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Top Coat Challenge

Top Coat Challenge – Poshe

By on August 31, 2007
in Top Coat Challenge with 2 Comments

And now another chapter in the never ending journey that is the Top Coat Challenge. At bat, Poshe Super-Fast Drying TopCoat. Poshe has been a favorite of mine for quite some time now. I consider it a holy grail item in the realm of quick drying top coats.

As with the last challenge I posted for Seche Vite I tried different polish/base coat combos with CND Stickey and Zoya Anchor bases and Nocti and China Glaze (old formula) polishes. Here is how it fared…

In terms of application, Poshe has a thinner consistency than Seche Vite making it easier to work with. It gives me more brush time to make sure I’ve covered my entire nail. It dries just as quick and leaves the same glossy finish. There’s a reason it’s been named an Allure Editor’s Pick five times now.

Right off the bat I could see that I got less pullback or tip shrinkage with Stickey as a base coat, regardless of the polish formula, the Nocti holding up the best. Oh and ignore that unsightly dent in the first picture, that’s just a UBI (Unidentified Beer Injury). Overall Poshe reduced chipping and tip wear when paired with Stickey.


Using Zoya Anchor (misprint in first pic) with Poshe didn’t work out as well but I’d say it’s on par if not better than the Anchor/Seche Vite combo I tested. My nails were still glossy after 5 days and tip wear was typical not extreme. It’s not my top choice of base coat to use with Poshe but it’s certainly adequate.


Now this review was not intended to knock Seche Vite but simply to compare the two. For me personally, Poshe is the clear winner but everyone has different experiences. It seems there are two camps, Poshe fans and Seche Vite fans. Use what works for you and rock your gorgeous nails.

I pick up Poshe top coat at Sally Beauty Supply (get a discount with a Sally card) and online retailers but it’s also been spotted at Big Lots from time to time. The top coat does tend to thicken with use but they do make a thinner as does Seche. Poshe top coat is toluene and formaldehyde free.

Top Coat Challenge – Seche Vite

By on July 20, 2007
in Top Coat Challenge with 24 Comments

I apologize for getting so behind with my Top Coat Challenge reviews. It’s more work than I expected so I’ll be extending the challenge into August. I’m going to try and cover all the favorites from the drugstore and salon brands.

Next up Seche Vite. Seche, pronounced “Se-Shay”, Vite is a unique top coat in that is thicker than most yet it dries in 5 minutes. It leaves a glossy finish but can be tricky to apply. There is a technique to applying Seche Vite and if you don’t do it correctly, you’ll end up with mixed results.

From the Seche website:
“Seche Viteâ„¢ is unique in its application over wet nail polish. Make sure there is a nice bead at the end of the brush before application over wet nail polish as it must be applied thick, but not too thick.

Apply thickly, get a nice bead on the end of the brush, then set softly down on the first nail painted and watch how Seche Vite flows over the wet nail polish self levels and will not drag or streak the underlying manicure. It takes time to master the application and when perfected it is possible to apply in only three strokes…keep trying. Seche Vite will naturally thicken so make sure to keep the neck of the bottle clean and tight at all times and if it gets stringy add a few drops of Seche Restore and roll the bottle slowly adding additional drops until consistency is fully restored.”

I tested Seche Vite in four different trials. I used different combinations of Zoya Anchor (Big 3 Free) and Creative Stickey base coats with Nocti (Big 3 Free) and China Glaze polishes. I wanted to see if having toluene in the base coat or nail color made a difference in Seche Vite’s performance.

The before and after pictures were taken in different lighting so please ignore the color differences. These photos should not be considered color accurate.




The results: Overall Seche Vite performed best when used with Stickey as a base coat. There was no chipping and less tip wear. I just wish that Seche Vite was easier to apply. You have to brush it on so quick and accurate that it’s easy to have missed spots on the sides of your nail. And if you apply too much, you end up with it on your cuticles and crusted up in the crevice next to your nail. For me, I only use Seche Vite when I’m in a hurry. I feel there are better top coats if you have the time to wait.

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.

Top Coat Challenge – NYX Oasis

By on July 3, 2007
in Blue, NYX, Top Coat Challenge with 3 Comments

In considering the best Big 3 Free base coat to use for the challenge, I excitedly ordered from the new NYX Oasis line. I couldn’t wait to try out Smoothie, their ridge filling base coat, along with NYX Oasis Gloss It Up and Wear n’ Tear top coats.

Unfortunately, my excitement died as soon as I started to apply them. I included my holy grail base coat, Creative Stickey, in the trial in combination with the two top coats.

I originally did a manicure using NYX Carol (not pictured) but my nails took forever to dry and I ended up with massive dents and ripples. The second day, I decided to give them a second chance with NYX South Sea.

I knew I was in for trouble when Smoothie immediately started bubbling on my nail. As much as I love NYX polishes and as gorgeous as South Sea is, it couldn’t make the bubbles disappear. I then alternated in applying the two top coats and waited for them to dry. I waited almost an hour and during that time, the bubbles you see below surfaced. I went to bed and woke up the next morning to find ripples from my sheets in addition to the bubbles. Which is what you see pictured below.

So, even though I will continue to be a loyal user of NYX lacquer, I can not recommend Gloss It Up, Wear n’ Tear or Smoothie.

Top Coat Challenge

By on July 3, 2007
in Top Coat Challenge with 0 Comments

Ok, so it’s a couple days after the first but July is officially Top Coat Challenge month. I’ve been testing different drugstore and salon brand top coats and I’ll be reporting my findings throughout the month.

The first two tests weren’t as scientific as the rest but I think I’ve found a method that you all will find helpful. Here’s how it will work…

For each top coat I test, I will be wearing it over combinations of a Big 3 Free base coat (Zoya Anchor) & lacquer and a regular base coat (Creative Stickey) and lacquer. Each test run will last 5 days, the length of the average natural mani.

I’ll be reviewing not only the wear but the drying time, shine, etc. Of course, I’ll be posting before and after pics as well. So let’s get started…

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