There have been requests for a review of Essie‘s new Gel Couture line, so here we go:
I have only one bottle of the Gel Couture line: Fairy Tailor, a light pink. Here’s a color comparison: ltr Mademoiselle, a sheer light pink, Fairy Tailor, which is semi-opaque and lastly, Fiji, which is completely opaque. The Gel Couture bottles house 13,5 ml of nail polish which is the same amount of the regular Essie bottles, but the packaging takes up more space. Sure it looks good, but I prefer easy storage over good looks.
Swatch of Fairy Tailor. Shown are two coats, no top coat. I needed two coats two get it even, but the application was great. The brush is the same as the normal Essie brush I think.
For color comparison:
Essie Fiji, a similar color but with white pigment, making it opaque.
And this is Essie Mademoiselle, which is a LOT sheerer.
I really, really REALLY like the color of Fairy Tailor; it seems to me this is just the right amount of light pink. In case you came here by googling “what is the perfect wedding manicure?” well in my humble opinion, you can’t do much wrong with Fairy Tailor, can you? 🙂
And now for my review of the formula: First we have to talk about what the heck a gel polish even is. You see, there used to be normal nail polish and you could get gel nails at beauty salons. Gel nails were quite a piece of work and you always had to get them redone when they were growing out, but the color held for much longer than normal polish and the shine was much more intense. So these are the two requirements people mean when they talk about gel or gel-like polish: 1. lasts longer and 2. intense shine.
Then some brands started selling gel polish in the drugstore. You needed a special base (sometimes), special polish and a special top coat and then you had to “cure” the whole stuff under a UV lamp. You might know the hardening under UV light thing from the dentist. I think sooner or later all these systems were removed from stores again, because which customer buys all that stuff? Not me, that’s for sure.
Then “gel-like” and gel systems without a UV lamp were all the rage. And the Essie gel couture is one of those. You still have to buy a special top coat for this. And while they say the top coat does not need a UV lamp to harden, I’m pretty sure they still harden with UV light, just with what you get from the sun. They are dry to the touch quickly, but need almost a whole day to properly cure.
I got a polish from the line, but skipped the top coat, because I have too many already and I prefer to show you what nail polish looks like without slapping a top coat on, so you’ll know what to expect. So my review is for the polish on its own.
I thought it would be pretty much regular polish, but there was some gel quality to the polish alone as well! Firstly, about half an hour after application, the nail polish ended up looking super shiny. Real gel shine. I couldn’t stop looking. This happend after I took my pic up there. I think it lends some credibility to my theory of it curing with UV light and that it wasn’t done yet when I took the pics. Also some time later I dented my polish with some fabric so while it was dry to the touch it had not been completely dry then. And that dent later leveled itself out, too! Amazing.
Lasting power: without top coat I had the first tip wear on day three, so it wasn’t that much better. However, that was really minimal and it stayed like that for many more days. I did wear it much longer than normal nail polish, over a week. Then I was so ready to remove it, as my nail had grown out, too and the gap kept getting bigger. And this is why I never understand why people want gel nails at all – don’t your nails grow out?
Removal was okay, but but not as easy as normal polish.
Overall: worth a try if you want intense shine and longer lasting polish. Top coat not necessary, but might make it even shinier and last even longer.