Tips and Tricks for A No Chip Gel and Gel-like Manicure

  • Tips and Tricks for A No Chip Gel and Gel-like Manicure | essie gel articles


Whether you’re having essie•gel nail polish applied at the salon or going DIY with essie gel couture, the long-wearing gel-like polish creates the look of gel nails at home. Here are some essential nail tips to maximize wear and minimize chips. Understanding the similarities and differences between gel nail color and essie gel couture are essential to getting the most from your mani.

From start to finish, essie makes sure every step in the process is destined to achieve nail color greatness.

Hydrate, don’t soak
When you want to keep your manicure looking great, skip the water bath and start with essie apricot cuticle oil instead. Soaking your nails in water or a water-based manicure bath causes nail plates to expand and become waterlogged, so gel and gel-like nail polish will not adhere properly. Just ask your manicurist for a waterless manicure.

If you’re going for the look of gel nails at home, a waterless manicure is a great way to prep nails for essie gel couture. To keep nails and cuticles looking their best, apply a few drops of essie apricot cuticle oil post-manicure, too.

Shape up
A little nail shaping can make a big difference. When you wear your nails longer and prefer square or stiletto nails (with an edgy point), those shapes can create more opportunities for chipping¬ as you go about your day. To reduce chips, curves tend to fare better than corners and points. Ask your manicurist for the “roval”—the round-oval shape we love for its simplicity.

When shaping your own nails at home, make sure nails are dry and file the nail with the natural arc of the fingertip.

To Buff, or not to buff
That puffy buffer tool sure is fun to use, but a quick buff is all you need at the salon before your manicurist applies essie•gel nail color. Over-buffing can thin nails, which may lead to splits. So, a light touch is all that’s needed.

When you’re using essie gel couture at home, we recommend that you don’t buff your nails before application. essie gel couture is formulated to securely bond without buffing, speeding you through application.

Clean plate club
That moment when the manicurist uses alcohol-based cleanser to remove impurities from the nail plate before laying down gel polish? Seems like not such a big deal, right? Well, actually it is. This step is crucial. The remover banishes the oils that keep polish (gel nail color or otherwise) from adhering. It’s super important.

When doing your nails at home with essie gel couture, don’t skip this one. It’s big. Use a little nail polish remover on a lint-free cotton pad and rub straight down the nail bed from cuticle to tip.


Go small
Getting just the right amount of nail polish on the brush takes a little practice and a lot of patience. It’s all about creating the perfect bead at the tip of the brush. Too little results in a streaky application. Too much and the manicurist creates a puddle down the side of your nail. The perfect application ensures smooth, beautiful wear.

When you’re doing your own nails at home, try practicing your form a few times before beginning the manicure in earnest. Each coat should be applied the same way, with three brush strokes: one stroke down the center of the nail, followed by one stroke to the left and the right.

First: base
Gel nail polish should be applied with a base coat which helps the gel nail color make a secure bond. When using essie gel base coat, your manicurist will lay down an even application, then cure under the essie LED lamp for 30 seconds.

essie highly recommends always using a base coat except when using essie gel couture. essie gel couture is formulated for use without a base coat. Applied directly to the natural nail, it adheres to perfection! With a flawless, air-dried finish it speeds the mani-pedi process and delivers smooth coverage, too.

Wrap it up
If you’re having your nails done at the salon, your manicurist will cap the free edge or nail tip with polish on every coat.

If you’re doing your own nails and aren’t sure how it’s done, it’s just a matter of tapping the brush along the edge of the nail. Practice this skill with a dark-colored traditional nail enamel or essie gel couture – that way, you can see what you’re doing, and the polish cleans up easily with a swipe of remover.

Dry like pinot grigio
If you’re having a gel polish manicure done at the salon, each coat cures under the LED lamp before the next is applied. That means the moment your mani is finished, your nails are completely dry.

essie gel couture doesn’t require a nail lamp. This gel-like formula was designed to air-dry––simply wait for 2 minutes between coats to allow each layer to dry completely. Fortunately, with essie gel couture you only apply 3 coats instead of 4 (no base coat!), so your dry-time is even faster.

Re: touch ups
essie•gel manicures typically last 14 days. For best results, we don’t recommend trying to touch it up or fill it in between salon visits—gel polish isn’t designed for that! Once your gel polish look has reached the two-week mark, we recommend you head to your favorite manicurist for removal, and treat yourself to a brand new nail color.

If your essie gel couture (or traditional enamel topcoat) takes on a lackluster appearance, simply touch it up with a fresh coat. When applying, it’s best to do it in light, smooth strokes. All essie brushes are designed to make application super-easy, so it’s a snap to touch up your topcoat and keep your mani looking freshly-painted.

Oil change
Post-manicure, keep cuticles smooth and hydrated with your new favorite nail product, essie apricot cuticle oil. Whether you’re wearing salon-applied essie•gel nail color or did your own nails with essie gel couture, we recommend using essie apricot cuticle oil whenever you feel you need a little extra moisture. You can put it under the free edge of the nail, and it’ll also keep the skin around your nails looking beautifully smooth and healthy.

Congrats! Now that you’ve mastered these nail tips, you’re well on your way to having the best-ever mani experience.

Discover more nail tips and tutorials here. Intrigued by essie gel couture? Find it here.

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