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Gel nail polish: Alessandro Striplac vs Essence Gel Nails

Currently gel nail polish is quite a hype in beauty land. I’m not surprised since it’s better for your nails and you’ll be able to wear it for weeks. No chipped nails and split nails. As you can imagine I’m a big fan.

Yet, gel nail polish can be rather expensive. Luckily there’s affordable gel nail polish: Essence gel nails at home. In this blog post I will compare Alessandro Striplac to Essence gel nails at home. In addition I will show you how to put on gel nail polish and how to easily remove it by peeling it off. 

Essence or Alessandro?

If you like to wear nail polish but easily get split nails, you’re better off using gel nail polish. This is my conclusion after having frequently tested Alessandro Striplac, peel off gel nail polish. Because Essence now also has its own peel off gel nail polish, I also decided to buy Essence gel nails at home in order to see whether the quality is just as good as Alessandro Striplac.

Gel nail polish against split nails

If you ask me, the day gel nail polish got introduced was a very joyful day. As I’ve previously explained I easily get split nails, accordingly I regularly have to file my nails short to limit the damage. I know I can use nail polish without formaldehyde, but sadly this doesn’t help. The only way to wear nail polish longer than 3 days without any nail damage, is by using gel nail polish.

tegen gespleten nagels
Alessandro Striplac

Positive experience

My experience with Alessandro Striplac is very positive. It enables me to wear nail polish for 10 or 14 days without getting split nails. It’s also a big plus that I don’t need to soak off the gel nail polish. I just simply have to peel it off as you can see in the video. Hail to the creator of Striplac!

Essence gel nails at home
Essence gel nails at home

Less expensive

The only downside is that Striplac is quite expensive. Luckily, Essence has a cheaper alternative: Essence gel nails at home.Yet, does cheaper also mean it’s better? Let’s compare.

Essence vs Alessandro

1. The costs 

Let me start with the most important thing: the costs. How much do you have to pay when you want to buy one of the two starter kits?

  • Essence gel nails at home starter kit, including LED lamp: €34,98
  • Alessandro Striplac starter kit, including LED lamp: €98,95

Nail polish: Essence Colour & Go nail polish €1,60 compared to Alessandro Striplac  €16,95.

2. Which one dries quicker?

Alessandro Striplac is more expensive, but it dries in no time. Both the base coat and the gel nail polish is dry within 60 seconds! So within 4 minutes you’ll be able to apply a basecoat, 2 layers of nail polish and a topcoat on one hand. Completely flawless nails in few seconds. You will never ever beat this when you use Essence.

Nagellak irritaties
Black nail polish: Alessandro Striplac | Blue nail polish: Essence colour & go

Essence gel nails at home is significantly cheaper, but it’s still time-consuming. You can only use the LED lamp with the base and topcoat. This will take you 2 minutes. 

Yet, Essence colour & go nail polish is ordinary nail polish and needs to air dry. Using the LED lamp won’t make it dry any faster. As a result, you need to sit still for 10 minutes per layer in order not to ruin your freshly applied nail polish.

Essence colour & go nagellak swatches
Essence colour & go nail polish

3. Peeling it off

Nevertheless, the advantage of Essence gel nails at home as well as Alessandro Striplac is that you can remove it without soaking your nails with gel nail polish remover. This is less damaging to your nails. All you have to do is peel off the nail polish:

To my experience the removal of Alessandro Striplac is easier. In one or two attempts I could easily peel it off . When I tried to peel off Essence I needed several attempts and actually needed to scrape it off as well.

Gel nagellak Essence gel nails at home
Peeled off Essence gel nails at home

I didn’t like this, but it’s probably the result of the fact that only Essence’s basecoat has peel off properties. Essence nail polish and its topcoat don’t have these properties. Alessandro works with a peel off twin coat (basecoat and topcoat in one) and peel off gel nail polish, on the contrary.

Advantage vs disadvantage

However, any advantage has its disadvantage. The fact that Striplac can be peeled off in a minute, also means it can easily comes off when you don’t want it. For instance, if your nails aren’t cleaned properly or if you don’t apply the Striplac twin coat and gel nail polish properly, your nail polish comes off too easily. Not funny when you pay €16.95 for a bottle of nail polish.

Disadvantage vs advantage

Essence gel nail polish is perhaps difficult to remove, but it stays where it needs to stay. Yet, also with Essence gel nails “practice makes perfect” since the Essence’s gel basecoat appears to shrink if you don’t apply it properly.

Does it cause nail damage?

You can only peel off gel nail polish if it actually has a peel off formula. Gellac, Sensationail and OPI Gelcolor for example can’t be peeled off. As far as I know this is only possible with by Alessandro Striplac and Essence gel nails at home.

Gel nagellak Alessandro Striplac
Peeled off Alessandro Striplac

Peeling off gel nail polish may seem scary at first, since it looks like you’ll pull off parts of your nail, but to this date I haven’t experienced any nail damage. The ‘damage’ you see in this picture is no longer visible after a day. Also, my nails remained firm and didn’t get weak after 2 weeks of wearing gel nail polish.

5. Color range & availability

Alessandro Striplac has 48 gel polishes compared to 49 Essence Colour & amp; Go nail polishes. Yet, some nuance is well deserved since this comparison is quite unfair. The Colour & amp; Go nail polishes can’t be classified as gel nail polish because it’s ordinary nail polish. And if you take into account the large amount of ordinary Alessandro nail polish, Alessandro would definitely be the winner.

Alessandro Striplac
Color range Alessandro Striplac

Battle of the drugstores

You can buy Essence at any Kruidvat or Trekpleister store. In contrast, Alessandro Striplac is only available at, Alessandro nail salons and selected drugstores and luxury perfumeries. However, it’s difficult to trace where you can find these luxury drugstores and perfumeries via Alessandro’s website. What a shame!

Essence colour & go kleuren
A part of the Essencenail polish color range

Because I couldn’t figure out which store in Rotterdam sells Striplace, I e-mailed the PR agency for more information. They informed about Parfumerie La Bourse at the Coolsingel. Apparently this is the only place in Rotterdam where you can buy it! In conclusion, Essence is more readily available.

Which one is better?

To conclude, which gel nail polish kit is better? Well, the answer depends on whether you’re into cheap or into speed:

  • Speed: Alessandro Striplac, flawless nails without any damage.
  • Cheap: Essence gel nails at home, affordable and readily available.

My preference

As you may have read between the lines, I rather prefer Alessandro Striplac, mostly because it doesn’t damage my nails and because of the speed you can paint your nails with.This is what I love about gel nail polish and that’s why I mainly use it. Although Essence gel nails at home is cheaper, I dislike the fact that it still takes you hours to paint your nails. And why would you buy a special LED lamp, when you can only use it with a basecoat and topcoat? Wouldn’t it be better to buy the regular Essence peel off basecoat and their gel look topcoat?

Alessandro Stroplac gel nagellak
My personal favourite, yet….

I am very excited about Striplac (call me a fan ), but a major turn off is the fact that it’s scarcely available. I also dislike the Striplac bottles. Because they aren’t transparent, you can’t see what color you actually buy. The label on the bottle gives an indication of the color, but because the actual color may be lighter or darker. Unfortunately, there are few swatches online and also little nail polish wheels or testers available.

Striplac gel nagellak Love Secret
Zoals je kunt zien, wijkt de kleur af van het label.

By the way, you can buy Striplac online. Keep in mind that you have to pay shipping costst when you buy less than €25.

Q |Have you ever tried Essence or Alessandro gel nail polish? Which one do you prefer?

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Clara Knott

Friday 28th of November 2014

Who is this woman saying that she does not like Alessandro's bottles because they are ot transparent so she can ot see the polish colour? Doesn't she know that ALL bottles which cotain gel polish need to be painted as all gel polish dries out with natural light?


Sunday 16th of November 2014

Gel polish nail for Led lamp van een ander merk gebruiken met Essence produkten is een hele goede oplossing. Op het nagellak flesje moet wel duidelijk vermeld worden dat je de lak kan gebruiken met een led lamp.Essence produkten inderdaad gemakkelijker te vinden en goedkoop. Het verwijderen door te "pellen" blijft handig omdat de base coat van Essence dus een peel off produkt is. PS. heb Striplac nog niet geprobeerd.


Thursday 2nd of October 2014

De striplac ken ik niet dus snel kopen en het eens proberen ;-)


Friday 3rd of October 2014

Ik ben helemaal fan! Geen vervelende gespleten nagels meer en nagellak dat dagenlang blijft glanzen zonder dat ik er minuten stil voor moet zitten. Love it!


Thursday 2nd of October 2014

Gel nail polish: Alessandro Striplac vs Essence Gel Nails

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