Buh-Bye, Nail Salon (Gel Setter Review + My Nail Favories)

Back in ol' BC times ("Before Camille"), I always had my nails painted.

But for the past year, at-home manicures have taken a backseat. I simply don't have the time (or want to take the time) to let my nails dry. And, visit the nail salon with a toddler? Forget about it!

When I'd snap a photo with my naked nails showing, and yes -- I know this sounds really shallow -- I just didn't feel like myself. Gah, that's a pretty surface-level admission right there. I don't know how to describe it in another way, though.

Recently I asked all of you about your favorite at-home mani secrets, and several of you raved about Gel Setter by Essie. I grabbed a bottle of it, and I'm here to give you my full review now that I've owned it for about three weeks.

(Picture Tom Cruise jumping on Oprah's couch) 

Gel Setter ($10 - Target) // Mademoiselle
Gel Setter + Mademoiselle Duo ($15, Target - a deal)

It has worked great with my other Essie polishes, and a blog reader also mentioned that it works well with non-Essie products as well. 

Here are some of my favorite colors at this moment. I always love to see the go-to colors of my blogger friends :) 

And my must-have products for a long-lasting manicure or pedicure...

Sally Hansen Instant Cuticle Remover (Amazon) - makes a huge difference for a nice mani!
Other favorites: nail buffer, metal nail file, orange wood cuticle stick (not shown), toe separators

Speaking of pedicure, I topped my toenail polish with a coat of Gel Setter last week, and the results were WAY better than I was imagining. It turned a normal at-home pedicure into what truly looks like a salon pedicure. My toenails are so glossy and high-shine!

So, by using the Gel Setter, I've noticed two main improvements:
+ My nails dry MUCH quicker and without dings -- very important these days.
+ My polish stays chip-free for a full 5-7 days. The better I am about buffing them and using the cuticle remover, beforehand, the longer it seems to last.

The staying power is what truly sold me. I don't want to have chips every 2-3 days with my polish. And I feel like my hands are constantly in water now that I'm staying at home with Camille -- I wash my hands so many times a day, as well as hers (before all meals, after diaper changes), and my hands are wet during bathtime each night.

So -- hugely recommend this product. I feel so much more put together now that I've been able to enjoy nice nails!

I took this photo with my hand in the picture to show the scale of the plaid pattern for someone who is looking for a custom bonnet. I am wearing Mademoiselle in this photo.

The photo below was just snapped this morning. I am wearing Absolutely Shore now. I love the minty green hue!

Your turn ... nail tips -- GO! 
Top three nail polish colors -- GO! 

* Not a sponsored post. Affiliate links used. 


  1. I have been keeping my nails polished with gel since I got engaged! My New Years Resolution for 2016 is to become an at-home gel mani pro!! Keeping the gel polish on my nails has taken a bite into my extra spending money and I need to cut that out for 2016! Essie and OPI are my favorite polish brands - my three favorite colors are Essie, Sole Mate -- OPI Lincoln Park After Dark -- Sally Hansen Gel in Birthday Cake!

  2. I can't wait to try this! If only I could paint my own without looking like a toddler did it haha

  3. I went out and bought this a week or two ago after reading your post and I absolutely LOVE the quick dry time! So long $45+ gel manicures every 10 days. I have Bahama Mama on right now and I adore it! Great fall color. I also love how easy it is to remove---just like any normal nail polish. Awesome find!

  4. It's on my list to buy, gotta get it!!!

    My go to fall / dark colors -- essie Material Girl, essie After School Boy Blazer (deep navy), essie Alligator Purse

    My go to light is essie Topless and Barefoot -- it's replaced my love of OPI Bubble Bath!!!

  5. I'm an Essie girl- my go to's are Miss Fancy Pants and Topless and Barefoot for fingers, California Coral (or Peach Daiquiri) for toes! I've been getting out the Master Plan and Smokin Hot for these cooler temps though!

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  7. This is my favorite nail file- it's amazing, and pricy but it never gets dull.
    This foot file is awesome too! My feet feel better after this than when I've actually paid for a pedicure

  8. I recently got my mom the gel top coat by Sally Hansen and she wasn't impressed. I am totally going to get her this one (and one for myself)!! Thanks for the fun recommendation! I think an at home mani/pedi is such a nice way to take a little time for ourselves!

  9. Your nails look great! I love giving myself pedicures at home, so I will definitely be trying this out!

  10. Thank you so much for sharing!!!! I've been wanting to hear how people liked the essie thank you! I will definitely have to try!

  11. Can't wait to try this! I ran right out and grabbed your Revlon gloss recommendation and am officially obsessed!

  12. Need to try this! I use the Seche Vita dry fast top coat and it dries them quick (I've got two boys and I can do it with them). Love Essie and OPI. Essie Wicked is great, love Dutch Tulips, and into OPI How Great is Your Dane and You Don't Know Jacques!

  13. LOVE LOVE LOVE the Essie gel setter! I've used it twice now and my nails stay perfect for at least a week. The only problem is that my nails start to grow out and it starts to look bad. Usually it chips and looks bad. I bought mine paired with Bahama Mama and it's my FAVE for fall!

  14. I love manicures and try to treat myself to one monthly. I've been eyeing the gel setter but never tried it out. I am now. Thanks for the recommendation. Love the blog

  15. I totally understand - I am a every two-weeker myself (I just went today, lol). I have a lot of my own Shellac and OPI gel colors and then buy the matching color, so I am tempted to buy my own light and just touch up and sometimes just do them at home when money is tight.

  16. Essie Gel Setter + Essie Good to Go is also a game changer. I do base coat, two coats of polish, One coat Gel Setter, 1 coat Good to Go. Dries even faster and great lasting power!

  17. I saw this at Target was thinking about buying it... And now I just may have to! How was removing it? Similar to gel or easier?

  18. You can save your nails, your cuticles, and your manicure by wearing nitrile gloves (seal at wrist with a few hair elastics) during all exposure to water-your shower, toddler's bath, cleaning, dishes.) It makes a huge difference.

  19. Looks like Essie nail polish is popular, will love to try that one since I book nails home service salon here in Dubai this coming week.

  20. your detail information are always so useful, thank you for your time giving us Home Service Massage Centre in Dubai

  21. the range of beautiful products are so amazing for more information click here Massage in Dubai


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