Product Review: Essie Gel Couture Nail Polish

I consider myself a fairly low maintenance woman. I get my haircut on a semi-regular basis and visit the dentist twice a year, but other than that, I don’t have any regularly scheduled appointments. If I’m on vacation I will occasionally get a massage, but I never have anyone do my nails.

I’ve been doing my own pedicures for over twenty years but my fingernails, not so much. Polish lasts about 2 hours on them, if I’m lucky… so it’s not worth the effort.

Essie Gel Couture in Fairy Taylor

I take Biotin every day plus lots of calcium, but it’s not helped my nails. They’re just soft and weak.

I’ve never tried salon gel nails because I don’t want to expose my hands to the ultraviolet light used to set the product. Sure I could buy protective fingerless gloves but I also don’t want the gel sanded off, for touch ups.

Essie Gel Couture in Fairy Taylor
Essie Gel Couture in Fairy Taylor

I don’t expect to ever grow long, graceful fingernails, but it’s nice to wear a lovely pale color and expect it to stay on for more than an hour. Essie Gel Couture in Fairy Taylor

Last year I tried Sally Hanson Gel home version. It sounded like a great idea but the polish lasted less than 48 hours. Not a win to me.

Essie Gel Couture Nail Polish

Last month I spotted Essie Gel Couture at Target. It comes in many beautiful colors and is simple to apply. Two coats of color followed by their clear top coat.

Essie gel Couture top coat

No light, no special anything. Imagine my shock when it lasted 4 1/2 days! That’s worth it to me and so I bought a fabulous red for my toes. It removes with ordinary polish remover and a cotton ball.

If you have halfway decent nails you could probably get a week or more out of this nail polish. Give it a try and let me know what you think? You can find it at Target, CVS, Macy’s, Ulta, Nordstrom and many other places.

Thanks for reading and have a great day.

xo Jennifer





  1. julia krause says:

    Thank you for suggesting these polishes! I’m not the biggest of Essie, I just found the polishes too thin and too sheer and to easy to mess up. I’m more of an OPI fan. But your post made me try the Essie gel polish and top coat (I bought the shade “Good Nightie” which is a nude-pink with a bit of shimmer) and it was SO easy to apply, dried fast, and lasted ALL WEEK with no chipping or peeling and no wear on the edges, even though I type all day on the computer. I’m convinced! I would never have tried it if I hadn’t read your post. Essie should thank you!

  2. I have been going to the salon since the early 80’s, which is my only consistent pamper-me ritual. I love nail Polish and have many bottles that I need to discard. Great review and have fun with the new colors.

  3. I also have dry, weak nails. My go-to polish is Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure in Shall We Dance. I did regular manicures when I was working, and this would last a whole week. Now that I’m retired, I’ve gotten lazy about my manicures!

    1. My manicures are few and far between and always done at home, but it is nice to have pretty polish on sometimes.

  4. Thanks for sharing the # and name of the polish you used on your fingernails. What is the red you use for toenails? Thanks in advance!

    1. The red is called Bubbles Only. A clear classic sort of Red!

  5. I’m very impressed with the Essie Gel Couture line. I am fortunate to have “good nails” but my polish does chip rather quickly. This polish lasts beautifully for at least 8 days. I get bored and change my color once a week so I haven’t pushed it more than 8 days, but it’s definitely worth the extra cost to have a perfect manicure that lasts as long as I would want it to and the colors are beautiful! Just as an experiment, I tried the Essie Gel Couture over an Avon Gel color. Sadly, it did not last the way the Essie did. I was pleased at how easily it removed with regular polish remover also.

    1. I was pleasantly surprised by how easily the regular polish remover too it all off!

  6. I am one of those people who has to cut their nails. Working in a hospital I keep my nails short and oval shaped. I am blessed with long deep nail beds so short looks great on my hands. I agree with keeping hands out of water as the secret to strong nails. I have suffered with eczema on my hands for years so I always wear protective gloves, use moisturizer and own a dishwashe:) although a lot of readers don’t like having their nails ‘done’ it’s worth it to go at least once to a really good manicurist to learn a few tips and tricks for nail care. One I learned which might help your manicure last a bit longer is to always use a top coat and put another coat on every three or four days. It works! I just had a manicure last almost ten days! Very little chipping and it was regular polish not shellac. I love this new Essie product ( used Touch Up a pinky mauve) I have heard the Queen’s favourite nail colour is Essie’s Ballet Slipper, very similar to your colour.

    1. Great tips here, Allison, I do love Ballet Slippers. I can keep it on my toes, but not my fingers. I have to agree, I have found adding top coat frequently keeps polish unchipped longer. You are fortunate to have long nail beds. Mine are very short which makes my short nails look even shorter 🙁

  7. This looks interesting and I may try it for a special occasion. I love the Essie colors and envy people who can have ‘nice’ nails.

    Like you, I don’t do professional manicures. Every time I have in the past, my nails split and break badly for weeks after I remove the polish, and those weren’t even gels! But I have taken to wearing rubber gloves for water tasks at home (I’m hard on my hands!) and I also faithfully use Crabtree & Evelyn Cuticle cream and a rich hand lotion before bed and after washing my hands. It’s made a huge difference in my nails…to the point I have to file them down pretty often, which NEVER happened to me in the past.

    1. I know I should use rubber gloves around the house. I’m
      Pretty hard on them. Perhaps it’ll even help this polish stay on longer.

  8. I also don’t like to spend a lot of time on my nails, so if that polish lasts 4 days, I would love it. Do you remember the cost of the Essie polish at target?

    1. I think it was around $11 Walmart is probably cheaper for it.

  9. I’m glad to see your review. I wear Essie nail polish because of all the glorious colors they offer, and have looked at the gel, but didn’t know exactly how it would perform. Thanks to you I’m going to give it a whirl.

    1. Yay, let us know how it goes!

  10. For at least 15 years, at any given point, I would have 7 or 8 fingernails which split and peeled low into the nail bed. In 2014, my husband and I took a five week trip in Europe, during which I did very few dishes, and cleaned nothing. All my nails grew out, and ever since, I clip or file them when they get too long. It appears the trick is to never expose them to water unless you’re taking a shower. Or, always use rubber gloves. (Or, take a long trip…) My nails aren’t strong, but at least they no longer split or peel.

    1. The peeling drives me crazy! Obviously I need a nice long holiday 🙂

  11. I have always had problem with my fingernails with polish not lasting While in Las Vegas five years ago Incoco had a kiosk and applied French nail tips to my nails. They showed me how I could do it myself and I have worn them ever since. The tips last on me almost a month and the tips actually protect your nail tips. I must confess to a having pedicures as it looks better than I can do.

    1. Tips are so interesting. I just don’t want to damage my own nails.

  12. as usual perfect timing. I need something for my nails. I am off to Target to get this product as I have the same problem as you with my nails. Thank you!

  13. Have seen the Essie polishes in my local Meijer store and wondered if they were worth the money. May have to buy some to try… Have you taken silica with horsetail? I take it everyday (from Vitacost) and have noticed a huge improvement in my splitting nails. I had to cut my nails this week because they were too long to do housework. I’ve always admired ladies with graceful hands with lovely, well-groomed nails.

    1. WOW! “Had to cut them”, never enters my worries. I haven’t taken it but will get some now. Thank you for mentioning it.

  14. You might try Avon’s gel polish. They also offer a clear top coat for protection against chips. Mine usually lasts about a week. I have been very pleased with the results. Have a great weekend!

  15. What color is that polish please?

    1. Sorry, I meant to add it. It’s called Fairy Taylor. Pretty neutral.

  16. Jennifer when you do your nails make sure you wash them first then put a base coat down before you use the polish ,then use a top coat.

    1. Great advice Angie!

  17. So how do you remove it? I thought gel was hard to remove…needed special stuff. True?

    1. Regular polish remover takes it off. Easily.

  18. Beverly Norris says:

    I am like you. Very low maintenance. I do my own pedicures but not manicures because they never last! I may give this a try for my pedicures and maybe manicures for a special occasion. Thank you for the info!

  19. Jennifer, my routine is spot on to yours. I have my regular hair appointment, dental, and yearly physical, but nails and eyelashes I do myself. I have super strong healthy nails (yes, I’m lucky) but I’m not about to ruin them with the awful chemicals plus I hate knowing I have to go to go to a salon. I’ve gotten use to just having plain (nicely manicured) nails due to the same problem, the polish lasts less than the effort it took to paint them. I’m a much too hands on kind of gal (cleaning, playing in the dirt, etc). But then I spotted this exact polish and . . . To my surprise it actually stayed on, just as you said for a good four days! I can now look like every one else (once in awhile).

    1. Exactly!! For special occasions I can dress up a bit with some pretty polish!!

  20. Totally on the same page as you re never having had a pro manicure/pedicure (even the phrase mani-pedi makes me cringe, lol). Friends tell me I don’t know what I’m missing; oh well. I like Essie colors and the names of their polishes are so clever. Last year I discovered Sophi nail polish via Instagram and am crazy about it because it has no odor – seriously! – and is water-based, yet lasts just as long as regular polish.

    1. I love the idea of water based polish! The chemicals they use are pretty scary…I’ll have a look for Sophi, Thanks Ann.

  21. Many salons ( and home kits) use LED lights now instead of UV, but still… nails can’t take the removal process of a Gel manicure.

    1. Good to know! See, I am not a salon kind of gal. I don’t even know the latest 🙂

  22. I’m glad to hear I’m not the only one who doesn’t get their nails done! Thanks for sharing. I bought a bottle of Aila a couple of weeks ago and need to try it.

    1. I love, love Aila too. It stays on really well too.

  23. Jane Burkhart says:

    Hi Jennifer! After having acrylic nails for several months my nails were in bad shape when I had the acrylics removed. A friend recommended Nail Tek to get my nails back in shape so I tried it. Great stuff for weak nails! I use it every week when I do my nails and no longer have the peeling, splitting, too soft issues I had previously (which I had prior to the acrylics). Really worth a try. You can get it at Ulta, but it’s much cheaper to order it online from WalMart or Amazon. They have several different formulas to address different nail problems. If you decide to try it I hope it works as well for you as it has for me. Thanks for the Essie review!

    1. Thanks for the suggestion, Jane! I’ve never heard of Nail Tek. I have to give it a try now.

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