By now you’ve probably heard about the Essie Gel•Setter™ top coat – it’s fairly new on the market and promises “cushy, rock-hard shine of a gel, in a foolproof formula”. I was living under a rock and had not heard about this but stumbled upon a display while I was doing some birthday hauling. I picked it up mainly because at the time I had just recently got gel polish applied and loved the shine of the gel polish. Also, the top coat was on sale. 😉
After I purchased it, I read a rave review by Chic and Polished so I was quite stoked to try it. I finally busted this open last month and tested it with another new polish (and fivezero enabled item) that I bought during my birthday haul: Essie Perennial Chic.
It’s in a standard square Essie bottle with a silver foil cap – the brush is exactly the same as Essie polishes. The consistency is not too thick, not too runny.
Ask anyone who knows me, and they’ll tell you I swear by Poshe Fast Dry Top Coat – it’s quick drying, super shiny, long wearing, and doesn’t get all gunky like Seche Vite. I love it so much that I own a salon-sized bottle that I decant from, and I push it onto all my friends. So Essie Gel•Setter has some stiff competition. Right off the bat, I can see that it is very shiny upon initial application.
Here it is freshly applied, with 1 coat of Orly Bonder, 2 coats of Essie Perennial Chic, and 1 coat of Essie Gel•Setter. I wouldn’t really say it’s “cushy” like gel polish is, but I did find that it had a slightly slick gel feel over the surface. I did notice that it took about double the time to fully dry (about 30 minutes) compared to Poshe. (Pro tip: to check if your polish is dry, gently tap your 2 pinky nails together, nail to nail – if they have a tackiness, your nails aren’t dried yet).
Here’s what my manicure looked like after 7 full days:
Not bad really, a bit of visible tip wear, but no obvious chips or peeling nails. The shine has dulled a bit but overall, the performance is superior to other top coats I’ve tried, but still inferior to Poshe. One good thing about the Essie it is readily available, whereas Poshe is only available at Sally Beauty Supply or online.
• chip resistant
• long wearing
• reasonably priced
• readily available
• not as quick drying as my usual top coat (Poshe)
• shine doesn’t last as long as a gel
Stash worthiness: 8/10
I have yet to try this on top of non-Essie polishes, but according to this review by Classic Maggie, the performance is better when paired with Essie polishes. I’ll have to test it.
I highly recommend this, but for me, Poshe top coat is still the tops! 🙂