Review: Couture Gel Nail At-Home Polish System

The gel nail craze continues, so I soldier on in my quest to find the best at-home system. I’m happy to report, I’ve found it!

The Couture Gel Nail Polish Kit is an at-home alternative to salon services like CND Shellac, OPI Axxium, and Gelish. If you’re not familiar with gels, what makes this different is that you ‘cure’ the polish with a UV lamp—which results in a long-lasting, shiny, chip-free manicure for as many as three weeks. Who wouldn’t want that, right?

What’s included:

  • Your choice of 3 Couture Gel Nail Polish colors
  • Plus base coat and top coat
  • A professional 36-watt UV Espree Salon Lamp
  • Instructional DVD and brochure
  • Zippered carrying case for easy storage
  • A bonus salon nail care kit

Right off the bat, I was impressed by the ability to customize your product configuration. Some of the systems I’ve tried were very limited on color selection or didn’t have the ability to be customized. Couture Gel allows you to pick three shades for your kit—and they have a great selection of shades! Glitters, shimmers, sparkles, creams—they’ve got it all. They’re also full-size polish bottles, a few of the systems I’ve tried had very tiny bottles for the price. I really appreciate the thought that went into this kit, right down to the girlie-patterned carrying case for your nail implements and polishes.

See more photos, swatches, and details…

I applied a gorgeous aqua shade, Spa Day, with a sparkly nail in Make an Entrance for an accent. I had no troubles applying! You’re basically painting your nails several times in one sitting, and curing the polish in a lamp for in less than two minutes per coat. I know my manicure could have made it longer than 10 days—I thought it looked fantastic for 10 days when I had to remove, so it broke my heart!

As a licensed cosmetologist, I can tell you that similar professional-only grade lamps to cure UV polish can cost several hundred dollars alone. The entire Couture Gel system is less than half the price of one of the leading professional-grade UV lamps I’ve spotted at a licensed pro-only supply. In that respect—if you’re someone who likes to do a lot of gel nails, this is a great buy. For the occasional gel wearer, you’ll have to weigh out the pros and cons of investing in a system like this. If you’re comfortable painting your own nails at home, and you get at least 3-6 gel nail services done a year, this should pay for itself quickly. I say 3-6, because I know different parts of the country charge different prices. Where I live, the going rate for a Shellac mani is about $45, with Gelish running about $20.

The only real issues I can think of here, are that you have to start by slightly roughing up your nails before applying base coat, and that you have to soak them off with acetone. The same rings true for other gel polish systems, so it can’t really be helped.

Bottom Line…

I can’t believe I’m doing this, but I’m giving something pretty pricey a perfect score! I think this is the most professional grade at-home gel nail polish system I’ve tried to date. I probably could have gone more than 10 days without any chips too, in fact—I’m sure of it (but I had to remove to swatch others). As long as you follow the directions, you should get a great result. You also need to make sure to work with very thin layers of product to prevent chipping.

Price & Availability…


An editorial sample was provided by the company and evaluated to determine our opinion of the product in this post. Please see the Disclosures page for further information regarding our policies for using editorial samples.
  • Ishah

    Very nice system, it looks really pro :) I love gel manis!

  • Noreen

    That’s so awesome! I love to paint my nails… but haven’t in a long time. My sister gets gel manis at the salon and it’s quite pricey, but it doesn’t come out even if you handle acetone! I would love to be able to do my nails as often as i want since i wash dishes and have an infant, so i literally have to wash my hands every few minutes! Darn that my birthday just passed yesterday, but I think I know what’s going to be on my christmas list #1.. hehe Thanks!

  • Elizabeth Muzzarini

    Thats cool! I saw the one at Sephora for $150.00.. I wonder if you can use the gel polish from Sephora with this set???

  • Amber

    Usually the lamps have different wattages, and from what I understand–they aren’t “supposed” to work on other products. Which doesn’t mean that they don’t, if you know what I mean! But I honestly don’t have the answer. Now you’ve got me curious!

  • Emalyn deGuzman

    It seems like a very nice system but it’s unfortunate that it is a UV light, and not LED because with continue used, it could age the fingernails and hands. ):

  • Naomi Stern

    I bought this and have used Gelish and others. Love it also!

  • pat Drowns

    Can I order the cd somewhere?

  • Amber

    You’ll have to check with Couture directly, sorry!