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Top Coat Challenge – Zoya Armor

It’s no secret that I’m a fan of Zoya polishes. Not only because they are a local Cleveland family owned business but because they make an excellent polish with an incredible range of colors.

Unfortunately, not everyone shares my opinion. I’ve read complaints about wear. I’ve even heard it from my own nail tech and esthetician. The main issue is that the polish peels within a day or two of application. However, that seems to be that case more often when using a quick dry top coat like Seche Vite.

I guess I’ve been fortunate to never have this issue when using my usual combo of Creative Super Shiney top coat with Qtica 1/2 Time drying drops. Though I started thinking about this as it’s not just an issue for people using Seche Vite.

After speaking with reps from both Zoya and Nubar, it makes sense that using a non-Big 3 Free top and base coat with a Big 3 Free polish would cause peeling, bubbling or shrinkage (pre-mature pulling back from nail edge). So I decided to give the entire Zoya family of products a trial run to test the theory. I used Zoya Anchor base coat, Zoya Sweet nail lacquer, Zoya Armor top coat and Zoya Hurry Up quick drying drops. Here are the results after 5 days of wear.


As the pictures show, there was very little tip wear after 5 days and no chipping. Even though Armor took a little longer to dry than the popular quick dry top coats, I still didn’t have to wait more than 30 minutes before I could function. I may have even waited too long, I was just being cautious. In fact, I did this mani before bed and woke up with no sheet marks, just pure glossiness.

So for those of you out there that gave up on Zoya polishes or haven’t tried them because of performance reviews, I would suggest giving them a try with a Big 3 Free base and top coat of your choosing. I hope you get the same results I did.

**** UPDATE – After speaking with a rep from Zoya it turns out that ingredient that is causing peeling problems for people is CELLULOSE ACETATE BUTYRATE. “Zoya lacquer will not adhere to base coats containing it. Top coats containing it must be formulated carefully to not cause problems when used with Zoya lacquer.”

Additionally, I must make a correction. Poshe is Big 3 Free which is why I haven’t experienced peeling when using it.

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  1. Zoya Promo! « Lacquer Life | June 22, 2011
  1. Anonymous says:

    Interesting results. I’ve never bought any zoyas just because I can’t seem to find them except at salons for very high prices.

    By the way, Poshe quick dry topcoat is Big Bad 3 Free. It says it on the bottle. I believe the Poshe basecoat is as well.
    So would zoyas work with these?

    Where do you buy armour and anchor?

    Will you be testing out Orly Bonder as well? This is my usual basecoat.

  2. Anonymous says:

    What do you mean “big,bad three”?

    You can order zoya online for five and a half bucks.

  3. Anonymous says:

    ok. I have just discovered Hoofer’s Choice topcoat. it is actually used for horses. the only problem that i am wondering: is it really supposed to be that thick? i have returned like 3 bottles now, thinking it was really old sitting on the shelf. But, people that use it swear by it (sort of like udder crem and horse shampoo). if it works for horses, it should work for us too, right? please let me know about the consistency! thanks

  4. Anonymous says:

    I’ve been getting great wear from Zoya polish; I’ve only used Zoya base coat and top coat with it. I can go a full week with the same polish, but occasionally tiny chips happen at day 4-5, but the mani still looks very good overall for the entire week. When I change polish at the 3-4 day mark, I never had a chip. I have not tried Zoya with other base or top coats.

  5. Agrestic says:

    i’ve used rimmel’s “stronger” BC & “faster” TC successfully with zoya. i haven’t attempted it with all of the colours but they’ve worked w/ the ones i’ve tested thus far. the ingredients are not listed on rimmel’s bottles so i can not tell you what is in them. perhaps the ingredients are on their website?

    • nnua says:

      Hello, here’s the ingredients list for

      Rimmel STRONGER WITH LYCRA

      BUTYL ACETATE, ETHYL ACETATE,
      NITROCELLULOSE, ACETYL TRIBUTYL CITRATE,
      ADIPIC ACID/NEOPENTYL GLYCOL/TRIMELLITIC
      ANHYDRIDE COPOLYMER, ISOPROPYL ALCOHOL,
      POLYETHYLMETHACRYLATE, AMYL ACETATE,
      STEARALKONIUM HECTORITE, POLYBUTYLENE
      GLYCOL/MDI COPOLYMER, POLYVINYL BUTYRAL,
      METHYL PYROLLIDONE, DIAMOND POWDER,
      BENZOPHENONE-1, MEK, CALCIUM
      PANTOTHENATE, PANTHENOL, TOCOPHERYL
      ACETATE, RETINYL PALMITATE, PHOSPHORIC ACID,
      WATER (AQUA). [+/- (MAY CONTAIN): MICA,
      TITANIUM DIOXIDE (CI 77891), D&C RED NO. 6
      BARIUM LAKE (CI 15850), D&C VIOLET NO. 2
      (CI 60725), FD&C YELLOW NO. 5 (CI 19140)].
      INGREDIENTS

      There is another formulation with Rimmel STRONGER WITH LYCRA + MINERALS

      BUTYL ACETATE, ETHYL ACETATE,
      NITROCELLULOSE, ACETYL TRIBUTYL CITRATE,
      ADIPIC ACID/NEOPENTYL GLYCOL/TRIMELLITIC
      ANHYDRIDE COPOLYMER, ISOPROPYL ALCOHOL,
      POLYETHYLMETHACRYLATE, AMYL ACETATE,
      POLYBUTYLENE GLYCOL/MDI COPOLYMER,
      POLYVINYL BUTYRAL, STEARALKONIUM
      HECTORITE, METHYL PYRROLIDONE, DIAMOND
      POWDER, BENZOPHENONE-1, MEK, CALCIUM
      PANTOTHENATE, PANTHENOL, TOCOPHERYL
      ACETATE, RETINYL PALMITATE, STYRENE/
      ACRYLATES COPOLYMER, PHOSPHORIC ACID,
      AQUA/WATER/EAU. [MAY CONTAIN/PEUT
      CONTENIR/+/-: MICA, TITANIUM DIOXIDE ( CI 77891),
      D&C RED NO.6 BARIUM LAKE (CI 15850), D&C
      VIOLET NO.2 (CI 60725), FD&C YELLOW NO.5
      (CI 19140)].

      Taken from Rimmel UK website, downloadable ingredients sheet for their nail polishes.

  6. Lee says:

    Cincy,

    I love Zoya polish and tried out the armor/anchor combo with terrible results. I painted my nails Morgan and when I removed the polish (after 6 days good wear) my nails are NEON orange!! What an AWFUL basecoat! I can’t even imagine what I would be facing if I were to paint Raven or god forbid something like Norra or Yasmeen!! I will suffer the peeling rather than have to walk around with NEON orange nails that will now have to be covered :( Guess that ends any sheers for me for a while!

    • Kris says:

      I know this is old, but I wanted to comment anyway – I’ve used Raven over the Zoya base coat and had no problems at all with staining. And that was actually after repeated manicures with Raven because I had my nails the same for a few weeks in a row. (Sports team thing.)

  7. Kira says:

    Poshe is NOT big 3 free (B3F) … only big 2 free. They contain Phthalate (plasticizers that can mimic hormones).

    The only true B3F base I’ve found is Opi Nail Envy Sensitive & Peeling Formaldehyde free.

    The only B3F top coats I’ve found are: Creative Nail Design Air Dry and Creative Nail Design Dry & Shine. Their SolarSpeed Spray is also B3F.

    I’ve been unable to find any MSDS for Zoya, and their ingredients aren’t listed, so I have no idea if their base and tops are B3F. BUT: Orly, Poshe, most Opi, China Glaze, etc. are not B3F. Look for the following ingredients: xxxx Phthalate (there are a bunch of Phthalate compounds), toluene, Formaldehyde or Formaldehyde resin (especially in the nail treatment category, not so much in the lacquer category).

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