Sunday, October 13, 2013

Essie Gel: Swatches and Review

Purchased by Me

I have been excitedly awaiting the Essie Gel since first learning of the pending release a few months ago.  I was a little surprised Essie decided to make their gel line a pro product.  Especially since many of the colors are based on their regular nail polish (rnp) colors that are available to the general public through  retail stores.  They are also much more expensive than their competitors, which also surprised me.  I expected a price point that would be competitive with OPI.  But that didn't stop me from getting a few to test out and compare to the rnp colors.

Essie Gel is advertised in industry magazines as LED cure and is supposed to have added nutrients to support healthy nails.  I don't know about the added nutrients, but the LED cure is questionable.  I tested it in my two LED lamps (Sensationail and Salon Edge).  It did not fully cure in either lamp.  A friend tested it in her Red Carpet Manicure LED lamp.  It did not cure fully in her lamp either.  In all three lamps, the color completely wiped off in spots before top coating.  I usually don't wipe the color coat before top coating, but I noticed a lot of color transfer on the top coat brush, which prompted me to test it.  Essie does make an LED lamp for their gel line, so it is completely possible that the formula requires a different frequency than most brands.  But for those of us who cross brands on a regular basis, Essie is a dud unless you want to purchase their lamp.  (Note:  I have not tested their lamp...I only assume it cures their gel.)

With that said, it did cure in my UV lamp.  However, there was a bit more color transfer than I am used to seeing with other brands after 2 minutes.  I ended up curing each layer for 3 minutes.

Application was tricky as well.  The brush in the gel line is the same brush they use in their regular polish bottles - a thin, round brush.  I usually like the thinner brushes, but I found this one difficult to work with.  Though I admit I may have just been annoyed by the LED issue.  Aside from the brush, coverage is ok.  There is a bit of shrink back on the first layer, but it seemed to correct itself with the 2nd and 3rd coats.


So, onto the swatches.  I have two colors to show you.  First up, Break a Sweat.  This is a dark, shimmery purple based off the popular rnp color, Sexy Divide.
Essie Gel

So, is Essie Gel Break a Sweat the same color as Sexy Divide?  Nope.  As you can see, it's similar but not exact.  The gel version is lighter. This is actually the one thing I think Essie did well with their gel release.  They marketed it as "based on" or "similar to" the original colors and gave them new names.  Smart. 
Essie Comparison
Please excuse my horrid rnp application.  I've been using gel for so long I have a hard time getting the right amount of polish on the brush.  :/

The second color I tested is Suggestive and Sultry.  It's a pretty light blue with a barely there shimmer.  This one is based off the popular Bikini So Teeny. 
Essie Gel

So, does this one match the rnp color?  Nope.  It's close, but slightly darker and muted compared to Bikini So Teeny.  Again, excuse my RNP application.
Essie Comparison

So, there you have it.  While the colors are nice, Essie failed to impress me.  I wanted to love the Essie Gel.  Especially after being so excited after seeing the announcement.  With the price point at around $17-$18 each, I expected it to blow my socks off.  Instead, I am grossly disappointed.  I won't be buying any more of their gel line.

Check back latter in the week for a few Cuccio and LeChat swatches.  :)

~Michelle


12 comments:

  1. I had the same problem with the "Mint Candy Apple" Essie gel. I noticed it didn't fully cure with 2 minutes in the UV lamp. I will try 3 minutes and hopefully that will work.

    I really wasn't impressed, either, and was totally excited for these to come out. A total bummer :-/

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  2. Love this!! Great blog my firend!!

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  3. I bought Dance Class and loved it! I'm a die hard Gelish girl (OPI failed to impress me). I cured in a UV lamp and each cured in just under two minutes. I had high hopes and wanted to buy more, but after your review I'm not sure! Your swatches are lovely!

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    1. Dance class is a lighter color, so that makes sense. If I didn't mind UV only and the prices were more competative, I might be willing to try a few more. But UV takes so long when you swatch as many colors in one sitting as I do. That, and it just didn't live up to the hype for me.

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  4. Essie is LED cured, I have their LED lamp, 30 second cure...

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    1. Good to know it does cure in their lamp. It does not cure in either of my LED lamps or other brands that have been tested by my readers. Essie claims that their lamp is 25% stronger than other lamps on the market, so I can only assume that their formula requires a different wave length than is provided by other brand lamps. It certainly does not play well with other brands, which is a negative in my opinion as I clearly like to cross brands and can not justify adding yet another lamp to my arsenal when I already have 3. :)

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  5. I bought the intro kit, and I was super excited to try the ESSIE gel polish, mainly because of there claims that it was better for the natural nail. I was very disappointed and NOT impressed either. I have had clients return with comments of chipping or peeling after only a couple of days. I have been using other gel polish products with no problems, so this was very frustrating. I really like your blog, thanks for sharing your experiences.

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  6. I have the whole collection of 36 colors and two lights, yes I LOVE essie but I've tested on several different people before trying on clients, I had to cure it at least 3 times with their light on 60 sec... It did not cure very well. The color transfer is horrible as well. I also tried other brands in their light and it doesn't cure properly either! Big disappointment especially when I LOVE the essie brand!

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  7. I taught i was going crazy..but i guess not..these ugly space marks you get when you wipe after the top coat has been applied is annoying and it is because the color is not curing..ESSIE you disappointed me...there top and basecoat cures with other brands though...its the color is the problem...how do i fix this?already wasted so much $$$..steupes..so pissed

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    Replies
    1. Have you tried contacting Essie directly?

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  8. You just saved me trying out colors - trying to add more turquoise to my collection. Thank you Michelle for all you do with your blog - it's so wonderful!

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  9. I bought six color gel when I travelled to US 2 months ago. I found it difficult to apply a even layer on my nails and it is hard to cure with my LED lamp. It cost around $15 each, which is expensive and it performs poorly, it does piss me off!! I hope I have read your blog post before I placed my order.......

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