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Gel manicures are just the best, and one of the main reasons is because they’re so shiny. Just so perfectly, pleasingly shiny. But gels require a time commitment, a trip to the salon, and upwards of $40, so I don’t do them that often.
Instead, I bring my trusty bottle of Essie Gel Setter Top Coat ($9.99) to my local corner salon or use it when I do my own mani at home. It’s applied over regular nail polish and is notably shinier than a regular top coat, and I’m also convinced that it makes my manicures last longer, though I have no scientific data to support this.
This should not be confused with the new Essie Gel Couture nail polish, however, which is a two-step system meant to mimic a salon gel manicure. I’ve tried this, and I honestly think the older faux gel top coat is just as good over plain old nail polish.