Essie Gel Couture is a brand, spankin' new line of nail polish. It features a new twirly bottle, a new twirly-stemmed paddle brush, and a two-step formula that encompasses base+colour and a crazy-shiny top coat. Essie says you can get up to 14 days of wear, but as always, that depends on your nails and how much/how hard you use your hands.
Pigments here have been specially formulated to help avoid staining. For people with porous nails prone to staining, I recommend a base coat, especially with the deeper After Party shades.
Janine and I sat down with Rita Remark, Essie's Global Lead Educator, to talk about the new formula and new brush. We also highlighted some of the best application tips that make all the difference in how good your manicure looks. Our chat is in video form for you right here:
Now for the Essie Gel Couture swatches! For ease of perusal, I've separated them by collection and put them in alphabetical order. Each swatch is followed by the shade description Essie gave me and, unless specifically stated, all swatches are two coats with no top. Top gives me tooooo much shine (I know, right?) for photos and the shade gets lost.
essie gel couture atelier swatches
Essie Fairy Tailor – sheer nude pink (above).
Essie First View – baby cashmere blue (above). Two coats to stealth shimmer perfection! She's got a satin finish so you'll want to top coat. You'll want to top coat all these shades. The top has a smashing shine and adds serious longevity to your mani.
Essie Make the Cut – pearlized nude greige (above).
Essie Pearls of Wisdom – lustrous mulberry pearl (above). Shake this puppy up really well to distribute the black pigment evenly and avoid streaks in your pretty polish job.
Essie Pinned Up – spicy tea rose (above).
Essie Sew Me – cream caramel rose (above).
Essie Sheer Fantasy – graceful sheer pink (above).
Essie Spool Me Over – creamy apricot pink (above). Three coats.
Essie Stitch by Stitch – ladylike pink (above).
Essie Take Me To Thread – plush taupe (above).
Essie Touch Up – softest mauve pink (above).
Essie Twill Seeker – enchanting pewter with sage lustre (above). Your first coat will get you to the bottle shade. The second coat will get you a shade darker than the bottle. Me? Two. Two wears better.
essie gel couture first look swatches
Essie Beauty Nap – dreamy grey moss (above).
Essie Couture Curator – appraising coral pêche (above). Three thin coats for patchy cover-up.
Essie Dress Call – charming orchid crème (above).
Essie Haute to Trot – handcrafted lavender rose (above).
Essie Pre-Show Jitters – alabaster white (above). Three coats to a barely-blush white. You can get away with two, but three gets you to 100% opaque.
Essie Zip Me Up – slinky satin mint (above). Two coats to a super stealth-shimmer satin matte finish.
essie gel couture fashion show swatches
Essie Flashed – poppy electric vermillion (above).
Essie Beauty Marked – striking statement crimson (above). Normally, no swatcher in their right mind gets this close to cuticles or sidewalls when using a shade like this, but look how close I went! Look at the control this brush gives me! Amaze!
Essie Labels Only – lavish frosted sapphire (above). Two splendidly easy coats that you’ll want to top coat on account of the satin finish.
Essie Looks to Thrill – light and vibrant amber-melon crème (above).
Essie Model Citizen – flawless light deep pink (above).
Essie On The List – prolific tangerine coral (above).
Essie Rock the Runway – fierce scarlet red (above).
Essie Signature Smile – sharp fiery rosé (above). My notes here say “two stoopid-easy coats.” Ha!
Essie Sit Me In the Front Row – distinguished juicy raspberry (above).
Essie Style in Excess – opulent icy slate grey (above).
Essie Take a Walk – vigorous lime chartreuse (above). Three coats for a level finish.
Essie The It-Factor – fascinating bright fuchsia (above).
essie gel couture after party swatches
Essie Bubbles Only – classic burgundy crème (above).
Essie Caviar Bar – magnificent deep navy (above). She’s a migrator, so don’t load your brush and start higher on the nail than you think. Also, you really gotta watch your cuticles and side walls here. I tested it for you so I know. Trust me.
Essie Drop the Gown – forward ruby red (above).
Essie Find Me a Man-nequin – magnetic ultramarine blue (above). She leans almost dusky grape and she's one of my faves!
Essie Gala-vanting – jovial marooned red (above). You can get perfect coverage in one coat, but not perfect opacity so do two coats, k?
Essie Hang Up the Heels – jet black accessorized with jade shimmer (above).
Essie Model Clicks – fashionable aubergine wine (above). The consistency here is thin, so you’ll need three coats for perfect coverage
Essie Off-Duty Style – deep dusty teal (above). OCW!!! Also, she’ll stain you. Watch out when you remove or you’ll end up with the dreaded blueticles. No twist-off removing. No.
Essie Spiked with Style – edgy deep blood red (above). Again, you’ll need three coats for full coverage. With two, you’ll still be slightly patchy.
Essie Surrounded by Studs – bejewelled blue (above).
Essie Turn 'n' Pose – dramatic deep plum (above).
Wrap Party – inky & mysterious midnight green (above).
Whew! That was a mind-boggling amount of shades, right? And yes, much of it resembles the range of Essie colours we've come to love. It's important to note that many of these shades dry down a touch darker than they appear from looking at the bottles. I'm not sure if that has anything to do with the thickness of the glass but there you are.
Are any of the Gel Couture shades dupes for current Essie shades in the non-swirl bottles with the skinny brush? Dunno and don't care. If I can have this "Yessie" brush, this formula, and this top coat, then for me, there's no comparison to make. I'd rather buy a perfect product than hunt around for a dupe with an inferior brush and/or formula.
Please enjoy the Essie Gel Couture shade chart below – it's massive! Essie Gel Couture launches on June 14th and will retail for $13.99 CAd at salons and Essie retailers. (In the US, $11.50; in the UK, £7.50.)
Oh! Before you go, we should talk about the top coat. It's in an opaque white bottle (you can see Rita using it on me in the video). The wand in there isn't twirly-stemmed but the brush is paddle-shaped for easy spread and application. The top coat isn't thin but also isn't quite as thick as your bottle of Gel Setter. It's sort of right in between the two. It's quick dry and gives huge shine with a touch of extra wear time. There are also no UV sensitive ingredients in there so you can use it in full sun and not have to worry about it hardening on your brush.
*I've seen a bunch of comments floating around about how people think these bottles won't line up for storage...
That's just one of my many Essie drawers. I took some bottles out and added the Gel Couture in front so you can see how they fit in a Helmer. You lose a little space down the side and can only fit 7 across instead of 8, but they all line up nice and tidy. Happy news, right?
So? Whaddya think? You gonna get some? Any shades crooking a finger at you? If yes, you can find 'em all online from Amazon.com and TradeSecrets.ca as of right, right now! In Canada, Sparkle Canada has stock too and at the time of this update, they're $8.91 CAD a bottle - that's a very nice price. For more information, visit Essie.ca or just holler at me in the comments. Chat soon, pretties!