If there’s one product question I get more than any other, it’s about what Top Coat I use. As a blogger, I’m constantly testing new products so, my answer can change on a daily basis. However, I do have certain go-tos that I reach for over and over again and these five are the best top coats in my current rotation.
For Nail Art
There is nothing worse than spending time and effort on a nail art look, only to have it smeared by your top coat. I know, it happened to me recently. That’s what I get for not using the newest addition to my top coat arsenal, HK Girl.
Seriously, you guys, it’s what I wished Seche Vite would be. I know it’s like sacrilege to not be on #TeamSecheVite but I just can’t with it. The thickening halfway through, the need for thinner, the shrinkage. It shouldn’t be that hard, people. HK Girl has the amazing application, gloss and wear of Seche Vite without the struggle.
For Long-Lasting Wear
Rock Top Coat by European Secrets ($7.99, SallyBeauty.com)
I’ve recommended this top coat to friends more than any other since I first tried it over a year ago. And every single person has loved it as much as I do. I discovered Rock Top Coat thanks to a Facebook comment and it’s seriously amazing. If you want your polish to last and remain super glossy, buy this!
What’s unique about Rock is that, like the CND VINYLUX Top Coat, it’s UV activated. So, while you don’t need a UV lamp to dry it, daily UV exposure (through natural or artificial light) will harden the top coat over time. This results in nails that don’t dull and an impressive wear. It is a thin formula with a stiff brush so it’s not the best for use over nail art but, for everything else, it wins!!
When You Are In A Rush
This is one of my fave “ain’t nobody got time for that!” cheater methods. When I’m rushing out the door, more than usual, I pull out the Seche Ultra-V. 3 minutes per hand in a UV lamp with this top coat and I’m good to reach in my purse and click on my seat belt without the boyfriend’s assistance.
For use over regular nail polish, Seche Ultra-V is activated by UV to penetrate the layers and completely dry your polish in no time flat. Yes, it requires the purchase of a UV lamp, which I had prior, but the mini Seche one is relatively affordable, compared to salon versions. If you’re concerned about UV exposure, apply sunscreen to your hands.
If You Don’t Own a UV/LED Lamp
Nails Inc Kensignton Caviar Top Coat ($11, Sephora.com)
I first raved about this top coat when I tried it at Cosmoprof, before it was even carried in the US. And even though I’m a huge fan, I filed it away during an office cleanup and kind of forgot about it. Recently, I’ve been purging my Helmers which led me to re-discovering this quick drying gem.
The product claims a 45-second dry time and it’s no joke. The thin formula glides easily on the nail and you really can rub your nail polish in under a minute without leaving a smudge or dent.
For Swatching and a High Gloss Finish
A recent addition to the Sally Hansen lineup, Big Shiny Top Coat is part of a whole new “Big” collection of top coats and effects. They even make one (Big Smoky) that mimics the Dior Rock Coat.
The bottle has a flat, wide brush that makes it easy to float top coat over the nail. I love the thin consistency and high gloss sheen. It doesn’t dry as fast as other quick dry polishes but I like that. When I have the time, I always opt for a thin, slower drying top coat as I feel that thinner layers result in less chipping and tip wear.
What top coats are you currently loving? Have you tried any of my favorites?