Here’s the verdict: I. love. it.
This collection is one of my favorite beauty launches of 2016. It’s pricey for a drugstore nail product, but I think the color + top coat combo is worth every penny if you’re comfortable painting your own nails. If you spend a little extra time exfoliating your hands and finishing up with a good cuticle oil, you’ll get professional-looking results every time. Considering most salon manicures run between $10-20 a pop, it’s a value for the DIY route.
Here’s what I love most about the 2-step formula:
- You can skip a base coat and get straight down to business.
- It takes five minutes to whip out a mani, from start to dry (I timed it).
- The polish applies quickly and evenly with the wider “swirl-stem” brush; two coats of color and you’re set.
- The top coat completely dries to a glassy shine in about about 90 seconds.
- The shine sticks around longer than any other product I’ve tried.
- It lasts on my nails for 7-10 days before it starts to show signs of wear.
Don’t just buy the color and skip the Gel Couture top coat! It’s essential for the high shine and long wear time. You can use the Gel Couture top coat with other Essie polishes, but the dry time is substantially longer and it’s more prone to nicks and smudges. (Make sure your color coats are completely dry before applying the Gel Couture top coat.)