I'm pretty sure by now you know how much of a nail polish addict I am, in every haul post I write there is a nail polish or at the very least some sort of top or base coat in the post. I recently spotted that Essie had launched their new Gel Couture range of polishes plus a top coat and with Essie being one of my favourite brands I couldn't wait to try the new range and when I saw they were on a buy 1 get 1 half price deal in Boots, I thought it would be rude not to try them.
There are 25 shades of the Gel Couture polishes available in the UK plus a top coat, which is a shame because in the US there are 42 shades available, I chose the shade On The List a bright coral shade and I also picked up the top coat, I ordered my polish and top coat from Boots online and I have to say I was a little disappointed when they arrived as the top coat bottle was badly scratched, it's no biggie but I like everything to look nice and it doesn't.
The Gel Couture bottles are different from regular Essie nail polish bottles and have a "twist" effect to them, said to be inspired by the swirl of a dress on a fashion runway. I like the bottles, they are a little difficult to store but they look nice.
Essie claims the polishes last up to 14 days when worn with the top coat but as always it does depend on your nails and how much you use your hands and how hard you are on your nails. When I saw the new range I immediately wanted to try it, I used to have regular gel manicures at my local beauty salon, I love the look of a gel manicure and since various different brands have launched their take on the "DIY gel manicure" I have been trying out different brands but never really found that perfect DIY gel manicure. Since Essie is one of my favourite nail polish brands I had high hopes for the Gel Couture range.
The brush on the polishes is a nice wide round tip brush and the wand of the brush is also twisted like the bottles to deliver the right amount of polish to the nail and give an even coverage without flooding the brush with polish.
The brush on the top coat is a nice wide brush, it doesn't have a rounded end like the nail polish brush and the wand of the brush isn't twisted but it is easy to apply and the top coat goes on in one easy stroke.
The Gel Couture is a 2 step system meaning no base coat is needed, Essie have used specialist pigments to help avoid staining for people with porous nails and those prone to staining. The 2 step system is a super easy system, Essie recommend 2 thin coats of polish followed by 1 coat of the top coat.
I followed the application instructions and did not apply a base coat, I applied 2 thin coats of polish but unfortunately my nails looked very streaky and even after 3 coats some of my nails still looked streaky so I had to apply a fourth coat to most of my nails. I think with the darker shades 2 coats will be fine but 2 shades were no where near enough with the coral shade I bought. The top coat isn't as thick as I thought it would be, if you have used the Essie Gel Setter polish, the Gel Couture is not as thick as the that, it isn't thin but not as thick as the Gel Setter, my Gel Setter top coat started to go gloopy after a little while but so far so good with the Gel Couture top coat, I will of course let you know if anything changes.
The polish was nice and easy to apply and has an average drying time, the twisted brush does stop the brush flooding with polish but you do still have to wipe the excess off as normal. As I said I had to use mostly 4 coats of polish allowing each coat to dry fully in between and then I applied the top coat.
I did take a photograph of my nails after 3 coats to show you how they looked.
The photograph above shows my nails after 3 coats of the polish, hopefully you will see if you look closely that my thumb nail, ring finger and little finger nail look streaky, I could maybe have gotten away with 3 coats but I like an opaque finish to my nails and to me this is not opaque.
Once I had finished applying the polish, and had applied the top coat, I was thrilled with the way my nails looked.
I was really pleased with the finished look of my nails, I love how opaque they look but I think they should do after 4 coats! The shine is amazing, my nails looked so glossy and super shiny and I do think they looked like I'd had a gel manicure. I received so many compliments on my nails when wearing the polish, lots of people thought I had had a gel manicure too.
How The Polish Wore
I am so impressed with the wear time of the polish and am pleased to report that my polish lasted for 13 days before chipping, the chip was a small chip on the side of my nail and was barely visible. The polish also wore on the tips of my nails and grew out at the base of my nail where my nails had grown, they didn't look as lovely on day 14 as they did on day 1 but I am seriously impressed with how the polish wore and on day 14 they didn't look horrendous but you could see the wearing. I removed the polish on day 14.
After 14 days
After 14 days
Will The Top Coat Work With Other Polishes?
I have used the top coat with other polishes I own as I thought I would be asked if it was possible to wear it with other brands and how it performed if I did, so I wore the top coat over a Barry M Gelly Hi Shine nail polish in the shade Grapefruit and the polish lasted 8 days, this is unheard of for a Barry M polish on my nails, I usually get around 4 days from a Barry M Gelly Hi Shine polish. I had leg waxing and pedicure appointment when wearing the Barry M polish with the Essie top coat and the beauty therapist treating me thought I had been to another salon for gel nails. I also received a lot of compliments especially from people who follow me on Snapchat and watch my little vlog style video's on there.
My eldest daughter also used the top coat over the China Glaze polish Flip Flop Fantasty which usually chips within 24 hours of her applying the polish and sometimes a lot less, it can chip as quickly as a couple of hours after application which it had done the last time she wore it, but with using the Essie Gel Couture top coat her nails lasted 6 days without chipping, that is incredible wear time and completely unheard of, I haven't ever had any China Glaze polish last me that long, they all usually chip within 24 hours. My daughter is a professional makeup artist so uses her hands all day everyday, she opens makeup packets and palettes all day long and washes her hands a lot so polishes don't usually last long on her and the most time she gets when wearing polish at work is around 3 days maximum.
There is a negative I'm afraid, as I said this is a 2 step system and Essie have used specialist pigments to prevent staining. Unfortunately I experienced the worst staining I have ever had with any nail polish, so I would 100% recommend using a base coat, both my daughters used the polish and also experienced staining, my nails are still very badly stained over 2 weeks after removing the polish, so I will definitely be using a base coat before I use the polish again.
My stained nails.
The staining won't put me off as I will use a base coat in future, the product is so amazing that it out weighs the staining and it is something that can be avoided by using a base coat. The staining and the fact I needed more coats are the only negatives I found with the polish and top coat but neither are big problems and certainly won't put me off purchasing more shades or continuing to use the shade I have.
Overall I am incredibly impressed with the Essie Gel Couture polish and top coat, the application was easy and the wear time incredible, I was also really impressed with the way other polishes wore when I used the top coat with them, I would 100% recommend you try the Gel Couture polishes and top coat, I will definitely be purchasing more shades so keep an eye out for a beauty haul and some NOTD posts soon.
If you would like to try the Gel Couture polishes and top coat, you can find them on the Superdrug website HERE for £9.99 currently on a 3 for 2 promotion inc free bag with 3 products. Or the Boots website HERE currently on a buy 1 get 1 half price promotion.
Have you tried the Gel Couture polishes? Let me know in the comments.
Thank you for reading, much love as always