Monday, August 3, 2015

Mani Monday: Put Your (Top)Coat On

Part of being a noob at doing your nails is thinking you don't really need topcoat. I myself used to think just that way. And you know what? My nail polish didn't last for shit. If you want your manicure to stand even a snowball's chance in hell of lasting a week, ya gotta add some protection over that pretty color.

I've used a number of different topcoats in the past six years, and I'm here to give you my thoughts on them so you don't have to waste your hard-earned dough, yo.

Seche Vite
Have you heard of this one? Of course you have. This is the be-all, end-all of quick drying top coats. Super shiny, crystal clear, dries in mere minutes. No matter how many different formulas I try in search of the perfect at-home manicure, this is the one I always come back to for its incomparable ability to hit all my musts. Careful, though, this sucker tends to get super thick in the bottle once you're about halfway through, and if you apply it before you've let your color dry enough, you will get craaaaaaazy bubbling. There, I just saved you the learning curve.

Orly In a Snap
Personally, I don't think Orly gets quite enough love as a brand, especially considering how wide the range of products is. That being said, this is not my favorite topper. Yes, it does dry quickly, but that's where the buck stops. The finish tends to dull pretty quickly, and I don't notice any advantages in its ability to prevent chipping over a few days. It's good in a pinch, but instead, I think you should go for...

Orly Sec'n Dry
I greatly prefer this to any of Orly's other offerings in this category. It claims to add shine and resist chipping, all while reaching down through your layers of polish and drying them all. By and large, it makes good, although I can't speak as well to the last one because I really like to give my polish time to dry a bit between layers. It's not as shiny as the Seche Vite, but it wins the not getting weird-in-the-bottle contest.

Julep Freedom Polymer Top Coat
(Not Pictured) If you wanted to spend a stupid amount of money on a topcoat, you could give this one a try. As a long time Maven, I've gotten this a couple of times in my box, and I don't hate it. Its one big drawback is that you have to cure it under either natural light or a light bulb to get it to dry. What I actually tend to do is use a quick dry top coat underneath this to make sure nothing moves while I'm trying to cure it. All told, this gives a fantastic shine and a nice hard sheet of armor to protect your precious nailsies, but the steep price keeps it at more "fun toy" than "absolute necessity."

Honorable Mention
Essie Gel Effect Top Coat
I can't offer a full recommendation of this yet, as I'm just now trying Essie's new release for the first time, but thus far, the shininess factor is undeniable. I'll keep you updated when I've made a full assessment of its pros and cons, but it looks like it might be a real winner.

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