It’s no secret I love to paint my nails and that I am an obvious Essie enthusiast! While I do love to have my nails painted, keeping them looking fresh all week long is not without its challenges and I don’t always have the time to give them a fresh paint when they start to look a little tatty (and my absolute pet peeve is chipped polish). So you can imagine my excitement when Essie announced the launch of their brand new Gel Couture line, designed to last 14 days. They launched this range with a fancy new twirly bottle, a slightly thicker paddle brush, two-step formula that encompasses both base coat and colour in one and finally, a high gloss top coat. The new formula omits the need to apply base coat so painting your nails just got a lot quicker and easier!
I don’t often get a gel manicure unless I’m going away or need my mani to last and while I do love the ease of it, you have to pay someone to do it for you (and as a treat, this is great but regular application is not practical) and then you need to have it taken off properly unless you don’t mind mucking up your nails in the process! My nails are also quite thin so I don’t like to have them over processed and continuous gel application and removal does weaken them so I prefer to give them a decent break in between. So, that being said, an at-home DIY gel manicure definitely appeals and Essie’s range seemed to tick all the boxes. I trotted off to Dischem and picked up two colours, Spool Me Over and Looks to Thrill plus the all important top coat. This range is more expensive than regular Essie polish with the polishes starting from R160 and the top coat from R170, but you don’t need base coat and it lasts longer.
The first difference I noticed with the polish is the brush – it makes a HUGE difference with application and helps you to achieve that smooth, even edge around your cuticle. I found the creamy pink to be slightly streaky when applying the first two coats but the brush does keep the application more even. The second thing worth noting was the speed at which the polish dries – by the time I had finished the painting my second hand, the first was dry. My only complaint would be that the top coat takes quite a while to dry properly and if you’ve read any of my previous posts, you’ll know how I swear by Essie’s Good To Go top coat that dries incredibly fast and also dries like a gel so on this point I’m undecided. Essie also suggests that the top coat be reapplied every second day to maintain a shiny, fresh mani.
Onto the results… I wanted to love this new collection more than I do but I have to be completely honest in saying that it didn’t blow me away like I thought it would. I’ve read loads of reviews about the polishes and so I had high expectations. Don’t get me wrong, I love the colours and I do like this range but not as much as I had thought I would. In terms of wear, I got a good 7 days from both colours before I found them looking a little tired and although they hadn’t chipped off the front, they had started to peel at the cuticle. The top coat does give a lovely gel-like finish but no more so than the Good to Go. I’ve tried this with and without a base coat (you don’t need a base coat as the pigments are designed to not stain but for darker colours, I always like a base coat just in case) but this definitely lasts longer without a base coat as it peeled quicker with one applied. I’m not particularly hard on my nails – i wear gloves when washing dishes and I definitely don’t use them as tools – so I had thought I get a longer wear out of this range especially when seeing review that some ladies had gotten 10 – 14 days out of theirs. That being said though, 7 days is pretty impressive and as the range of colours is so pretty (and there are 42 to choose from!), I’ll definitely be purchasing a few more shades. Another plus it that the polish is super easy to remove with regular polish remover!
Spool Me Over: A gorgeous creamy, apricot pink from their Atelier Collection. While this was a slightly more challenging colour to apply, it lasted the longest of the two I’ve tried. It needed three coats to give full coverage but is a really pretty, soft pink.
Looks to Thrill: This is a bright, vibrant creamy melon shade from their Fashion Show Collection (it looks more orange in this photo than it actually is) and is so perfect for summer! I love my corals during the warmer seasons and this will work well as both a mani and pedi. Just two coats gave me full, even coverage and it was super easy to apply.
My verdict? Although they didn’t quite meet my expectations (I suppose that’s the love of reading reviews!), these polishes are definitely well worth a try and with the gorgeous range to choose from, there is most certainly a shade to suit everyone’s liking!