I’ve had my eye on the Essie Gel Couture polishes for the past month, and I finally purchased one at the beginning of August. The shade I chose was Sew Me, which Essie describes as a cream caramel rose. I also bought the top coat to see how the nail polish would last when paired with the top coat it was meant to go with. The Gel Couture line claims to give “14 days of luxurious wear and instant gel-like shine”, without needing a UV lamp. I was hesitant to try wearing this for 14 days as I do my nails every weekend without fail, and didn’t know how long my resolve would last before I crumbled and took the polish off. However, on Day 7, I decided to stick it out for another week for testing purposes.
First of all, let’s talk about the bottle design. The bottle itself has a twisted shape that is different from the regular Essie bottles. According to the video on the Essie website, the shape is supposed to mimic the look of a woman twirling in her dress – how cute! I love the packaging, but although Essie says it’s meant to be an ergonomic shape, I don’t really find this to be the case – it doesn’t particularly affect the way I hold the bottle. It also has a twisted (or “swirl-stem”) brush to keep the nail polish from dripping down from the stem onto your work surface – the new twist design is supposed to guide the polish down the stem and onto the brush instead. Hmm, I’m not sure whether the swirl-stem has any practical use either, as I typically don’t have a problem with polish dripping for the stem onto my work surface – if anything, I’m usually afraid of polish dripping from the brush onto the work surface.
The brush is wide with a rounded tip, which is my favourite brush shape, as it fits the curve of the cuticles, and is able to cover most of my nail in one swipe.
Application was generally easy due to the size of the brush, although I found I had to be really careful, as I have small hands (and therefore small nails). The brush was wider than my pinky fingernail, and I had to be careful near the sides of my other nails, as the fat brush made it very easy to get polish on the cuticles.
Yikes, my cuticles look absolutely horrendous. Please excuse them. I think it’s because I’ve been hand-washing my workout clothes 2-3 times a week for the past month, and I haven’t been taking care of my cuticles at all, or even moisturizing my hands in general. Anyways, this was with three coats of polish – two coats is generally enough, but I felt like two or three of my nails were not completely opaque using two coats, so I used three.
After 14 days of wear:
As you can see, the shine has dulled quite a bit compared with initial application. On my left hand, there are a couple of bigger chips – one on my thumb and one on my pinky. Surprisingly, there were little to no chips on my right hand, even though I’m right handed and use it more often.
There is quite a bit of a regrowth gap, which you can’t really fault the polish for – it’s just biology! There is also a teensy bit of tip wear, which can be seen in the photo of my right hand as it’s a closer shot of my nails. It’s only noticeable to me when I look at my nails up close. No one else would be able to see it!
Although I was a tad disappointed that there were chips, I’m generally pretty impressed with the lasting power considering it was worn for 14 days. I have no doubt that most of the polishes I own would have much more noticeable chips after Day 7. Actually, on my 10th day of wearing this polish, I was chatting with a coworker, and we were comparing wear times of the polishes we were both wearing at the time. She freaked when I told her mine was on Day 10, because her nails (not a Gel Couture polish) were on Day 3 and half of it was chipped off! I am going to continue purchasing more of these in the next few months – I have my eye on a few other shades already!
The polish was able to be removed as easily as my other polishes using a regular cotton pad and nail polish remover. I can’t tell you how excited I was to take this polish off so I could clip my nails. My nails were my ideal length when I applied this polish. I forgot that doing this two-week text would mean not being able to clip my nails, and they were WAY too long by the end!