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Essie Gel Couture Review: A Perfect Dupe for Gel Manicures?

Last Updated: April 26, 2022

You’ve probably seen or heard about Essie’s new Gel Couture line. However, could it really be the solution to pricey gel manicures and chipped DIY polish? Read our unsponsored Essie Gel Couture review below to find out. 

Gel manicures have become the norm when it comes to the polish type used when getting your nails done. A sleek gel manicure is sure to make anyone feel both confident and put-together. 

However, professional gel manicures can cost upwards of $60. On the other hand, no one wants to deal with the seemingly immediate chipping of normal nail polish. So, what’s the in-between?

Enter Essie Gel Couture, the at-home gel polish. This cheap, chip-resistant polish seems like the perfect solution. But, is it too good to be true?

If you want to know whether the product really works, keep reading our unsponsored Essie Gel Couture review below. 

RELATED: 14 Best Gel Nail Polish for Unchippable Manicures

What is Essie Gel Couture?

📷 IG @essie

Essie began back in 1981 and has become one of the largest leading nail polish companies in the world. Named after its founder, Essie Weingarten, the brand aimed to “make women feel special and give them the perfect manicure”. 

The company has grown into an influential nail care brand with customers ranging from celebrities, to nail salons, to us shopping at Target. 

Essie Gel Couture is a line of gel-like polishes that were introduced in 2016, so fairly recently. The line from Essie sought to mimic a classy gel manicure in an easy, affordable way. It was heavily inspired by haute couture, hence the name. The product has done extremely well and we can’t wait to give you all the details. 

Gel Couture Overview: How Does it Work?

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The most shocking thing about this polish is that it requires no base coat or UV light. This is surprising because UV lights are the key factor in curing any gel polish. That’s what gives the polish its longevity and un-chippable formula. 

So, how is Gel Couture different? The answer is quite simple: it’s not truly a gel polish. Instead, it’s a gel-like formula that simulates the effects of a true gel manicure. While it obviously won’t completely compare to a real gel manicure, the final look is just as sleek. 

Essie Gel Couture couldn’t be easier to use, including only two steps. The first step is applying 2 coats of your chosen color. The second step is what most customers believe is the true star of the show, the topcoat. 

And that’s it, the whole process. These 2 steps aim to provide chip and fade resistance, with salon-quality and wear

Essie Gel Couture Review

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Overall: ★★★★ 4 Stars

Overall, Essie Gel Couture gives an excellent gel-like finish and offers an easy alternative to going to the salon. Essie itself is a great brand when it comes to nail care and polish. 

Price: ★★★★ 4 Stars
The polish is around $12, but you also have to purchase the $12 top coat separately. It’s much cheaper than a professional manicure, but some say it seems a little pricey for a gel-effect polish. 

Selection: ★★★★★ 5 Stars
Essie Gel Couture offers a huge variety of polish colors. 

Longevity: ★★★★ 4 Stars

The longevity of the polish really depends on what you’re comparing it to. Compared to a real gel manicure, the longevity is quite short. 

However, compared to regular nail polish, customers have had great longevity. It can stay for over 2 weeks

Essie Gel Couture Review

4.3 stars out of 1030 reviews

This gel-effect polish from Essie works in 2 simple steps. The line offers hundreds of different shades of high-adherence nail color. 

On top of the color goes the signature top coat. With hard-shell technology, the topcoat provides a shatter-proof protector for the color. 

Essie Gel Couture creates an ultra-glossy finish that looks like gel, but removes like normal polish

Customers love how quick and simple the process is, as well as the beautiful gel-like finish. Other customers noticed no real difference between Gel Couture and regular Essie polish. However, the majority of reviews are positive, stating that Essie Gel Couture is gorgeous and long-lasting

What Customers Are Saying

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We searched through real customer reviews on the web, as well as on social sites like Reddit. We found the most frequent customer feedback for this brand. Overall, most customers say:  

  • Works better than regular nail polish
  • Is hit or miss; people either love it or hate it
  • The top coat is the better product to invest in
  • The marketing can be misleading (as it is not real gel)
  • Finished look of a real gel manicure
  • Can stay on for up to 2 weeks

Let’s see how Essie’s Gel Couture holds up at other retailers. Here are the ratings:

Essie Gel Couture FAQ’s

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Where can you buy Essie Gel Couture?

You can find Essie Gel Couture at most major drugstores, as well as beauty supply stores like Sally Beauty. 

Essie will also connect you to an outside supplier through their website, rather than sell directly from their site. 

How long does the polish last?

The results for longevity are mixed, but it typically lasts somewhere between a few days to a week.

However, depending on your activities and other factors, it can stay longer than 2 weeks. 

Is Essie Gel Couture really a gel manicure?

It is not a real gel manicure; it is a gel-like formula with effects simulating real gel. 

In Summary: Did They Nail It?

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So, is Essie Gel Couture the perfect dupe for gel manicures? The jury’s still out on the whole “perfect dupe” thing, but we do think it’s worth trying. Most negative customer reviews focus on the product failing to meet its promises of being long-lasting. 

However, when you keep in mind that the product isn’t actually real gel polish, the performance is impressive.  Essie Gel Couture is perfect for those who love the look of a gel manicure for way cheaper, and are alright sacrificing some of the longevity. If you’re looking for a longer-lasting regular polish, this is also a great option. The reviews say that the product, while not being a gel, still performs much better than regular polish

If you can only invest in one polish, we recommend purchasing the topcoat. This polish has actually had great success on all different polish colors and brands, so it’s super versatile. It has high ratings when it comes to the best topcoat; even if the longevity ends up disappointing, you’ll still have the perfect top coat to give any polish a glossy gel-like finish

Brands Like Essie Gel Couture

  1. Sally Hansen Miracle Gel
  2. O.P.I Gel Polish
  3. Wet n Wild 1 Step Wonder Gel

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