I love trying new things and once I find something that truly works and lives up to the hype around it? Well, I’m all in!
I’ve always loved having my nails done, but since having kids my hands take such a beating that I could never keep the polish looking nice for more than a few days.
In the hunt for a long lasting manicure, I’ve tried several options. I’ll take you through my opinion on the pros and cons of each, ending with my current, hands-down favorite.
Gel manicures at the salon
This is where they use special gel polishes and it requires the UV light to dry them instantly.
Pros: Convenient to have them dry instantly and lasted for roughly 2 weeks, as promised.
Cons: Expensive – either you have to go to a salon every time or buy the polishes & UV light yourself. Removal process – brutal! Requires soaking in pure acetone for 20 minutes and then having the polish scraped off. ruined my naturally healthy & strong nails. I went this route twice before finally learning my lesson and deciding to never use this process again.
I went this route twice and each time the removal process ruined my naturally strong and healthy nails for weeks afterward until the damaged nail surface grew out. After the second time, I finally learned my lesson and decided to never use this process again.
Standard Polish with Gel Topcoat
Essie came out with a “Gel Setter” top coat meant to be used with regular nail polish. This was a good option and gave me a solid week without chipping,
Pros: Can do at home, can use existing nail polish collection, provides longer lasting polish than using regular top coat (on average it gives me a solid week without chipping), Removes cleanly with non-acetone polish remover
Cons: the Gel Setter top coat is thick and requires more time to fully dry
This is a great option to get longer wear out of your current nail polish bottles without much of an investment.
These new(ish) polishes came out a little over a year ago and claim to provide 2 weeks of chip-free wear, without requiring a UV light or harsh removal process.
Pros: New brush design makes painting your own nails so much easier, dries in a reasonable amount of time, actually does provide 10-14 days of chip-free polish, removes cleanly with non-acetone polish remover.
Cons: More expensive than Essie’s standard nail polishes, It is a Two-Part System – it doesn’t work (as well) if you don’t use both Gel Couture colors (step 1) and Gel Couture top coat (step 2) together.
I didn’t try this system for a long time because I didn’t want to spend $11 each on a new color and new top coat, but oh man, am I glad I did! I LOVE the new brush design. It provides such a clean edge and cuts down on the amount of polish that ends up on my skin significantly. I can get a solid 10 days of wear every time (mostly because my nails grow out – not due to chips) and removal is the same as standard nail polishes – which makes this my hands-down choice for going on vacation.
Long wearing AND I can remove it easily with nail polish wipes if I chip one while traveling? Sold. Right now I’ve invested in the top coat, the bright color you see here (290 “Sit Me In The Front Row“) and a nude-pink color (10 “Sheer Fantasy“). I enjoy a dark wine/berry color in the fall and winter, though, so I’ll pick one up next time I’m out!
I also tried a regular Essie polish (“wicked“) with the Gel Couture top coat and got a full week of wear before it started looking ragged. So better than average, but not as good as when you use the Gel Couture color/base coat.
All in all, I give the Gel Couture polishes from Essie a “perfect ten!” (see what I did there??) Buying the color + top coat is less than getting a Gel mani in a salon and it lasts just as long. When you add in the sheer ease of removal?? For me, it’s my new go-to for polish!
Have you tried the Gel Couture polishes? What do you think??
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I found a color + top coat kit for you guys at a great price here!
Zoya Nail Polish Remover – gentle, non-acetone & award winning! I think I read about it in the O Magazine, so you know it’s good!