Wednesday, June 03, 2015

Essence The Gel Nail Polish Review

essence serendipity

Long lasting, gel shine manicure systems are one of the huge nail polish trends for 2015. Most major nail polish brands have come out with their own "gel polish" sets. I have already tried the Sally Hansen Miracle Gel version (I still owe you a thorough review, but I am not a fan), the Revlon Colorstay Gel Envy, Models Own HyperGel and I recently purchased the OPI Infinite Shine set. Some of these have the base coat built into the color nail polish (Sally Hansen and China Glaze Everglaze), others offer a special base coat to use with the polish (OPI and Essence), but all the sets have a special top coat. Unlike traditional gel manicures you get at the salon, the components do not need a UV light to cure. 
The two German drugstore brands Catrice and Essence have come out with their version of a gel like manicure system in the beginning of the year. Since none of the kits I have tried so far impressed me, I was curious to see how the super affordable version from Essence would live up to its claims.

Essence nail polishes aren't exactly known for their wear time. I own quite some of their polishes with the old formulation and they usually chip within 48 hours. The new The Gel Nail Polish does not claim to wear for a certain number of days, but promises "60% better lastingness" (compared to wear without base and top coat). How long it wears exactly will depend on your body chemistry and how you treat your nails. Now let us review the whole system from start to finish.


When I opened the bottle with the base coat, I was surprised about the texture of the product. It is clear, but with a quite dry formula. It is like jello or hair gel, really weird. The base coat dries super fast, which makes it hard to apply evenly. I ended up with some bumps, because the base coat dried before I could distribute it evenly. It dries to a matte, waxy, rubbery finish, similar to Orly Bonder, only the Essence base coat is much thicker. I find it a bit irritating that the sticker on the cap of the base coat says "extreme shine", because it is not shiny whatsoever.


As my color I chose 37 Serendipity, a dusty lavender color with a creme finish. The polish was decently pigmented and I only needed two thin coats to obtain full coverage. The formula is good, easy to work with and levels out nicely.

The top coat comes in a silver bottle, probably to prevent exposure to UV light and premature curying (or why are all the gel like top coats in opaque bottles?). It has a very liquid texture and it reminds me a lot of the discontinued Essence Better Than Gel Nails top sealer. While the old top sealer shrinked on me, the new Gel top coat dries without any shrinkage. It dries fast and really shiny, thumbs up for that! But does the manicure stay shiny? Let's have a look.



I have to say, the Essence Gel Nail Polish in Serendipity held up very well. After four days of wear there was only very minimal tip wear, but no cracks or chips - AT ALL! There was some growth at the cuticle and it wasn't quite as shiny as on day 1, but other than that I am really impressed with the wear of this nail polish. I took it off on day 5, because I broke my index nail while doing the dishes - clumsy me. I feel it could have lasted for at least one or two more days.
The Essence The Gel Nail Polish can be removed with regular nail polish remover and it's no hassle at all.

The top and base coat contain 10ml and retail for 2,49€. The color nail polishes contain 8ml per bottle and cost 1,59€. Based on my experiences with the system and the very affordable price, I can only recommend the Essence Gel Nail Polish. There currently are 46 (!) shades to choose from and they are available in most German drugstores (DM, Rossmann, Budni, Müller) or online at Douglas. If you are in the US, you can find Essence at Ulta and Fred Meyer.
I already bought another color, a pretty blurple duochrome called 23 Wonderfuel and I hope it will perform as well as the creme I just showed you.

Have you tried the new Essence The Gel Nail Polish? Tell me about your experiences in the comments!

Buy the Essence The Gel Nail Polish at Douglas:



  1. PurpleSensationsJune 3, 2015 at 9:52 PM

    Ich hab die Coats jetzt auch und teste gerade ein bisschen. Der Basecoat ist bei mir überhaupt nicht so, wie du beschreibst, die Textur finde ich eigentlich genau so wie den Top Coat, absolut problemlos aufzutragen. Vielleicht hast du ne Montagsflasche erwischt?

    Ich teste jetzt jedenfalls mal, wie die mit Essie funktionieren :D

  2. Pretty impressive for that price. I am going to try the base and top coat with other polishes to see how long that lasts. Wearing polish for more than four/five days is a big no-no for me as visible nail growth makes me want to scream. People with gel manicures with visible nail growth are my OCD nightmare ;-) ! BTW, essence is available at Wilko in the UK - no special editions though.

  3. Hmm, you got me interested to try this set after all!

  4. Yay :D Let me know what you think if you try it.

  5. I agree, grown out polish looks really bad, but my nails do not grow overly fast, so I can get away with 5 days of wear. Being a blogger, I tend to usually change my manicure every 2 days, but I really wanted to test how this The Gel system wears. I am curious to hear about your experiences with other polishes!

  6. Huhu, vielen Dank für die Info. Wenn ich das nächste mal im DM bin, werde ich mir den top coat nochmal angucken. Habe bisher von ein paar Leuten gehört, dass er auch so dickflüssig ist. Vielleicht trocknet er schnell ein? Ich werde berichten :)


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