If you’re new ’round here, let me tell you one thing. I love essie. It’s the only nail polish I buy, because it’s the only nail polish I have consistently good results with. The bottles are adorable, they store nicely because they’re square, and the brushes are nice and wide and make it easy to paint one nail in 2–3 strokes.
I’ve been a bit disloyal to essie lately because I’ve discovered the beauty of the gel manicure. I’ve had a go with at-home gels before, with disappointing results, but a real gel manicure at a real salon is a real delight. I go to Ariana at Dollface Beauty Hub in Lower Hutt, and then I plaster my nails all over my Instagram story because I love how they look. (Gel nails have also allowed me to grow my nails to a reasonable length for the first time in years!)
The problem with gel manicures is that no matter how carefully they’re done, they can be a bit rough on your natural nails. Getting them on involves the manicurist lightly filing the surface of your nail so the gel sticks properly, and even when that’s done carefully, it’s inevitably weakening the structure of your nails.
I’m getting at something here, I promise: the new Essie Treat Love and Color range. It’s a combination nail strengthener and tinted coloured polish, designed to strengthen dry and brittle nails. It comes in a range of super stylish sheer shades, and I’ve been giving pearly pale pink shade Sheers to You* a whirl.
Giving your fingernails a break between manicures to “let them breathe” is a complete myth. Giving yourself a break between gel manicures because you get bored of the colour you chose is completely valid.
It takes me about two weeks to get bored of my gel manicures, but I’m not letting myself book appointments that regularly because I feel like it’s far too extra. If you do this, that’s fine and good, but I don’t want to fall into that expensive habit.
My most recent gel colour was a super subtle millennial pink, but I took it off after two weeks to give Treat Love and Color a go. (Pharmacies sell pure acetone so you can soak your gel nails off at home; all you need is cotton wool, foil and half an hour of a Harry Potter movie while you wait for it to work its magic.)
As you can see, my nails aren’t in too bad of a state, but they look a bit sad while they’re bare, and are also way more prone to breaking (or bending when they bump into things, which I HATE the sensation of).
Two coats of Treat Love and Color in Sheers to You and they look much nicer. The polish is sheer but (mostly) even after two coats and pleasantly pearlescent without being obnoxious (I hate metallic nails). It comes in a range of sheer shades: lavender, rose quartz, peach, pink, taupe and white. I’ve got my eye on Tonal Taupe next.
Frankly, even if the “strengthening” aspect of this line is a bit of fluff (it contains collagen and camellia extract), I like the polish for its ability to go on sheer and evenly in a way that I actually want to keep on my nails. Usually with sheer polishes I end up layering 4 or 5 coats until it’s opaque, only to squish and scrape them because they didn’t dry properly.
Plus, this is “all in one” so you don’t need to mess around with a base coat and top coat. Two coats and you’re done!
Treat Love and Color is available from Farmers for $24.99 a bottle.
How do you feel about sheer nail polish? What’s your favourite nail polish brand?