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.
You’d think that the concepts of gel polish and ‘easy-peel’ are mutually exclusive, but I’ve learned not to be surprised by anything in beauty anymore. Gelicious contacted me about trying their peel-off gel polish a few months ago, and I finally got around to trying it out. It takes a lot to convince me to abandon my Essie polish, you see, especially if the alternative process involved fussing with base coats and top coats and UV lights and alcohol wipes. But fuss I did, with the Gelicious Gel Nail Starter Kit*.
My love for Essie nail polish is serious business, and it takes a lot to sway my loyalty. It’s safe to say, though, that when I was picked for a trial team on Beauty Review to try Essie Wicked vs Chanel Rouge Noir, I was well intrigued and ready to give it a go. Less because I would get to try my first Chanel nail polish, and more because I knew that Essie could hold up in the fight.
You all know by now that essie is my favourite nail brand, some percent due to it being, you know, actually good, and the rest because nail polish bottles of all shapes and sizes stress me out a little bit. Square essie bottles are simple and practical, and the brush is nice and flat and wide, and (with a few exceptions) the polish is really good quality and stays around for ages. I’d almost say essie didn’t need to launch a gel-like top coat, but they did it, with Gel Setter* available now, and it’s bloody great.
If I were the type of person to be embarrassed about how much nail polish I own, I would say I have an embarrassingly large nail polish collection; as it happens, despite adding to it frequently, I never quite feel I have enough colours. It does mean I often reach for bottles on the essie stand at work only to realise that I already own them. Luckily for you, though, this means I have a brand new bottle of Sand Tropez as well as a new Gel Setter to give away!
It’s very easy, when you’re feeling lazy, to just throw on one coat of nail polish and call it a day. It’s particularly easy to do this when it’s cold as hell in your house and you want to limit the length of time your fingers are motionless and unable to be crammed into mittens. I’m learning my lesson here though, as lazy manicures make for faster chips and flaky tips. Here are some good things to help rectify this.