If you’re a regular reader you’ll know that if I’m having a good run I get two days wear from regular nail polish. We’re not talking bargain bin brands here, we’re talking essie, OPI, Morgan Taylor. Vinylux? Maybe 3 days. So far Revlon Gel Envy and Estee Lauder are the joint record holders with 3-4 days on average if I’m careful with my nails. I don’t know why nail polish doesn’t stay on for me since I know the correct application techniques, but you can imagine that I often go without because it’s just too much of a hassle.
Due to my inability to hang on to nail polish I managed my expectations when the essie Gel Couture polishes arrived. I hoped that it would match my previous record holders and give me four days of wear before it starts looking hideous. Turns out it didn’t. Because the pictures below were taken on DAY SEVEN.
You can see tip wear and that it’s grown out quite a bit, but there isn’t a single chip and there’s no lifting or peeling. I didn’t go easy on them at all – I did the dishes several times, I dug around in a crate of lego, I washed my hair daily and I picked Cheese Curls from my teeth.
Today is Day 9 and I really should take it off tonight because it doesn’t look great anymore. I’m now starting to see some cracks and small chips, and the growth at the cuticle looks a little hideous. There is still no lifting or peeling, no major chipping and by some supernatural means they’re still really shiny. If I was less of a pain (or if it was a lighter shade – I have Twill Seeker on my nails here) I probably could have left it for another day or two.
The essie Gel Couture system is super simple – two coats of colour followed by a top coat. The brush has a very satisfying paddle shape that enables you to go right up to your cuticles without touching them. To prevent unpredictable blobs of polish the stem also mimics the curve you see in the bottle shape. The polish itself goes on like any other regular polish, but it feels a little tackier once applied so I gave each coat a few extra minutes to dry.
In SA we’re starting with 21 shades, and I’m happy with the variety available (details in the images below). I’m beyond excited to have nail polish that will last me throughout a work week (or an entire week, for that matter), and I’ve already made my shopping list with shades I’d like to get.
Essie Gel Couture should be in Dis-Chem, Foschini and Clicks stores already. Colours are R170 each (regular essie polish goes for around R125 last time I checked) and the top coat is R180. It’s the first long wear polish I’ve tested that truly is comparable to gel, so I’m happy to those extra bucks.
UPDATE: I’ve since painted my nails with these a second time and I want to mention that you definitely do need some patience and precision. Set aside half an hour for painting the three coats, ensure that you cover the free edges and corners properly, and then give it the necessary drying time. I didn’t have enough time/patience this time round (an hour before your own birthday party is not a great time to do any kind of nail painting, for that matter) and I’m definitely seeing wear and tear earlier on.