish years of our lives! I really don’t like the other four polishes in this collection…

  2. I found SSN at an online beauty supply store-I guess people are not happy about the size of the glitter being larger in the new one, but I think it is a beautiful polish. I want to find Cabana Boy, also, I think its pale grey is gorgeous!

What do you think?