Spot The Difference – Essie Edition

As I mentioned in my previous post I received a ‘new’ and ‘exclusive’ essie shade this week to review. Upon adding it to my collection I noticed a startling resemblance to another I already had. I can’t say for sure these two are the same but I would be remiss as a beauty blogger if I just reviewed the ‘exclusive’ shade at face value when I had these suspicions. Don’t worry I’ve braced myself for an angry PR email!

The two shades in question are ‘Then And Now’ – a limited edition shade for the designer fashion retailer Then And Now and Chinchilly – the ever popular classic greige in the permenant Essie collection.

Please excuse my awful cuticles.. Sunday is my manicure night! I wanted to first compare the formula. Bear in mind that my Chinchilly is not from the new diffusion line so the formula and brush are the originals. I applied each alternately and they were almost identical, here’s coat 1 and 2. Both could have done with another but I though it would do for the purpose of this demonstration.

Once applied it’s very difficult to tell the difference as is the same in the bottle. When I first saw the two together I was sure one was slightly warmer than the other but it’s all about the lighting, I truly believe they’re the same shade but if you’re still in doubt check this out…

Every Essie shade has a unique number (as far as I’ve seen anyway) and these two shades share the number 696. If you google Essie 696 this is what you’ll find (link)

So there ends my Miss Marple-age for today, Like I said I can’t tell you for sure that the colour I received isn’t exclusive but I’m afraid I have more than a sneaking suspicion that it’s just the same old shade with a new name. Both polishes are effectively the same and if you want the original Chinchilly formula and thinner brush Then & Now is reasonably priced (though slightly more than elsewhere) at £10.50 (link) but if you’re happier at Boots with the new diffusion range you can pick it up for £7.99 (link)


Miss BB



  1. 26 August, 2012 / 7:31 pm

    Brilliant spot! I wonder though if this is quite common practice for brands?

    • missbudgetbeauty
      27 August, 2012 / 9:06 am

      I think it’s standard that you can have your stamp put on anything but it’s the company not Essie necessarily that are saying it’s ‘exclusive’ … hmmm

  2. 26 August, 2012 / 7:45 pm

    Wow – great post! It’s really got me thinking. Do you think that brands might do this quite a lot, to make more money and even cheat other companies into having “Limited edition” shades. xx

    • missbudgetbeauty
      27 August, 2012 / 9:09 am

      In this case it’s not essie selling it as a ltd ed Exclusive new shade so I’m inclined to give them the benefit of the doubt

  3. 26 August, 2012 / 8:15 pm

    Wow – if it really is the same product then that’s poor for from Essie. I would have expected better…

    • missbudgetbeauty
      27 August, 2012 / 9:10 am

      I would bet some serious cash on it.. they’re identical!

  4. 26 August, 2012 / 9:26 pm

    How sneaky is that!! I know other brands do it too but it doesn’t make it any more acceptable really x

    • missbudgetbeauty
      27 August, 2012 / 9:11 am

      when they’re charging more than normal and claiming it’s exclusive it’s a bit shady!

  5. harkbeauty
    27 August, 2012 / 10:03 pm

    I noticed this with another polish from Essie. Essie had a Facebook free polish giveaway when they partnered with Toms Shoes and it was supposed to be a “Limited Edition” color called Barefoot in Blue. When I received the bottle I compared it to an Essie polish I already owned Lapis of Luxury and they are identical except the formula on the Barefoot in Blue goes on more opaque in less coats. Other then that they look exactly the same on the nails.

    • missbudgetbeauty
      29 August, 2012 / 8:23 am

      shady shady shady!!! I wasn’t aware this was common practice for essie.. disappointing!

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