In 2016, Essie put a spin on its classic nail-polish formula with the brand’s first long-wear collection: Essie Gel Couture. In the three years since, new shades have been released every season like clockwork, but nothing outside of those signature square bottles — until now.
Today, the legacy nail brand dropped its newest franchise: Essie Expressie. The 40 polishes come in a never-before-seen bottle that’s like a stretched-out version of the O.G. But even more exciting is the formula inside, which is designed to dry in 60 seconds flat.
The first thing I noticed when I opened one of the tall, rectangular bottles was the brush — it’s huge. According to the brand, the bristles are a new patented design, wider and slightly angled, that complements a speedy manicure. I was able to cover my entire nail, or close to it, in a single swipe.
The standout aspect of the bigger, angled brush is that it actually made it easier to paint with my non-dominant left hand, and other beauty editors who tried it in our office noticed the same. You have more control with a single sweep of the brush as opposed to attempting multiple smaller strokes. One coat of polish on each hand required a little bit of clean up — I had a few cuticle dings from moving too fast with a new brush — but my right hand actually turned out better than my left, which literally never happens.
As for the formula itself, it definitely dries very quickly. I don’t know if I would crack open a can of LaCroix exactly 60 seconds after painting my nails with Expressie polish, but after three minutes, sure. As a result of the quick-drying solvents in the polish, it’s important to note that the finish is a little different from what you might be used to: It’s not glossy or matte, but more of a creamy, milky, almost ceramic-glaze look, which I’m into.
From a shade perspective, Essie curated the line for a Gen-Z consumer who wants to mix and match colors and isn’t beholden to fleeting trends. From Crop Top & Roll (the lightest pink, almost like a clay Ballet Slipper) to Cold Brew Crew (a mocha brown) and Mic Drop-It-Low (a sparkly magenta), the brand describes the 40-shade collection as: “Season-less, unconventional colors [that] create a broader reach in gender neutrality.” Thanks to the quick-drying aspect, they’d also make for great nail art colors.
Whichever $9 Expressie bottle you try first, you’ll have a rock-hard, completely-dry manicure in a matter of minutes. My Expressie manicure is still going strong and chip-free three days in, though I do recommend a daily drop of cuticle oil to keep it looking fresh. All in, this speed-dry polish is my new go-to for last-minute desk manicures — and who doesn’t need that with all the holiday parties on the calendar from here until the 31st?
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