The essie care line includes primers, base coats, top coats, finishers, and cuticle care. For a full list of available care products, please visit our nail care section.
How is a primer different from a base coat?
Primers are great multi-taskers; they can be applied alone for a natural look, in place of a base coat for a quicker manicure, or under a base coat for additional care benefits. They provide a little extra love for your nails—from resurfacing and concealing visible imperfections to protection from breaking and peeling.
Is primer always needed?
A primer is not always needed. For normal nail types, a base coat can provide the perfect foundation for your polish.
Is base coat always needed?
A base coat is always recommended as a foundation for essie lacquers in order to protect the nail and help the color adhere. The one exceptions are essie’s gel couture collection and TREAT LOVE & COLOR, which are specially formulated to be used without a base coat.
Is top coat always needed?
Adding a top coat is an important step, designed to seal, shine, and extend the wear of your manicure. However, some essie polishes have unique effects and finishes that do not require a top coat. Make sure to use the right base coat for your particular look! For example, the gel couture shades require a specially formulated gel-like top coat. Another exception to this is essie TREAT LOVE & COLOR which has a semi-gloss finish alone and has not been designed to be used with a top coat.
What is the recommended way to use the matte about you top coat?
matte about you is a unique top coat that creates a soft matte finish. To provide a foundation for even application, begin with ridge filling primer, followed by first base base coat if desired. Apply two coats of any essie color and allow to dry fully. Then finish with a coat of matte about you. No additional top coat is required.
Why can the finish of matte about you become less matte over time?
Matte top coats and polishes can become less matte during wear as natural oils from the skin transfer onto the nail. To refresh your matte look, cleanse with an alcohol wipe.
Is a finisher always needed?
The essie care line currently includes one finisher: quick-e drying drops. quick-e helps prevent smudges and dents while polish is drying, although it is not needed for every manicure. It is also not recommended for use with matte about you top coat.
Why are some essie care products no longer available?
essie has recently updated the entire care line—offering a more streamlined selection of products that have been optimized for performance. Several products are being phased out as part of this process. For a full list of current care products, please visit our nail care section.
How long does it take for my nail polish to dry?
After you’ve painted a base coat, two coats of polish, and a top coat, you should sit for about 15 minutes to dry your nails. The perfect drying time could vary based on environmental factors like temperature and humidity, so a fan may be helpful in warmer, wetter climates. Although your nails will feel dry after this time, note that your nails are not completely dry for 2-3 hours after painting, so refrain from activities that could smudge your manicure in that time.
How long should I wait to apply my top coat after painting my nails?
One coat of polish takes about 30 to 60 seconds to dry. This is about the time it takes for the average person to paint all of their nails, so once you have painted all your nails, you should be ready to add the next coat. Once you have applied two coats of color, you can start again at the first nail with your top coat.
My manicure doesn't last. What can I do to make my manicure last longer?
To help your manicure last longer try using one of our base coats to improve adhesion and our no chips ahead top coat. Make sure you use two coats of polish and wait 30 to 60 seconds before each application.
You might also like to try gel couture, which has longwear for an at-home gel-like manicure. gel couture offers longwear perfection in an easy 2-step system. For more information about gel couture, please click here.
Or if you prefer more of a traditional gel manicure, please visit the salon locator to find an essie gel salon near you.
Should I shake essie color prior to application?
Shaking can create bubbles. Instead simply roll the bottle upside down between your hands.
When a bottle of color has been unused for a long time and the color looks uneven, should I shake it?
If a bottle of essie color has not been used recently, the formula can begin to separate. In this case shake the bottle thoroughly before beginning the nail prep so it has time to settle. This will give time for any air bubbles created by shaking to rise back to the surface.
Do I really need a top coat?
A top coat is always recommended but choosing the right one could help your manicure dry faster, last longer or create a textured finish that your polish can’t achieve. To learn more about top coats, check out the essie collection here.
If you’re using gel couture, make sure to use the unique gel couture top coat.
Do I really need a base coat?
With regular enamel nail polish, a base coat is always recommended but choosing the right one could prolong the life of your manicure, prevent chipping, and nourish and protect your nail. To learn more about base coats, check out our full range here.
No base coat is needed if you’re using gel couture.
Can I use essie color with the base or top coat from another brand?
Base coats and top coats are created with the a specific color formula in mind. For optimal wear and shine results, use essie base and top coat with essie color. While some other brands’ formulas may be compatible with essie, results are not assured.
How can I get a perfect looking application with small or very curved nail beds?
Gently pull the skin around the sidewalls of the nail away from the nail plate before applying color. If you “draw outside the lines” and get polish on the skin, clean up with a nail art or makeup brush dipped in polish remover. Concealer and angled eye liner brushes are recommended for clean-up.
Do you need a UV or LED light when applying gel•setter?
No UV or LED light needed. gel•setter is applied and dries like a regular top coat, but shines like a gel.
What is a cuticle?
The cuticle is dry, dead skin that is tightly bound to the nail plate. Cuticles appear white on the nail if not hydrated and softened regularly with apricot cuticle oil.
Why should I push back cuticles before polish application?
If not pushed back properly during manicure or pedicure prep, the cuticle will transfer oils from the skin to the nail. This might result in polish lifting and shorter wear time.
Should I cut or trim cuticles?
Cutting and trimming cuticles is not recommended—instead, gently push back cuticles after softening with apricot cuticle oil.
Should nails be soaked to soften cuticles?
You should always avoid soaking nails in water before a manicure. Nail plates are porous and absorb water, making them temporarily more flexible and less curved. Once the moisture leaves the nails after the manicure they go back to their original shape. This is why soaking nails can lead to shorter wear time—as the nail plate flexes back the polish can easily chip or peel. Additionally, water will also temporarily hydrate the cuticles, hiding imperfections and hangnails—this will prevent a meticulous manicure. Instead of soaking nails, give yourself a “dry manicure” using essie apricot cuticle oil.
What if my nails look and feel dry unless I soak them in water?
To keep nails looking and feeling hydrated, after a dry manicure, use apricot cuticle oil to rehydrate the skin around the nails. When you finish your prep routine, be sure to thoroughly cleanse the nails—any oil remaining on the nail plate will prevent polish adhesion and shorten polish wear.
When should I use apricot cuticle oil during the manicure?
essie’s apricot cuticle oil is a cuticle hydrator that can be used before or after a manicure or a pedicure. If used before, be sure to thoroughly cleanse the nail before polish application. apricot cuticle oil should also be used to hydrate nails after polish or gel removal.
Do I need to cleanse the nails before applying a base coat?
Yes. Thoroughly cleanse the nails with polish remover and a lint free pad after your nail prep is complete. Be careful not to touch the nail plates with your fingers or oils will transfer to the nails, shortening color wear.
Can I use alcohol to cleanse the nails?
Yes, using alcohol will also thoroughly cleanse the nail in preparation for your manicure.
Should I use cotton balls or cosmetic rounds to cleanse the nail?
Always use lint free pads. Traditional cotton balls or cosmetic cotton rounds can leave pieces of cotton on your nails or on the essie brush. These cotton pieces are almost invisible until they begin to stick and dry in the layers of polish—or contaminate your bottle of polish— and then they become difficult to remove.
How do I remove stubborn glitter polish?
Soak your cotton pad in polish remover, then allow it to sit on the nail for 30 seconds before removing. For particularly stubborn glitter, use gel removal wraps. Wrap the nail for 2-3 minutes and remove the wrap and gently push the glitter away from the nail with a metal pusher or orangewood stick, similar to how you would push back cuticles.
When removing reds or dark shades, how can I prevent polish from staining the skin?
Soak your cotton pad in polish remover, and then allow it to sit on the nail for 5 seconds. Pull the cotton pad vertically down the nail from cuticle to tip—never rub back and forth horizontally. Fold the cotton and continue to remove any remaining polish by pulling the cotton vertically down the nail.
Why do nails look white or dry after removing polish?
Polish removers temporarily dehydrate the nail plate making nails appear drier than they actually are. Rehydrate with apricot cuticle oil at the end of any removal service. If your nails appear dry after repeated polish application, you might benefit from a more nourishing base coat like grow stronger or millionails primer.
How do you remove gel polish?
The best way to remove gel nail polish at home is to soak a cotton ball in a nail polish remover with acetone and place it over the nail, wrapping your nail and cotton ball in a small piece of tin foil to secure them together. After 15 minutes, remove the foil and cotton ball from your nails. Then gently scrape the gel from your nail with a cuticle stick. (If the gel is still adhered after 15 minutes, wrap again with for 5 additional minutes—never scrape or buff off gel.)
How do you remove gel•setter?
You remove gel•setter like any regular top coat—with nail polish remover.
Avoid Light. The pigments in nail polish—especially sheer and pastel colors—can shift over time when exposed to light. Be sure to keep your polish stored away from light (natural and artificial).
Stay cool. Store color and nail care products in a cool place.
Stay safe. Store polish away from heat and flame.
Keep it fresh. Discard any polish bottles that have been open for over 24 months.
Know your neons. Neon pigments are especially prone to fading. These shades are released as limited edition shades and should be discarded when they reach their expiration.
trouble with product thickening
Lock it up. Close your bottles of color and care tightly after every use to avoid evaporation and drying out due to air exposure.
Clean, clean, clean! Clean the neck of your polish and care bottles daily (or after every use!) using nail polish remover and a lint free pad. Product left on the neck of the bottle will dry, causing the cap to seal less and less tightly over time. Solvents exposed to the air will evaporate, causing the product to thicken. This is why a new bottle of a color will perform differently than an older bottle.
trouble with streaky or uneven color application
Dress in layers. Some sheer and pastel polish shades will appear uneven on the first coat, but will even out for flawless coverage on coat two. Always apply two coats.
Don’t be too conservative. Using polish sparingly will not help you create a uniform finish—instead it will dry more quickly as you apply, creating streaks on the nail.
Apply color with quick brush strokes. Slow strokes of the brush can create streaks, since the solvents are already beginning to evaporate and the polish is drying as you apply.
Start with ridge filling. This primer helps even out the nail surface, which in turn will help level the polish applied on top. This is especially helpful if you’re using a sheer shade or a chalky pastel.
Save your strokes. Over-brushing—or going back over the same polish you’ve already applied with the brush—causes dragging and leaves color application uneven. That’s because the solvents are already beginning to evaporate— thickening and drying the polish—and repeated brushing causes the brush bristles to make small groves in the polish. Minimize brush strokes and practice smooth, long strokes to avoid this.
Shake & settle. If a bottle of essie color has not been used recently, the formula can begin to separate causing some unevenness in the color. In this case, shake the bottle thoroughly before beginning the your nail prep so it has time to settle. This will help ensure that any bubbles created by shaking can rise back to the surface before color application.
trouble with bubbles in polish
Pause between coats. During a manicure, allow each coat (base, color, and top coat) to dry 30 to 60 seconds before applying the next coat. If applied too fast the surface layers will dry more quickly than the layers underneath, trapping solvents in tiny bubbles as it tries to evaporate.
Apply thin coats. Always apply thin layers of base, color, and top coat. Thicker coats will take longer to dry, trapping solvents in tiny bubbles as it tries to evaporate.
Play with the perfect drop. To ensure you have the perfect amount of polish on the essie brush, wipe one side of the brush on the inside neck of the bottle. There should be a small bead of polish on the opposite side. Depending on your nail size, this bead should cover the full nail plate.
Beware of the fan. A fan can help solvents evaporate faster from the top coat layer, but the air can’t reach the layers of color underneath. This can also cause the top coat layer to dry faster, trapping solvents underneath. Polish applied too thick—or too quick—will still result in bubbles.
Turn on the A/C. When possible, keep the room between 68 - 72 degrees Fahrenheit. Calm, cool air is the best environment to prevent bubbles.
trouble with dents and smudges
Apply thin coats. Always apply thin layers of base, color, and top coat. Thicker coats will take longer to dry. This can lead to dents and smudges after, since the layers of color under the top coat will not dry fully for up to 2 hours.
Try the quick-e finish. quick-e drying drops create a barrier between drying nail polish and external impacts. It will help prevent smudges and dents until the polish is fully dried, sealing the manicure.
trouble with chipping or peeling
Skip the cocktails. Use the full essie nail care and color system for optimal wear. “Cocktailing” with products from other brands can result in shorter wear time as these formulas are not optimized for interlayer adhesion—in other words, they’re not developed to work together and may not get along.
Skip the soak. Always avoid soaking nails in water before a manicure. Nail plates are porous and absorb water, making them temporarily more flexible and less curved. One the moisture leaves the nails after the manicure they go back to their original shape. This is why soaking nails can leave to shorter wear time—as the nail plate flexes back the polish can easily chip or peel.
Care about cuticles. Make sure cuticles are pushed back before applying base coat. Cuticles act like a wick and pull oil onto the nail plate, which can cause the color to peel off.
Start squeaky clean.Thoroughly cleanse the nail with polish remover prior to application. It should be gently scrubbed, including around the sidewall of the nail and cuticle area and under the free edge (oil left under the free edge will cause your capped, sealed tips to chip).
Create a strong foundation. Choose and apply the right base coat for your nails. Try first base base coat for strong adhesion.
Wrap the tips. Cap and seal the free edge to prevent chipping and shrinkage at the tip of the nail. To do this, remove most of the polish from the brush, then tap it across the free edge of the nail. Do this for every layer—base, both color coats, and top coat. This will “wrap” the free edge of the nail in longer-lasting color. For very short nails or little to no free edge, capping and sealing may be difficult.
Include top coat. Re-apply top coat every other day (capping and sealing free edge each time) to help prevent chips and maintain wear and shine longer.
Consider lifestyle. Nail polish wears differently on everyone. Some naturally experience shorter wear due to nail type and condition, and others have lifestyles that expose manicures to chips and peeling. Here are just a few reasons for chipping and peeling:
– Naturally oily nail beds
– Short nail beds with little to no free edge
– Frequent handwashing
– Using household cleaning products and chemicals without gloves
– Using nails as tools (i.e. opening soda cans)
trouble with mani fading or changing color
Protect from the sun. Certain polish pigments—especially those found in brighter and neon shades—can fade over time when exposed to natural light. This is why, when you go on sunny vacations, you might find that manicure shades shift slightly during wear. Use no chips ahead top coat, which is formulated with a UV color shield to help reduce this kind of fading.
Consider lifestyle. Pale and pastel manicures are at risk for staining from a variety of lifestyle factors. Here are just a few causes of manicure staining and color change:
– Using household cleaning products and chemicals without gloves
– Eating with your fingers/hands
– Cooking with intensely pigmented spices (i.e. curries)
– Using self-tanning products
– Wearing dark denim
– Spending extended time out in the sun
trouble with staining at removal
Protect the nail plate. Always apply a base coat before enamel color application—this creates a protective barrier between the nail plate and the color coat to prevent pigment transfer and staining.
Buff it away. Some people are more likely to experience staining from intensely pigmented polish shades. Those with dry nails are especially at risk. If you see staining during polish removal, lightly buff the nail to remove polish residue from the surface of the nail plate.
Correct & protect. If you love the look of natural nails but suffer from staining, apply essie color corrector for nails. This primer optically neutralizes yellowness of the nail and leaves the nail with a healthy glow.
Remove it right. When removing polish, especially intense, deep shades, the skin around the nail can easily be stained. To prevent this, soak your cotton pad in polish remover and press it gently onto the nail. Wait 5-10 seconds, then wipe downwards to the tip of the nail. Never rub back and forth—this will expose the skin around the nail to pigments.
Consider your nail type. Some nail types are more prone to staining, regardless of the color or polish formula. For example, if you have dry nail plates, you may naturally experience more staining.
trouble with glitter removal
Be patient with glitter. To remove glitter polish, soak cotton in polish remover and allow it to sit on the nail for 30 seconds before removing.
Push it off. First, remove most of the polish from the nail with nail polish remover. Next, firmly press a pad with polish remover on the nail and count to 10. Remove the pad and gently push the glitter away from the nail with a metal pusher or orangewood stick, similar to how you would push back cuticles.
Soak off stubborn sparkle. For particularly stubborn glitter, try the same process you would use for removing gel. Wrap the nails tightly with removal wraps for 2-3 minutes, then remove the wraps. The glitter should be gone.
Wipe it away. Swiping on a fresh coat of color or top coat will help make the dried polish underneath easier to remove. This is a great method to try if you’re removing glitter from accent nails.