I Love This Drugstore 2-Step Manicure

Essie Gel Couture 2-Step System Review, DIY Manicure, New Beauty Launches 2016

This Essie Gel Couture review first appeared on the blog when the 2-step manicure system launched back in the summer of 2016. I rediscovered it at the end of last year, and I wanted to revive this post from the archives!

Here’s the gist: I. love. it. Essie Gel Couture is 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 with an exfoliating hand scrub, cuticle remover and a nice cuticle oil, you’ll get professional-looking results every time. Considering most salon manicures run between $10-20 a pop, it’s a great value for the DIY route. (Find more of my home manicure tips here!)

Essie Gel Couture Nail Polish Launch Review in Sew Me | keiralennox.com

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 manicure, from start to dry (I timed it).
  • The polish applies quickly and evenly with the wider “swirl-stem” brush; apply 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.)

Essie Gel Couture Sheer Fantasy Manicure

Sheer Fantasy is my favorite fuss-free sheer pink for a clean buffed manicure. Gala-Vanting is an awesome 90s-inspired raisin/dark wine shade that I love for both manis and pedis.

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  1. 1.22.22

    Definitely want to try this! Gel polish has always worked so well for me.

  2. 1.18.22
    Maite said:

    I love the 2 step sysem by Essie! and alsothat hand creme from lollia is my favorite!! Love seeing in that in your picture

  3. 2.8.17

    Wow Awesome post πŸ‘ŒπŸ».

    Please check my blog on . Hope u will like it 😊

    Best Of Beauty 2017 || DRUGSTORE Edition – SUNAINA DAS

    Xoxo πŸ˜˜πŸ’—

  4. 1.25.17

    They look really nice! I’m hooked on the Sensationail, but I might check out Essie some time :D

  5. 1.15.17

    Im going to have to try these! Looks awesome!

  6. 1.13.17
    mary said:

    just ordered this …works great, dries so fast, yay.
    thanks so much.

  7. 1.13.17
    CJ said:

    This is great information ,thanks Keira!

  8. 1.11.17
    Kim said:

    Keira, after your recommendation in August, I got “Sheer Fantasy” and “Take me to Thread.” I can do my own manicures at a time totally convenient to me. Also, no matter how clean a salon is, unless they sterilize that little bowl for soaking your fingers in, one is at risk for an infection. Regarding price, Dior and Yves Saint Laurent both came out with Gel polish top coats a few years ago…they were approximately $25 a bottle. I tried both of those, and like Essie much better. As you said, the brush makes it very easy to apply and achieve a great result.
    Love your style and blog!

    • 1.11.17

      Thank you, Kim!! I’m so happy the posts were helpful for you. “Take Me to Thread” is my next purchase. :)

  9. 1.11.17
    mary said:

    ordering now, thanks Keira

  10. 1.11.17
    lotusgurl said:

    I went out and bought Essie after reading your other blog post about it, and I’m in love. I now have almost every color–I just use CVS coupons since it is indeed super pricey. It dries quickly, and I don’t see signs of wear for at least 7-10 days. Remarkable. Thanks for sharing!

    • 1.11.17

      This makes me so happy! I’m so glad the posts were helpful. :) So, which is your favorite color?

  11. 1.9.17

    oh how nice… i’m definitely going to try this….

  12. 1.9.17

    Wow 7-10 days is really impressive for an at-home manicure. Sounds like a great product.

    • 1.10.17

      I’m seriously surprised/impressed every time I use it. I love how easy it is to apply/remove, too.

  13. 1.9.17

    Thanks for the update! I just got my nails done at the salon and am seriously considering getting this product for the future!

    • 1.10.17

      I don’t know what my issue is, but I swear I chip a salon mani by day two EVERY time. It’s definitely worth a try!

      • 1.10.17

        You’re not alone girl πŸ™ˆ I’m known for chipping them the same day I got them done haha

  14. 1.9.17

    I’ll have to check these out!!

  15. 1.9.17
    Jen said:

    Is it tricky to take off?

    • 1.10.17

      Good question! I’ve tried other “gel” products that were a pain to remove. But no, it’s super easy. Just like removing regular polish!

  16. 1.9.17

    I am for sure going to try this! I am typing with chipped nail polish on that lasted only 2 days.

    • 1.10.17

      Ugh, isn’t that so frustrating? I’m prone to chipping and peeling, too — I think I have “oily” nail beds or something — so I always swipe a little polish remover or acetone over my nails (even if they’re polish-free) before I get started just to make sure they’re clean and dry. Definitely give it a try!

  17. 1.9.17

    I love these too! I was skeptical bc of the price but they’re worth it!

    • 1.10.17

      Totally agree! Especially if you take the extra time to prep and make sure your nails are completely clean. I’m so impressed with them and haven’t used any of my other polishes since I started using the GC.

  18. 1.9.17
    Kayla said:

    I have yet to find this polish in a drugstore, the only place I’ve seen it in person is ulta. That said, I’m obsessed and I agree about all the pluses you wrote about. Mine looks fairly worn after a week, but I’m a mom of a two year old and spend a lot of time washing things for small people. But I agree whole heartedly. I love this stuff!!

    • 1.10.17

      “Washing things for small people” made me smile. :) I’ve had the best luck with ‘Sheer Fantasy’ for longest wear time; I think because it’s so light it camouflages chips really well. What’s your fave shade?

      • 1.10.17
        Kayla said:

        I think the favorite so far is surrounded by studs. I just bought sheer fantasy and I’m going to have to try it. Do you feel like two coats gives you good enough coverage with such a light color? Another fav of mine is gala-vanting. I enjoy the dark colors in winter.