Even though my nail polish collecting days are behind me, there are still some staple products that I hold on to for my at-home manicure and pedicure to get perfect nails. I actually remember my very first ‘serious’ top coat purchase—it was Orly’s Top2Bottom base coat and top coat in one. To be honest, a two-in-one is a great purchase if you’re on the fence about needing a top coat in the first place. However, if you SERIOUSLY want to make your nail polish last longer, you’ll want a separate top coat and base coat.
What is a top coat (and how does it give me perfect nails)?
1) It makes your manicure last longer
2) It helps your nails dry faster
3) It can make your manicure look like gel
4) It smooths over any application mistakes
5) It makes your at-home nail art look pro
Which top coat is best?
Seche Vite Top Coat Review
Seche Vite Dry Fast top coat is a classic— as a nail polish blogger, I saw it being recommended again and again, so I thought I’d give it a go. There’s a good reason it comes so highly recommended—I don’t think I’ve ever had my nails look so much like gel before. However, it thickens very quickly and requires the Seche Restore brand thinner to use it again due to Seche Vite’s unique formula. Aside from this, it only has two cons (or one, depending on your perspective).
Essie Good to Go Review
Essie Good to Go is one of my original favorites—I used this before Essie released their Gel Setter Top Coat, and I think it’s one of their first fast-drying top coats. I used this so long ago that I think the packaging has changed twice since I started to use it!
Essie Gel Setter Review
I was really curious about this one when it was released because at the time, I was such a fan of the existing Essie Good to Go top coat—so I wondered how Essie Gel Setter could be even better. There was a big trend of nail polish brands adding ‘gel’ to their top coats—the thing is, these aren’t real gel top coats. They’re just making claims about making your regular nail polish look and last as long as gel.
Sally Hansen Big Shiny Top Coat
I was actually sent this one in a PR parcel yonks ago, and I gotta say I used it up until the last drop. I really, really liked the Sally Hansen Big Shiny Top Coat. It was Big, Shiny, and quick-drying—and easy to get and cheap. What’s not to love? I know, it seems like I don’t have a lot to say about this one, but at a certain point if a top coat claims that it’s shiny, it dries fast, and it lasts for at least a week, it speaks for itself (and it’s a tick in my book).
Essence The Gel Top Coat
I actually have a post reviewing this top coat, but I think it’s worth adding to this roundup list. It’s another cheap and cheerful top coat that just works. It ticks all the boxes for me: I get at least a week of chip-free wear, it’s beautifully shiny, and it dries fast. That’s all I ask for in a quick dry top coat to give me perfect nails.