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Gel-Like Manicure in Two Easy Steps

I know what you’re thinking, another one? Don’t they already have one? Well, Essie has a top coat called Gel Setter which can be used on any Essie nail color to create a lasting gel-like finish but these are radically different.

Essie Gel Setter (not at all like Gel Couture)

I love the long-wear of a UV gel but hate all the steps and time it takes. I’ve tried non-UV gel polishes like Sally Hansen and Revlon which are pretty decent but I think the new Essie Gel Couture polishes are a step above.

Essie released 42 shades in their collection. Step 1 is the color that gives you good gel-like shine and coverage (wait about 60 seconds in between coats), and Step 2 is the top coat that seals everything. The bottle is designed to be easier to hold while applying and there’s a new “swirl-stem” nail polish brush. I found the polish did not run down or drip. posted a video showing you how to apply Essie Gel Couture for the best results. Essie suggests that you don’t need a base coat for this 2-step system but I always put one on no matter what. For my manicure, I used the Essie “First Base” Base Coat.

Touch Up – Soft Mauve Pink

Essie’s “Touched Up” is a dusty lavender. I figure if I’m going to test out a color for the long-term, might as well pick a color I like. The Essie promise is “up to 14 days of luxurious wear”. The photos below show what my nails look like after just a week of wear. I don’t think I would want to go for 14 days of wear simply because I would want a new color. Plus you can tell my nails could use a polish change.

Right Hand after 7 Days – Essie Gel Couture in Touch Up

After a week of washing dishes, laundry, ironing, garden work, etc.,….you know, life in the real world without a personal maid and staff of 50, these held up pretty darn good. I’m a righty so I always get chipped polish on my index and thumb first. On the left hand, I already lost 3 nails and then my index finger got torn again. In comparison, the left hand looks slightly better since it’s not my dominant hand.

Left Hand After 7 Days – Essie Gel Couture in Touch Up

Overall, I was pleasantly surprised. I figure this would be great if say you were traveling and you couldn’t change your polish. I also think if I had refreshed my nails by adding the Step 2 Top Coat every other day or maybe even a coat of Seche Vite, it would have helped against the chipping, but I wanted to test it out as is.

Now let’s talk about the colors. So many to choose from. If you’re an Essie fan, you’ll probably have similar colors in the original line. Since these are meant for long-wear, I’d pick out colors you wear the most and go from there. Although it’s hard not to want them all even if you have dupes!

They retail for $11.50 each. The Step 2 Top Coat is sold separately also for $11.50. It took me a while to find them though. Ulta had advertised them in their last sale but they weren’t even in stores. I had to trek out to the suburbs and was able to find them finally and today I spotted them at Target.

The 42 shades in Essie Gel Couture are split up into 4 collections:

Neutrals – Atelier Collection

  • Sheer Fantasy: graceful sheer pink
  • Spool Me Over: creamy apricot pink
  • Sew Me: cream caramel rose
  • Fairy Tailor: sheer nude pink
  • Stitch by Stitch: ladylike pink
  • Pinned Up: spicy tea rose
  • Take Me to Thread: plush taupe
  • Twill Seeker: enchanting pewter with sage luster
  • Make the Cut: pearlized nude griege
  • Pearls of Wisdom: lustrous mulberry pearl
  • Touch Up: softest mauve pink
  • First View: baby cashmere blue

Pastels – First Look Collection

  • Pre-Show Jitters: alabaster white
  • Couture Curator: appraising coral peche
  • Haute to Trot: handcrafted lavender rose
  • Zip Me Up: slinky satin mint
  • Beauty Nap: dreamy gray-moss
  • Dress Call: charming orchid creme

Brights – Fashion Show Collection

  • Style in Excess: opulent icy steel
  • Labels Only: lavish frosted sapphire
  • On the List: prolific tangerine coral
  • Signature Smile: sharp firy rose
  • Model Citizen: flawless light deep pink
  • Take a Walk: vigorous lime chartreuse
  • Looks to Thrill: light & vibrant ambered melon creme
  • Flashed: poppy electric vermillion
  • Rock the Runway: fierce scarlet red
  • Beauty Marked: striking statement crimson
  • Sit Me in the Front Row: distinguished juicy raspberry
  • The It-Factor: fascinating bright fuchsia

Deeps – After Party Collection

  • Turn ‘N’ Pose: dramatic deep plumdramatic deep plum
  • Find Me A Man-nequin: magnetic ultramarine blue
  • Drop the Gown: forward ruby red
  • Bubbles Only: classic burgundy creme
  • Gala-Vanting: jovial marooned red
  • Spiked with Style: edgy deep blood red
  • Model Clicks: fashionable aubergine wine
  • Off-Duty Style: deep dusty teal
  • Surrounded by Studs: bejeweled blue
  • Caviar Bar: magnificent deep navy
  • Hang Up the Heels: jet black accessorized with jade shimmer
  • Wrap Party: inky & mysterious midnight green
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Have you tried Essie Gel Couture?

Stay Sweet Lovelies!

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