Essie Gel Couture-Review + Swatches


Essie Gel Couture-Review + Swatches

Okay…… I’ve been raving about these all over my Instagram and Snapchat, now it’s time for some swatches and a review. 

I have a thing for Essie polishes…. they usually have an amazing formula, are long-lasting and come in an amazing range of colors.

Essie Gel Couture Collection* promises to provide up to 14 days of no-chip color, professional salon mincure look with gel-like shine, without the need to use UV/LED lamps. Here’s what Essie says about the Gel Couture Collection:

Pure color pigment technology. Rich, streak-free color. No base coat required. Patented swirl stem brush. Gel top coat protects color and magnifies shine, gives ultra-glossy finish. hatter-proof, hard shell technology extends wear and prevents chipping. Four families linked to key moments in couture:

  • The Atelier: embodied by the neutrals (whims & pins)
  • The Backstage: embodied by the pastels (preview peek)
  • The Runway: embodied by the brights (runway reveal)
  • The After Party: embodied by the deeps (after the after party)
What I love:

-first thing I noticed (other than beautiful packaging and a fun bottle, duh) is the brush. The shape is absolutely perfect and makes the application SO easy and flawless.
-the colors are absolutely stunning and every pigmented (except for sheer formulas)
-love that there’s no need for a base coat
-the finish is very glossy
-the formula dries quickly
-these are VERY very long-lasting. I have experienced chipping with only one of these shades: Signature Smile. They last for over a week on my nails (that’s with me constantly working on a computer, cooking + house work)

What I don’t love:

-it’s so hard for me to think of anything I don’t like about these. I think that one thing that’s a bit annoying is that darker colors tend to bleed A LOT when removing them. This is true for a lot of dark shades thought, not just from this collection.
-you have to remember to be very precise while applying the top coat. Apply too much and touch your cuticles, and the top coat will collect under your cuticles and won’t look too pretty as the nail is growing out.

Okay, this Essie Gel Couture system is a two-step process. You use a color + a gel top coat and let it dry. That’s it. Your nails will probably won’t feel like they do when wearing “regular” gel polish (meaning they won’t feel as “hard”) but they will sure look it! The top coat gives the nails a very pretty, glossy finish that stays shiny until you remove it. I don’t usually wear a nail polish for this long, but I’m sure these would last 14 days on me, as promised. While testing these, I wore them for about 8-9 days- I removed the color after a little bit over a week, because my nails grow quite quickly.

You don’t need to use a base coat with these, but as with any nail polish application, start with clean nails and make sure to remove any dirt and oil prior to application.


Essie Gel Couture: Sheer Fantasy from the Atelier Collection. Wearing 3 coats here. It’s a stunning sheer pink- perfect if you prefer more natural-looking nails.

Essie-Gel-Couture-Pre-Show-JittersEssie Gel Couture: Pre-Show Jitters from the First Look Collection. This alabaster white is definitely one of my favorites- it’s smooth, creamy and non-streaky.

Essie-gel-Couture-Touch-UpEssie Gel Couture: Touch Up from the Atelier Collection. Beautiful, delicate and soft mauve.

Essie-gel-Couture-Take-Me-to-ThreadEssie Gel Couture: Take Me to Thread from the Atelier Collection. A creamy, taupe that will be perfect for Fall.

Essie-gel-couture-Beauty-NapEssie Gel Couture: Beauty Nap from the First Look Collection. Pretty, gray-moss, looks more minty in direct daylight.

Essie-Gel-Couture-Signature-SmileEssie Gel Couture: Signature Smile from the Fashion Show Collection. Sharp, bright pink. This is the only shade where I experienced some chipping.

Essie-Gel-Couture-FlashedEssie Gel Couture: Flashed from the Fashion Show Collection. Bold, bright orange-red, probably one of the most flattering red polishes I’ve ever tried.


Essie Gel Couture: Model Clicks from the After Party Collection. Gorgeous, deep wine color that’s very sophisticated. This was one of the shades that bled quite a lot while removing it; still, very stunning.


Essie Gel Couture: Hang Up The Heels from the After Party Collection. First thing that comes to mind? Slytherin. Black mixed with a ton of stunning, jade shimmer.


Essie Gel Couture: Turn N’ Pose from the Fashion Show Collection. Bold, deep plum that will also be perfect for Fall.

essie-gel-couture-brushHave you guys tried these yet? I’m definitely obsessed!

*this post contains PR samples

  • Christine C.

    Gorgeous shades! I’ve been curious about these! I’ll have to pick up a couple to give them a try.

  • I was really excited to try these, but haven’t picked them up yet since I’ve read such mixed reviews! Some people say they last for ages and some that they chip on the first day.. But the shades are gorgeous so I might just have to try for myself! xx

    • I think it’s all about the application. You have to work with thin coats and make sure your nails are bare and clean. I saw a few reviews where people used both a base coat and a different top coat- it just isn’t going to work as well as the top coat that comes in the set.

  • I’ve been seeing this new Essie collection everywhere and I definitely need to get my hands on a couple of shades, especially Touch Up, Take Me To Thread and Model Clicks. I also love the new bottle design, so pretty x

    Beauty with charm

  • Flashes looks so pretty! Not a fan of the shape of the bottles though.

  • I haven’t had a chance to check out the new collection yet! After party collection would be perfect for upcoming seasons. Most of the dark colours I tried tend to bleed a lot, so it wouldn’t be a problem :) Also how adorable the bottles look!

    Ela BellaWorld

  • I have one shade and the top coat and I am quite impressed, although I do get tiny chips around day 5. But I will certainly try other shades as the formula and the brush are fantastic! x

    PS. you listed two of the shades, red and pink, as Flushed, probably a mistake :)

    Mummy’s Beauty Corner

  • I have this sort of shade of Beauty Nap on my nails now (although not Essie) and I must admit, it is such a great colour to run around with :) Everyone keeps pointing it out!

  • I am in love with this line! I will say for me and my constant hand washing at work I get about a week out of the mani but that is so much better than any other polishes I’ve tried.

  • Kate

    Ah I love Essie! Haven’t tried this range though. I love every shade! Model Clicks is particularly droolworthy. x

    Kate Louise Blogs

  • You sold me on these. Just because you mentioned Slytherin LOL There’s just something in my head that, as a Slytherin, makes me need all things Slytherin-related. And those deep colors are SO beautiful!! I’ve been so super lazy with painting my nails lately that this would probably benefit me. I will have to check these out!! Thanks for sharing!

  • Ashlee Elizabeth

    That dark green is gorgeous! I have been walking past these polishes for the past week, but I have not really hard anything about them. Thanks for this post, I will have to try some shades out next time I go to Target!

    Ashlee Liz

  • I love the shade Beauty Nap, it’s so pretty and unique! x

  • I really want to try some of these, Essie do my favourite nail polishes! I love the colour Touch Up x

  • Wonderful lacquer! I love it.

  • Liv

    Can’t wait to check out this collection.


  • These look so gorgeous! Taking photos of all those swatches must have taken ages – you have such beautiful nails! :)
    Ambar x

  • I love Essie polishes! These shades look really pretty! Touch Up really caught my eye! :)

    Nicole | In The Life of NM

  • Rebecca Fletcher

    These sound fabulous! I love all of these shades and the bottle is so pretty.

  • Love the first color! It’s gorgeous.
    I’m not sure how I feel about the new bottles, though. But beautiful colors.

  • The Sunday Mode

    No base coat? That makes me like these already. I love that jade green shade as well, you hit the nail on the head- it’s so Slytherin! ;)

  • Toya Ammon

    Love ALL the polishes on your nails!!

  • These are my favorite!! I love the color “zip me up”. :)
    Brooke |

  • I have heard only amazing things about these polishes and I am definitely going to stock up soon! xx


  • All these colours are gorgeous! I keep seeing these polishes being blogged about and it makes me want to go out and buy them all!

    Gemma Louise

  • Take Me to Thread and Touch Up are stunning! I’ve seen so many amazing reviews of the polishes and I can’t wait to try them. I love gel polishes because I’m so brutal with my hands and getting my polish to stay chip free is almost impossible.
    xx Dany | The Queens Empire

  • Oh wow these look perfect, i practically am in love with every Essie shade there is but combined with a gel formula, this is my perfect polish x

  • All of these are so nice, touchup reminds me of a colour I already have from essie haha!

    Kathy x

  • Samileen

    Alright, I’d admit I didn’t like the shades in the bottle as much as I love them your nails. Such pretty shades all of them.

    Sam || Beautydetour

  • Oh I LOVE that these don’t need a base coat! I have a great diy-at-home gel system but it has a base coat step and definitely takes a lot longer than this system would. Love the Models Click and Touch Up shades for fall :) You’ve convinced me. I need to try a couple of these (thank goodness I just got a 20% off ulta coupon lol).

  • I have a couple of these On The List and Signature Smile and I love them, On The List lasted 13 days but it badly stains my nails, they were very badly stained but it is a beautiful shade and looks so nice, I haven’t tried Signature Smile yet but can’t wait to use it as it’s such a pretty pink, I definitely want to pick some more colours up for autumn/winter xx

    Zoe ♥ MammafulZo