Essie Launching Professional Gel Service

Essie Launching Professional Gel Service

Essie is getting into the gel manicure game.

Despite consumers love/hate relationship with the technology, Gerald Densk, Essie's general manager for the professional products division of L'Oréal USA, thinks the trend is showing no sign of slowing down. "Gels are growing double digits within the total nail polish category," said Densk, citing a 2012 Kline & Co. report of the professional nail market. "It was not something we can ignore as we build this brand in the professional environment."

Essie will launch its first professional gel service, Essie Gel, in October. "This is our first technology-driven launch into the professional market," said Densk. "Gels are a significant market and they aren't slowing down. To be a quality player, we have to be in the service that's getting the most attention, the number-one service in the professional nail arena."

Essie Gel will initially launch its range with 36 gel polishes with a nod to classic Essie shades like Mademoiselle, Watermelon and Mint Candy Apple. Although they are not exactly the same hues because the gel formula does not allow for an identical match, Densk said they are as close as possible and are named with corresponding monikers (i.e. Ballet Slippers is Dance Class). "Essie has unique colors, names and equity," said Densk. "[We felt] consumers were looking for Essie in a gel service."

So what makes Essie Gel different from other gel manicures? Densk said its designed to offer the benefits of a gel manicure without the negative side effects like the weakening of the nail and a difficult removal process. "We did a lot of research and saw the number-one issue was that gel manicures leave nails in a poor condition," said Densk. "As much as [Essie Gel] was about nail care and conditioning, it was also very much about our color authority."

Essie Gel promises 14 days of shine and color and conditioning through the keratin technology, which delivers pro-vitamin B5 and vitamin E. The accompanying Essie professional LED light will come equipped with nine lights, designed to cure both hand and toenails quickly and evenly. "We believe our LED is the best around. It is 25 percent more powerful than its competitors and was designed to offer a consistent curing process across five fingers," said Densk, of the L'Oréal-created machine. "We wanted a strong point of difference to propel the brand forward. It wasn't just about flanking, it was about leapfrogging the competition with innovative technology."