Review: Essie Gel Couture Polish

As soon as Essie Gel Couture Polish hit the store shelves, I was eager to try it, but I was still in my salon-going routine.  I love that salon gel polish dries almost instantly, reducing opportunities for smudges or dings!  Who doesn’t love being able to buckle their seatbelt without worrying about ruining a nail??

Aside from that, there are some things I do not like about salon gel manicures:  They never seem to last the full two weeks, and I cannot easily remove the polish myself!  While my salon gel manicures did a pretty good job of withstanding my continuous household chores, mom-related duties, and hand-washing, I wanted the freedom to remove the polish myself when I got sick of it.  But since it is so tedious to remove, I always found myself back in the salon, perpetuating the cycle.  Well, I finally worked up the nerve to ditch the salon and dive back into DIY with Essie Gel Couture!

Essie Gel Couture

Essie Gel Couture: The Packaging

The bottles are super functional and chic!  The twist looks so elegant, and it makes the bottles easier to open.  Plus, I love the way the Gel Couture bottle design sets the collection apart from the traditional Essie polish.  Hel-lo!

Essie Gel Couture
Colors (from left): touch up, the it factor, top coat, sheer fantasy, take me to thread.

Essie Gel Couture Polish: The Process

The nail polish application process is straightforward.  All you have to do is apply two coats of your Essie Gel Couture color, and top off your digits with the Essie Gel Couture topcoat.  You don’t need a UV lamp or any fancy driers.  All you need is the pretty polish and your hands!

Essie Gel Couture

Essie Gel Couture: My Experience

So far, I have used 3 of the 4 colors I purchased.  (I initially purchased 2 but liked Essie Gel Couture enough to go for more!)  Here’s how it went:

  • I applied 2 coats of color each time without any problems with streakiness or blobs.  It was really easy to swipe on!
  • I waited about 2 minutes before applying the top coat.
  • My nails were dry in no time–  I went back to chasing my kids in about 5 minutes without any smudges.
  • I left the polish on my nails for a full 7 days.  (According to Essie, it is supposed to last up to 14, and while it probably could have, the quality wouldn’t have been up to my standards.)
  • This polish is easier to remove than regular Essie polish!  What?!!
  • I did touch up the very tips and apply another topcoat midweek, but that could be partly due to the fact that I am not a professional nail tech and I wash my hands so darn much.  But it’s important to note that there were no major chips!
Essie Gel Couture
the it factor
Essie Gel Couture
take me to thread
Essie Gel Couture
sheer fantasy

Essie Gel Couture: In Conclusion

Would I purchase more of these?  Absolutely!  Am I in a hurry to get back to my salon routine!  Absolutely not.  It is refreshing to be able to pain my own nails with a reliable, easy-to-apply, fast-drying product.  However, the end result is not really comparable to a true salon gel manicure.  I would say it’s a very hardy regular manicure.

What I like best:

  • Dries in no time
  • Shiny
  • Easy to apply (I completed the entire manicure in under 10 minutes.)
  • Streak-free
  • Pretty fool-proof

Suggestions for use:

  • Touch up the very tips and add another topcoat halfway through the duration of wear to keep nails looking fresh.
  • Moisturizing your hands throughout the duration may or may not extend wear.  Just a thought.

Essie Gel Couture

Disclosure:  This post may contain affiliate links. 

If you want to give these a try, you can shop them below.  I’ve linked them from Kohl’s in case you have Kohl’s Cash or coupons!


That’s what’s up in the nail world today.  Do you do your own nails?  Have you tried these polishes?  If so, what are your thoughts?  Do you have another go-to type of polish??  Let’s chat below!
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48 thoughts on “Review: Essie Gel Couture Polish

  1. I have Take Me To Thread and I really like the color and formula. This is the second gel formula I’ve tried but I’ve seen that both the Essie and Sally Hansen formulas don’t last the claim of 14 days, which sucks! If I find that a formula could last 14 days then I’ll stop getting gel manis at the salon and buy every single color of that formula. I love doing my nails but it’s discouraging when my nails chip within the first 7-10 days of wear.

    1. I agree! Have you used Essie’s regular line with the Good to Go topcoat? I am trying to figure out if the Gel Couture lasts longer, but I am thinking it maybe wins only by a day or two. The main difference I see between the regular line and the Gel Couture is that the Gel Couture formula is a lot more even and LOOKS more like gel.

  2. This is such a great review! I’ve actually been afraid to try these out because I’ve heard that they’re crap. I just worry because I’m a stay at home wife and like you, do a ton of rough things with my hands on the daily. Maybe I’ll try some out!
    XO Char.

    1. Thank you! I would definitely try it. I wore the “take me to thread” for 7 days, and during that time, I threw my girls a birthday party and was on the tail end of washing my hands tons more because the girls had had the flu. I have to say it’s not perfect, and I feel like the tips tend to look kind of worn, but it’s easy to touch up, and touch ups blend really well. Also, if you purchase from Kohl’s through ebates.com today, you’ll save 6 percent. But if you don’t purchase enough stuff from Kohl’s, you’ll end up having to pay for shipping. Xoxoxo

  3. I love nail polish. I have about 50 bottles 🙂 mostly Barry M and Rimmel. I’m still curious about these new Essie ones. Their regular collection is quite expensive so I’d probably just try the one. Really like the cool toned brown one on you x

    1. Ooh I’ve never heard of Barry M and I don’t own Rimmel. (I’ve heard great things about Rimmel!) I love Essie’s regular collection. They are a bit pricey but they always seem to work well for me. But I will say every color is not created equally. In terms of the Gel Couture line, all colors I have used have operated equally well. Xo

  4. This is exactly what I need in my life!!! I love a gel manicure at a salon but the thought of not being able to take them off at my own leisure makes me so hesitant only because inevitably I do like to change my color once a week. But it totally stinks because when I give myself a manicure I find that I have to do my nails twice in one week because they chip off so darn easily. Sigh. The struggle is real. I’ve always thought about trying at-home gel polish but I’ve been skeptical because I wasn’t sure that they would come off with regular remover….does it? I’m not sure if I missed you mentioning that. But if so, I’m about to be all over this….I’m a total essie fan too so I’m already persuaded. Sheer fantasy- soooo pretty!!!!!!

    xo, JJ

    1. Oh my goodness. I have to add it to the post because someone else asked, too! It comes off more easily than regular polish, which I find a bit odd. Even the mistakes on my skin washed off in one hand-washing. I will say this is not gel polish. Just seems like a really hardy regular mani. I love it because it applies free of streaks! You should definitely give one a whirl! Xo

      1. Nailpolish that comes off easily is a dream come true…along with quick drying top coats hahah but I’m definitely going to target to scoop up maybe 1 or 2 this weekend! I think it’s time to get some nice spring colors 🙂

  5. I’m really intrigued at how beautiful the colors are and the bottles, yes!, they are really unique. I actually haven’t worn Essie in a long time because I’m constantly up and down with everything else. But I’ll be sure to pop in to a store and get me one of these babies. Lovin’ em <3

What are your thoughts?