“To gel or not to gel” is an ever-popular question. Now that gel nail manicures are quickly becoming de rigueur; it’s the main thing many of us ask ourselves each time we step inside a nail salon for a manicure. Do we spring a little extra for the gel nail manicure? And, if so, what exactly does one get out of the splurge? Is it worth the extra cost? What will gel do for me?
There are many fabulous perks to choosing a gel nail color over traditional nail enamel and we, the nail experts at essie, are more than happy to share them with you. We’re also thrilled to introduce you to some new technology that’s making it easy to get the look and staying-power of gel nails at home.
SALON GEL MANICURES
Shorter drying time
As you know, there are at least four layers of product applied to any one traditional nail manicure; one layer of base coat, at least two layers of nail polish—possibly more layers if you’re getting nail art—and a top coat. Traditional nail enamel top coats are a clear layer of lacquer that is applied on top of nail polish to act as a protective barrier, adding a high gloss shine and protect against chipping. Formulated with resins and solvents, they’re designed to bond with polish. essie good to go top coat, for example, is a fast-drying, glossy formula that finishes off traditional manicures with a high-gloss shine. The only downside is waiting for your manicure to dry is like…watching paint dry. It only takes about 20 minutes for nails to feel dry to the touch, but it really takes up to three hours for nails to be fully dry—that means dry enough to dig into pockets or your purse without any fear of smearing or denting your manicure.
On the other hand (pardon the pun), the gel nail color process works a little differently—especially when it comes to dry time. It also depends on the type of gel manicure you get. There’s straight up gel nail polish (cured with lamp – see Gel nails 101) or gel-like nail polish (a long-wear enamel that air-dries – see 5 things to know about gel-like long-wear nail polish). Gel nail polish is usually applied in three steps, with a base coat, nail color and gel top coat. Now for the fast part! To dry, gel nails are cured under an (ultraviolet) UV nail lamp or light-emitting diode (LED) lamp—LED is the kind of curing process essie uses. Some UV gel brands require that you cure the color and top coat for 2 minutes per layer – essie•gel is only a 30 second LED cure for the color coat, and a 1-minute cure for the topcoat. LED lamps create a hard, crystalline gel finish in just a few minutes, leaving you valuable time for more pleasurable pursuits.
Longer, stronger wear
If you haven’t heard by now, gel nail polishes score huge points for their ability to wear longer and stronger than a traditional manicure. That’s because the base formula for gel nail polish colors is made of a photo-reactive ingredient system that cures with artificial light and creates a bond that’s more powerful than nail enamel. In fact, essie•gel nail color can last for as long as 14 days! Planning a two-week tour of Europe? Your essie•gel manicure in mademoiselle is a fashion passport that will really take you places. Going to walk barefoot on the beach? A gel pedicure in sand tropez resists chipping, even when your tootsies dig in while you stroll. And of course, if you’re investing in a professional nail art look, gel nail color can maximize your enjoyment by extending the durability of the design. Now, that’s a chic look that lasts.
There’s nothing quite like the intense jewel-like shine of gel nail polishes. The rich, glossy top coat encases color in a glassy shell that’s beyond dazzling. The ingenious formula keeps the top coat from dulling, so the glistening wet-look lasts and lasts. For those who really love the look of freshly-painted nails, it keeps on shining on–for a chic look that endures.
GEL-LIKE COLOR AT-HOME
essie offers a number of at-home gel-like nail color options, designed to bring the many benefits of a long-lasting gel nail manicure or pedicure to the comfort of your boudoir. The beauty of these formulas is that they that do not require a nail lamp to dry.
ESSIE GEL•SETTER is a new, easy-to-use top coat delivering a gel-like shine that lasts longer than a traditional top coat—but in a foolproof formula that doesn’t require an LED lamp to finish off the look. It provides a rich, protective coat and the very same, super shiny finish a salon gel manicure can provide. The best part: though it provides all the high gloss and shine of a gel, it can be used to top any one of your favorite 300 essie nail colors.
ESSIE GEL COUTURE is a super easy 2-step system that offers 42 of essie’s freshest couture nail polish shades, with all the streak-free color and instant shine you expect from essie. A gel-like formula, essie gel couture is the best of both worlds, featuring the staying power of a gel with the ease and at-home convenience of traditional nail polish.
The process is incredibly simple: after cleansing nails with polish remover, apply the chic essie gel couture shade that suits your mood (no base coat required!). Add a second coat for more saturated color. Protect and seal in color with essie’s cutting-edge, high gloss top coat. The cushy, ultra-glossy quick drying top coat has 14 days of brilliant color and rock-hard shine–no lamp required. It doesn’t get any easier than that!
They say that knowledge is power. Now you’re fully aware of the benefits of gel nail manicures, you’re free to decide exactly when, where and how to bring the wonder of gel into your life.
So where can I buy gel-like nail polishes? essie gel•setter and essie gel couture are available here. Happy polishing!
Gel Nail Polish FAQ's
your go-to guide for gel nail polish from your nail color besties at essieview detail
Gel Nail Polish vs. Traditional Nail Enamel
a go-to primer for nail polish loversview detail