Essie School of Hard Rocks Swatches & Review

Essie School of Hard Rocks Swatches & ReviewEssie School of Hard Rocks sent me to class to learn a lesson that I already knew: not every polish wants to cooperate with my camera. This Breakfast Club member isn’t afraid of detention.

No matter what lighting I snapped shots of it in, it would not photograph true-to-colour. In all of my photos, it looks like a dusty blue (at least on my monitor), but in reality, it’s this gorgeous slightly-dusty teal that tends to lean more on the green side.

But I don’t think it’s all just a lighting problem. The camera I have is around 5 or so years old. After I save up more money, I really would love to invest in a digital SLR camera and proper lighting. But that’s a long way off.

And like I always say, it’s not about what you can buy. It’s more about what you can do with what you already have that counts!

Despite the colour inaccuracy, I just had to blog about School of Hard Rocks because it’s a fantastic colour! Plus I really like the name. (I’m still waiting for a company to come out with a polish called Knuckle Duster…if they haven’t already. I’d buy it just for the name.)

I’m really hoping that Essie continues to produce more colours like this instead of sheers, whites, reds, and pinks. 🙂

Essie School of Hard Rocks Pictures

Essie Winter 2011 Collection School of Hard Rocks Essie Swatch & Review


Natural Light School of Hard Rocks Essie Swatch & Review

Natural Light

Essie School of Hard Rocks Essie Winter 2011 Collection Swatches & Review

Essie School of Hard Rocks Ingredients

Ethyl Acetate, Butyl Acetate, Nitrocellulose, Propyl Acetate, Tosylamide/Formaldehyde Resin, Isopropyl Alcohol, Trimethyl Pentanyl Diisobutyrate, Triphenyl Phosphate, Ethyl Tosylamide, Camphor, Stearalkonium Bentonite, Diacetone Alcohol, Stearalkonium Hectorite, Benzophenone-1, Alumina, Synthetic Fluorphlogopite, Silica, Citric Acid, Tin Oxide, Calcium Aluminum Borosilicate, Calcium Sodium Borosilicate, Aluminum Calcium Sodium Silicate, Polyethylene Terephthalate, and Dimethicone.

May Contain: Mica, CI 77891 (Titanium Dioxide), CI 77163 (Bismuth Oxychloride), CI 15850 (Red 7 Lake), CI 77491 , CI 77499 (Iron Oxides), CI 15850 (Red 6 Lake), CI 15880 (Red 34), CI 77266 (Black 2), CI 73360 (Red 30 Lake), CI 75170 (Guanine), CI 77000 (Aluminum Powder), CI 77007 (Ultramarines), CI 77510 (Ferric Ammonium Ferrocyanide), CI 19140 (Yellow 5 Lake), and CI 42090 (Blue 1 Lake).

Essie School of Hard Rocks Swatches

All swatches have:

Essie School of Hard Rocks Swatches & Review

Natural Light

Natural Light Essie School of Hard Rocks Review & Swatch

Natural Light

Natural Light Essie School of Hard Rocks Swatch & Review

Natural Light

Natural Light Essie School of Hard Rocks Swatches & Review

Natural Light

Natural Light Essie Winter 2011 Collection Swatches School of Hard Knocks Essie Swatch & Review

Natural Light

Flash Essie Winter Collection 2011 Swatches & Review School of Hard Rocks


Flash Essie School of Hard Rocks Review & Swatches


Flash Essie School of Hard Rocks Swatch & Review


Flash School of Hard Rocks Essie Swatches & Review


Natural Light Essie Winter Collection 2011 Swatches School of Hard Rocks Review

Natural Light

Flash Essie Swatch & Review Winter 2011 Collection School of Hard Rocks Swatch



High-quality nail polish

(I couldn’t find any official colour description on Essie’s website. I guess this colour is still too new.)

Key Notes

  • Name: Essie School of Hard Rocks
  • Collection: Essie Winter Collection 2011
  • Colours Available in the Essie Winter Collection 2011: Bangle Jangle, School of Hard Rocks, Cocktail Bling, Bobbing for Baubles, Size Matters & Brooch the Subject
  • Amount: 13.5 mL (0.46 fl. oz.)
  • What I Paid: $4 USD
  • Where to Buy: NailsuppliesTrans Design & coming soon to select beauty-supply stores

Essie School of Hard Rocks Review


School of Hard Rocks by Essie is an edgy dusty teal that I feel leans more green on my skin tone than my photos would suggest. I can see this as being more blue if you have the opposite skin tone.

Colours like this are really chic to me. Now, I’m up for wearing practically any nail colour, but I find that if you’re just venturing out into ‘non-traditional’ polish hues, this is what I consider to be an easy transition. It gives you the green-blue you crave without being really loud or immature like a grass green might.


This is a creme polish.

Application & Formula

I was very happy with the application. It went on smoothly, and it was easy to control.

The formula is slightly thicker than an average polish because I think it’s more pigmented.

It took 2 coats to achieve total opacity, but the first coat was pretty impressive by itself. A second is definitely needed, though.


  • No Formaldehyde, Toluene, or DBP
  • Excellent colour payoff
  • Easy-to-use formula
  • Easy-to-wear hue
  • Has an awesome name (Superficial reason)

  • Contains Formaldehyde Resin

Final Verdict: 8.5/10

I really like the way dusty or muted colours look probably because I tend to wear loud colours. It’s a nice change without being drastic.

What’s the last Essie polish you wore? Are you rooting for Essie to come out with more colours like this? Or do you think that Essie should stick to the sheers, reds, and pinks that they’re known for?


28 thoughts on “Essie School of Hard Rocks Swatches & Review

  1. Carol

    I love Essie polish! I am wearing a great bold color called Merino Wool right now! I never pass up a pretty Essie!

    1. Mary Post author

      Hey Carol!

      Essie is really stepping up their game and introducing more edgy colours. Merino Cool is one of the colours that I recently got (but had been wanting ever since it came out). Great neutral!

  2. Melissa

    Definitely showing up as teal on my iPhone, so perhaps this is a
    Monitor issue? Loving the color!! *adds to lemming list*

    1. Mary Post author

      Hey Melissa!

      I think it’s more an issue with my camera. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t capture the true colour. What a bummer…but I tried to describe it in words the best I could. Hope it doesn’t confuse too many people.

      The colour is more a dusty teal that leans green. It’s not as much of a blueish teal as my photos would suggest.

  3. Carmela

    Ooooh, I was just looking at this the other day! 😀 Blues and teals are my weakness. But I was on the fence with this one because it looked fairly similar to something I already had, Fingerpaints Vintage Velvet. Altho, Essie does have impeccable application so that’s one thing it has over what I already have. Oh, the choices we have to make. 😉
    Carmela recently posted: Indulge without the Splurge: 5 October 2011

    1. Mary Post author

      Hey Carmela!

      Yes, this Essie definitely is highly pigmented and goes on so creamy! I was so impressed with even the first coat.

        1. Mary Post author

          I used 2 medium coats. It needed the second coat, but the first coat went on really nicely.

          If someone applied a really heavy first coat, perhaps they could get away with it, but it might be more prone to chipping with too thick of a coat.

  4. rae

    i’m a truly die-hard essie fan and have been for many years. I wore Merino Cool on friday/saturday last weekend. Truly one of my favourite polishes, it goes with everything! I hate to say it, but I think School of Hard Rocks just made my wishlist! It looks great on you.
    rae recently posted: Another Mini Orly Polish Line? Oh My!

    1. Mary Post author

      Hey rae!

      I still haven’t worn Merino Cool yet, but it’s such an interesting colour that looks like it’s one of those edgy neutrals.

      Glad that School of Hard Rocks made it onto your wishlist…hehe! But just please note that no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t get my camera to accurately capture the colour. It’s more green than my photos would suggest. It does have a dusty-teal tone to it, though.

    1. Mary Post author

      Hey LimitedAddictionNails!

      I highly recommend Bangle Jangle including this one. These are only two colours that I bought from this collection.

      Which others are on your list?

  5. Marta

    I’m definitely seeing teal in the photos so you’ve done the job well. I’ve grown to love these types of colours because like you say: I’m not too big on neon greens/blues but do like to play with those shades.
    I find the Essie brush a bit narrow for my nailbeds but I have been enjoying their colour range… I didn’t realize they started off with just the pales, pinks and reds… Makes sense though becUse those are mostly the shades that I own in that brand; I love me some “demure vixen” . I have been itching to pick up “trophy wife” and always put it back thinking it is too “brave for me” but I like the name 😉 … One day maybe 😉
    Marta recently posted: New Reason to buy polish

    1. Mary Post author

      Hey Marta!

      Thank you. 🙂 In person, it has a touch more green to it, though. *Dreams of a digital SLR camera* Hehe!

      Ooohh, Trophy Wife looks great – nice and vibrant. I can picture it on your nails.

  6. Stephan Hilson

    Two colors didn’t look exactly. But I was glad that you found a way to capture the color gorgeous slightly-dusty tea from the dusty blue. I agree that Essie School of Hard Rocks nail polish has a fantastic color and they also have advantages too. Is Formaldehyde Resin bad for the nails?
    Stephan Hilson recently posted: Comparer les forfaits mobiles

    1. Mary Post author

      Hey Stephan!

      I haven’t noticed any problems after using polishes that have that ingredient, but I mention it as a con because there are a lot of people who wish to avoid this chemical, along with the other Big-3 chemicals: Formaldehyde, Toluene, and DBP.

      There’s an ongoing debate over the negative effects of using nail products with those ingredients. For more information, All Lacquered Up has a great reference post about the Big-3 chemicals if you’re interested: 🙂

  7. Vivian

    Gorgeous color. My stash is always open for a new teal! I love that essie has more of a variety now a days and they should continue to expand. There’s only so many pinks one can create 😛 Thanks for swatching!

    and yea, I too am in great need for a dslr. In the meantime, I have to borrow the university’s equipment and let me tell you it feels like 50lbs for a scrawny girl like me. *pulls out empty pockets and sighs*

    1. Mary Post author

      Hey Vivian!

      I’m hoping that they’ll also continue to expand beyond their usual pinks, reds, and French-Manicure-type colours. Haha, but as for pinks, they might just keep making more. I wouldn’t mind it as much if they maybe went buck wild and made them HOLOS! Or how about some flakies or crazy iridescent glitter?

      Essie is supposedly coming out with some special-effects flakie polishes soon, so I think they’re really starting to think outside the box! YAY! 😀

      Haha, I’m also scrawny, so I know what you mean. Some equipment is just SO HEAVY! You could literally build muscles by carrying it for long enough.

  8. Katie

    Great color! Sometimes it can be so difficult to get a good picture of a polish. I’m looking forward to getting some of the winter Essie polishes and can’t wait for the luxeffects collection. The last Essie polish I wore was Essie Mint Candy Apple. I have such a weakness for mint greens.

    1. Mary Post author

      Hey Katie!

      Oh yeah, the Luxeffects Collection looks amazing. Essie and flakies? They’re really stepping up to the plate these days!

  9. Becky

    I love this color! I usually only buy the cheapest polishes, cause i change my color almost daily, but couldn’t resist this one. And you’re pics aren’t half bad, either. The polish is closer to the flash colors, but a shade or two darker. So don’t worry about that!


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