Do not underestimate the value of nail polish perfection.

I used to think perfection was impossible. And I still know I will never be perfect, at least not in the sense of “being entirely without fault or defect.”

But perfect can also mean “satisfying all requirements” and “corresponding to an ideal standard,” and by those definitions, I have indeed discovered perfection.

In the form of nail polish.

Nail polish can be perfect. I cannot.

Nail polish perfection, from L to R: Magic top coat, Pinned Up, Take Me to Thread, Make the Cut, Gala-vanting

This praise is unsolicited

Before I go any further, I’d like to clarify that the unmitigated praise I am about to heap on a particular brand and style of nail polish is completely unsolicited, and I am not receiving compensation for my endorsement.

I have nothing to gain other than the joy of sharing something that brings me joy.

Essie gel couture polish brings me joy

As I mentioned, I used to think perfection was impossible. However, that belief has never stopped me from being a perfectionist.

Perfectionism comes in handy when you are proofreading or editing copy, and it’s also useful for managing finances and anything involving mixing chemicals.

It’s less beneficial for painting your nails.

A desire for nail polish perfection

Nonetheless, perfection is what I wanted for my fingertips, and for years it seemed like an impossible dream.

I don’t like getting manicures, both because I feel uncomfortable paying someone else (very little) to decorate my hands and feet, and also because I get rather impatient at the end when I have to sit around and wait for the polish to dry.

When I do my own nails at home, I can be efficient about it and watch tv, nap, or meditate while not moving my hands.

However, when I do my own nails at home, no matter how much I try to emulate the technique of the professionals in the salons, I always ended up with lumps or air bubbles—no doubt scarcely noticeable to the eyes of others, but always a blight to my own vision.

A solution that gels

Then Essie gel couture polish came into my life.

This nail polish is hands down the best thing to ever happen to my hands (aside from discovering a lush, all-natural moisturizer that rescued my eczema forever and ever).

A few years ago gel manicures became very popular; they’re considerably more expensive than a regular manicure, but the special polish dries instantly under a UV light (no waiting around at the salon!) and it lasts for weeks without chipping.

The catch is that to remove a professional gel manicure you either have to return to the salon or soak your hands in straight-up acetone on your own. Barring those options, you can also peel off the gel, but you’ll likely take off the top layer of your nail along with it.

I struck a compromise by getting gel manicures for special occasions only and hacking it on my own the rest of the time.

And given the challenges associated with any option, I spent plenty of time with no nail color at all. (Because contrary to what this lengthy piece of writing may imply, having my nails painted is actually a low priority.)

That being said, since painting my nails is a relaxing and relatively inexpensive way to make me feel cared for, it is an activity I deem worthwhile on occasion.

And since getting clued in to the wonders of Essie gel couture, those occasions are a lot more frequent.

Perfection, found

This polish is perfect, y’all. It has a special style of brush that hugs the curve of my nail and spreads the color quickly and smoothly. It’s the kind of simple revolution that is a true gamechanger–like when soda cans switched from narrow tabs to wide-mouth openings.

Does anyone even remember when soda can openings were narrow? Probably not, because the updgrade was unanimously deemed superior. Which is to say that someday all nail polish brushes will be like these new Essie ones (but probably not super soon because I think they filed a patent).

So, it’s easy to put on the polish, which you paint straight on the nail, no base coat required. In fact, a base coat is actively discouraged, so you just saved five minutes there.

Then after two coats of color, you add the special gel-activating top coat, which provides a glossy sheen that rivals anything I’ve ever gotten at the salon.

And that’s it. Three coats, maybe fifteen minutes, it looks great, and it behaves just like a salon-applied gel polish, in that it retains shine and is highly chip resistant.

And when it does start to chip in a week or two? Use regular old nail polish remover, with or without acetone, and swipe off the polish, easy peasy, no problem.

Yes, this nail polish really does make my life so much better that I am writing 1,000 words about it

Guys, I know I am making a big deal about this nail polish and that is precisely because I do not want nail polish to be a big deal. I want it to be an accessible luxury that is enjoyable to apply, easy to maintain, and safe to remove.

And Essie gel couture has nailed it. (No pun intended, but obviously I have to leave that there.)

A friend gave me a starter kit for Christmas—a bottle of the top coat and a bottle of Take Me to Thread, a delightful taupe—and after the first use I swore to myself that I would never use anything else. I cleaned out my existing stash of congealing polishes and have since begun curating a gel collection.

In the last couple of months, painting my nails has become a bit of a ritual—not a chore, but a relaxing endeavor with results that make me feel confident and attractive.

Because perfect nail polish is not that important, but perfect confidence is

I know that in the scheme of things having good-looking nails is very unimportant, but I also know that feeling confident and attractive helps me to show up for things that ARE important.

So I am grateful for perfect polish, which helps me be my best, imperfect self.

Love > fear,

Christina

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