November 01, 2017

Essie Gel Couture Caviar Bar & First View Swatches & Review

Essie Gel Couture Review

Hello readers,
Today I have a couple shades from the essie gel couture line to share with you. Though I switch up my polish pretty regularly when I'm at home, I always intrigued by long wearing options for when I travel and don't want to lug a bunch of nail supplies in my suitcase. Let's take a look at how these fared.

Caviar Bar: Over Basecoat

Essie Gel Couture Caviar Bar swatchEssie caviar bar swatch

Caviar Bar is a deep navy blue creme. The formula was super pigmented and so easy to work with. It's almost a one-coater. If you're willing to keep an eye out for bare spots (and not sticking your hand into a light box for pictures) you can definitely do one. I used two here. This formula also screams stainer. I just couldn't bring myself to apply this shade directly to my nails and find out for sure, so I used it over my usual base - one coat of duri rejuvocate plus one coat of CND Super Sticky basecoat. Photos show two coats of Caviar Bar with one coat of essie gel couture top coat in daylight spectrum lighting.

Here are my notes on wear:

Day 0: Application day. The top coat is so shiny!
Day 1: A tiny bit of tip wear on most nails. I only see it when I'm looking really closely.
Day 2: No additional wear and the finish is still quite shiny.
Day 3: Some additional tip wear, but nothing I would classify as a chip. Still shiny.
Day 4: Officially reached visible tip wear on all nails and the shine is starting to fade a little bit.
Day 5: Tip wear is pretty obvious now, but still no big chips. Finish is noticeable duller now.
Day 6: The first chips have arrived! Two to be exact. They're small, but definitely chips.
Day 7: A few more small chips. Time for fresh polish.

Essie caviar bar

Essie Gel Couture caviar bar

Essie gel couture review

First View: Over Bare Nails

Essie Gel Couture First View swatchEssie First View swatch

First View features a sky blue base filled with a fine blue shimmer. The formula was OK though a bit sheer. My advice is go for a thin initial coat, and then on the second coat float the brush up the nail and let it self-level on its own. When I tried my normal thin second coat I ended up with sheer spots in the finish. Since light blue is a much less scary colour when it comes to staining potential, I tried this shade over bare nails as essie intended. Photos show two coats of First View with one coat of essie gel couture top coat in daylight spectrum lighting.

Here are my notes on wear:

Day 0: Application day.
Day 1: There's a tiny bit of tip wear on the corner of my index finger. The rest of my fingers look perfect.
Day 2: A tiny bit of tip wear on a few more nails. Nothing noticeable unless you're actively looking for it.
Day 3: See Day 2. No new wear as far as I can tell.
Day 4: Minor tip wear, but still not obvious unless you look closely.
Day 5: The topcoat is starting to scuff up a bit and lose its shine. Still no chips though.
Day 6: The first chip has arrived. Specifically, one big chip on me middle finger. Time for new polish.

Essie First View

Essie Gel Couture First View

Essie gel couture review


Using base coat didn't seem to affect the wear time in any significant way. I even had smaller chips when I used a base than when I didn't. In general, these wore pretty well. I was able to go five days with only tip wear. I found that the top coat stayed shiny and resisted scuffs longer than some of the other long wear gel-esque systems I've tried. Does this wear longer than my tried and true brands? Not significantly. Is it a good option when I need more than a couple days of wear? Definitely.

If visible tip wear bothers you, I recommend going for a lighter shade like First View. Even with an identical amount of wear and tear there's a lot less contrast between the polish colour and nail colour than with a dark shade. It ends up being much less noticeable. If you're in Canada or the US the entire gel couture line is available from Nail Polish Canada. You can find NPC on

You can find Essie on

Happy polishing,


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