Sunday, 27 April 2014

Essence Gel Nails at Home Kit (Mini LED)

I was so excited when I heard that Essence had released an at home gel nail kit! Essence are one of my very favourite brands, being both affordable and actually having decent products. I have done my own gel nails before with pretty good results but I absolutely DESPISE the time-consuming removal process. When I saw that Essence’s kit boasted PEEL OFF removal AND could be used with ANY polish, I pretty much sprinted down to Priceline to nab one! I had very high hopes for this product, here’s what I thought.

The Brand – Essence

Essence are a European brand, German to be specific, but most of their products are readily available in Australia, with the exception of certain limited edition releases. They are fabulously cheap but unlike most el cheapo brands, their products are actually pretty decent quality. I especially like their nail polishes and eyeshadows. Essence can be found in Priceline, Target and some smaller pharmacies too. Another big plus is that they do not test on animals, which is quite unusual for a brand with such low prices. 

The Product – Gel Nails at Home Kit ($39.95 for Mini LED Lamp, $5.95 each for Base/Top Coats)

The Essence at Home Gel Nails Kit consists of a mini LED curing lamp, a peel off base coat and a gel top coat. There are a range of other products too including a primer and cleanser but I decided against purchasing these as I already had similar products from different brands. The major difference between this system and other gel nails is that you can use ANY polish, not just the fancy (read: super expensive) gel polishes. These gel nails are also peel off, so there is no messing around with soaking your nails in acetone and pushing the polish off with an orange stick, ain't nobody got time for that!

Using the product

The steps are pretty simple, you apply the base coat, being careful to avoid your cuticles and ensuring you seal the tip of the nail, then cure for 60 seconds under the lamp. The instructions were a bit confusing as the ones on the lamp said cure for 10 seconds (not nearly long enough) and the ones on the polish said 60 seconds. Having done gel nails before, I went with 60 seconds. This was quite annoying as the timer on the lamp lasted for 10 seconds, so I had to keep pressing the button again and again! You can imagine how frustrating this was with the lamp only being big enough to do one finger at a time. After the base coat is cured, you wipe off the sticky residue with the cleanser then paint on your chosen colour. You then have to wait until the polish is 100% dry before moving on. This is both the up and downside to the system. You can use any polish you like BUT it comes at the price of having to wait the same amount of time for it to dry as you would with normal nail polish because you use normal nail polish. The fantastic thing about gel nails is NOT having to wait for them to dry so it kind of defeats the purpose a little. After your coloured polish has dried, you then apply the top coat and this is where I ran into the most trouble. 

The two fingers on the right have the base coat on.

Applying it was a bit tricky, both the base and top coats are very thick and gloopy and you have to take care again to avoid your cuticles and make sure you seal the whole nail.  When it came to curing the top coat, I had some major shrinkage problems. Gel polish can sometimes shrink away from the edges but this was ridiculous! I ended up with huge gaps down the side and at the end of my nails, no matter how well I applied the top coat. I also ran into issues after sealing when I wiped away the sticky residue. Because the top coat shrank, the regular polish underneath was exposed and ended up coming off when I tried to wipe away the stickiness. 

End product: messy edges, gaps at the tips and a hole in the polish of the middle finger.

It was just a general mess! I did have a few goes, in the name of giving it a fair go but I had very little improvement. My nails ended up with gaps all around or holes in the polish where it didn’t seal properly. And as for the 10 day wear claim, I have no idea where that came from because one evening of wear and a shower in the morning was enough to start them peeling off! The only glimmer of light to this whole debacle was how easy they are to remove, I wish it was that easy with all gel nails! The other upside is that price wise, this kit isn’t half as expensive as most so I didn’t waste too much money. 

Started peeling after just a night, so much for 10 days of wear! Also note the hole in the polish on my pinky nail.

Overall Score 

The Good
Can be used with any polish.
 Relatively cheap compared to other gel systems.
Very easy to remove. 

The Bad
Different instructions on different boxes.
Shrinking topcoat.
Gaps left in polish.
Does not last well at all.
Have to wait for coloured polish to dry, not like with most gel systems where you can just go.

KaBOOM! Cosmetics gives the Essence Gel Nails at Home Kit:  
I had very high hopes for this and sadly, they came crashing down around my head pretty quickly. I don’t like writing negative reviews but this really didn’t work for me at all and I would hate for anyone else to waste their hard earned moolah on it! Essence are still one of my favourite brands but I would not recommend this kit to anyone. I found it quite messy and time-consuming for a pretty awful end result! Has anyone else had success with this kit?

Stay beautiful!

Dani xx


  1. Oh no I almosed picked it up yesterday now I'm glad I did not
    I love gel nails as long as u don't need to go to the salon to take them off ���� I love essence products too very very affordable but this seems quite a disappointing product ,,I think I'll just invest in Sally H kit than xx

    1. Definitely save your money! I love Essence too but this was just a terrible product that didn't deliver. I think pretty much ANY other gel system would beat this!

  2. i'm losing faith in these gel nail kits, i bought the fuse gel enamel kit, it doesn't work for me! but a lot of people are saying its really good!! glad you did a review on this was thinking of getting it!

    Multitasking Damsel Blog

    1. They are quite tricky to master! This one just pissed me off because it had none of the benefits of gel nails like instant drying and chip resistance. Definitely don't bother with this one!


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