A while ago I went to a fancy dress party as Alice in Wonderland and was in search of the perfect red nail varnish. I knew I had a few different shades at home but at this point I was (and still am) a little obsessed with the Gelly range by Barry M. I picked up their slightly misleadingly named 'Blood Orange' red shade and then realised once I got home and compared it to my other rouge toned varnishes that it was basically exactly the same as one I already had from Essie - doh!
The main reason I didn't return it however is because of the different formula. While Essie's 'Aperitif' is a classic 3 shades and you're golden job, with the Barry M Gelly range you can get away with a one coat super glossy manicure. In both cases the shade is a slightly orange toned red and that isn't where the similarities end. They also have very similar brushes in width and design, with Essie's being just a little more square.
If you are on a budget or looking for a fuss free and quick mani then go for the dupe. But if you do have those extra pennies and time or are just a bit of a nail varnish snob then the Essie is fabulous too. There is something luxe and special about applying an Essie polish and I'm pleased to have it part of my collection. The formula is a little more easy to control as it is thinner and therefore means you can build up more layers and have in theory a longer lasting paint job.
Two reds for two different occasions - which would you pick? xxx