Essie Bahama Mama // Nail Polish Review and Swatch

When I hear Essie I think of an up market reputable nail brand and this is reflected in the fact that their polishes cost around £8 a pop.

This is not the price I would usually happily pay for a nail varnish unless I knew they lived up to expectations.

Some time this year I purchased a set from Boots in the sale for about £10 for 4 Essie varnishes which I thought was a bargain. It had some mostly autumnal colours and Bahama Mama was one of these colours so I waited until autumn hit to put it to the test.


Bahama Mama is described as a “warm, rich, creamy deep plum”. It really is gorgeous and it screams autumn nails to me.


The brush on this polish is the perfect size to brush across the nail and practically cover the whole bed, and where it doesn’t the bristles are smooth enough to fill in the gaps without making a mess.

The brush allows for a really neat application especially against the cuticles.

I usually make a huge mess with my nails, especially when using my non-dominant left hand to fill in the right, and I made the tiniest mess on one finger with this polish.

essie bahama mama swatch.jpg


The drying time of this is fast compared to others of a similar price and it doesn’t go tacky for very long, reducing the risk of denting whilst waiting (impatiently) for them to dry.


This polish has a glossy finish with a shine not dissimilar to gel polishes which is fab for a drugstore brand polish, albeit slightly more expensive.

It’s nicely pigmented but needs at least 2 coats (I put 3 on a couple of nails) to get a decent colour build up.

essie bahama mama swatch on hand.jpg


This is the part where, unfortunately, the review turns negative. This chipped the very next day. I didn’t do much, a little bit of dusting and hoovering then went out for a walk and to a restaurant for food.

By 7pm that day the chipping was so terrible I couldn’t cope with it anymore, this is what it looked like the very next day (excuse the bad lighting it was already dark when I took the photo):

essie bahama mama swatch after wear.jpg

You can see it chipped off every nail and looked hideous. As it’s a dark colour you can tell so much more that it is chipped.

I tried to top it up and it looked quite good but the next day again it began to come away from the edge.

When I painted my nails I ensured I let every coat dry properly before putting the next on. I used the Maybelline CC Top Coat to top this, curing the edge of the nail in hope it would keep it locked.


So overall it was all going so well until it decided to chip away within a matter of hours. Not what I would expect from a more expensive reputable nail brand.

Has anyone else had this experience with Essie? Could you recommend a good top coat that doesn’t chip? I am interested to hear your thoughts!

Thanks for reading ♥

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  1. October 24, 2016 / 11:16 am

    I love this colour 😍 xx

      • October 24, 2016 / 1:45 pm

        that’s okay, great post 😘 xx

    • October 24, 2016 / 1:45 pm

      It is so perfect i love the colour 😍 i am so disappointed it didn’t last long! Thanks for reading hun xo

  2. beautybyadutchgirl
    October 24, 2016 / 5:19 pm

    What a beauty!

      • beautybyadutchgirl
        October 24, 2016 / 5:28 pm

        No problem! It was fun reading this ♥

  3. October 24, 2016 / 11:27 pm

    I have this shade but have yet to try it – the colour is the perfect Autumn colour! Too bad this didn’t last on you! I find some people just LOVE Essie (me) and some people on which Essie doesn’t play nice with. I guess it’s the different nail structure / flex? I use the top coat Poshe which I love and have recommended to many people who have become converts. Here’s a review I did on it:
    I tested it over a deep Essie colour too!
    I’m not sure how readily available Poshe is in the UK though.

    • sophieinwonderlandxo
      October 25, 2016 / 8:00 am

      I really really wanted to get on with it too as it applies so nicely is super pigmented and is a lush colour but i just can’t stand chipping! I wonder if my nails just hate all polish in general cos i find a lot chip easily!! Maybe im just not meant for polish 😭 i will definitely look out for the top coat thanks! 🙂

    • sophieinwonderlandxo
      October 25, 2016 / 8:00 am

      I know i was gutted i really wanted it to last as its great in every other aspect!! Thanks for reading hun x

  4. October 25, 2016 / 2:25 pm

    So pretty! This is a fave of mine, too.

    • October 26, 2016 / 6:47 am

      It is such a beautiful autumnal colour! Thanks for reading hun xo

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