Essence Nail Art Stampy Set ($2.99) and Nail Jewels ($2.49) available at Ulta
You guys know I'm a hardcore Konad addict, so when Essence came to the States and brought along the Stampy Set, it was a no-brainer. I picked it up at Ulta for about $3 which includes a stamper, scraper and a plate with 7 mostly floral designs. I thought I'd review it and tell you, compared to Konad, what I thought.
The first thing that really seemed different to me is that the plates from Konad have a paper backing on the bottom of the plates and this plate does not. I don't know what purpose this backing serves, but presumably it's to keep the plate more stable and strong, because a bent plate is a ruined plate. The stamper and scraper are very similar in looks to the Konad brand ones, but the actual smooshy stamper part is somewhat more smooshy and slicker in surface texture. These properties make it easier to pick up the design on to the stamp, but harder to transfer it to the nail. The scraper seems to have a bit of a longer blade than the Konad one, but it's very uneven and scrapes the living crap out of the plate. Not to mention the fact that only seems to scrape off some of the excess polish. I had to abandon the Essence one and use my trusty Konad one to finish the job. The plate is pretty nice except that it's a lot more flimsy than Konad plates, so it might not last long if you don't take good care to store it where it won't get bent. The images are fairly deep and create nice clear images when I use my Konad scraper. All in all, for $3 it's a good deal because of the plate alone.
As far as the nail jewels, there seem to be quite a few for $2.50, and they're super cute. They come in hearts, a couple flower shapes, teardrops, stars and circles, and they're teeny, which is a plus in my book. Their profile is not large, so they don't sit too high on the nail. There's not much to say about these, they're pretty straight-forward.
The manicure above was done with Essence Plum Perfect, then I added a stamp from the Stampy Set with China Glaze Millenium. Then I put a coat of base coat over this once it was dry and added a clear rhinestone to the middle flower of each design. Everything is topped off with a coat of Seche Vite