Cookie banner

This site uses cookies. Select "Block all non-essential cookies" to only allow cookies necessary to display content and enable core site features. Select "Accept all cookies" to also personalize your experience on the site with ads and partner content tailored to your interests, and to allow us to measure the effectiveness of our service.

To learn more, review our Cookie Policy, Privacy Notice and Terms of Use.

clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

The Quick and Cheap Way to Get a Gel Manicure Shine at Home

No UV light required.

Racked has affiliate partnerships, which do not influence editorial content, though we may earn commissions for products purchased via affiliate links. We also occasionally accept products for research and reviewing purposes. See our ethics policy here.

Claudia and Ralf Pulmanns/Trunk Archive

Racked is no longer publishing. Thank you to everyone who read our work over the years. The archives will remain available here; for new stories, head over to, where our staff is covering consumer culture for The Goods by Vox. You can also see what we’re up to by signing up here.

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.

A bottle of Essie Gel Setter top coat
Shop It Here Essie Gel Setter Top Coat ($9.99)