My Current Base & Top Coats

7:45 PM Laura 14 Comments

All right folks! So just in case anyone cares, I'm going to tell you about the base and top coats I'm currently using. I usually switch them out every time I run out since I haven't found that holy grail combination yet, but I think I'm getting close! *knocks on wood*

First up: base coat.

Sally Hansen Advanced Hard as Nails Nylon + Retinol Strengthener

So, I decided it might be good to use something strengthening since my nails are square. For whatever reason, square nails tend to be a little weaker and the sides break off a lot. But I really don't like the look of oval nails on myself so I'm not changing the shape.

Anyway, it's supposed to be more of a treatment, really, but I've been using it as a base coat. As far as I can tell, it's working. I've had less side-tearing since I've started using it, which was a few weeks ago, I'm pretty sure. 

It doesn't really do much as far as staining, but that's okay with me since my nails are always polished anyway.

It dries really fast, which is always a plus.  My right hand is always dry and ready for liftoff when I finish my left hand.

It's also on the thin side which I like in a base coat, it's really easy and smooth to apply.

Overall verdict: A-. I like this one, I'll probably still look around after I run out to see if there's anything else out there but this is doing a good job.

And now: top coat.

Out the Door

I thought I'd try this since I was looking for a fast-drying top coat and I didn't want to try Seche Vite. I don't know why I'm so resistant to Seche Vite, but from what I hear some people love it and some people hate, and I didn't want to take the chance.

First of all, it's a good consistency. It's just the right thickness, I like my topcoats to be smooth and on the thick side of a good formula. 

It dries reasonably quickly, I wouldn't say it's SUPER fast drying but it's definitely fast enough. My first hand is dry to the touch after I finish my second hand, and completely dry in under a minute.

I think it dries very nice and shiny. Maybe not as shiny as Seche, but it is nice and smooth and shiny. I love the feeling of smooth, shiny nails. 

The wear isn't phenomenal, but wrapping the tips definitely helps. Of course I don't wear polish for longer than a day (excluding dire circumstances) so that's all right for me. 

I really like it. It dries fast and shiny and generally gives good wear.

Overall verdict: A-. Eventually I will probably succumb to the Seche, but this gets the job done very well!

What base and top coats do you use? Anything you're in love with that I should try?


  1. I'll be trying that base coat! It's from a cheap brand and is supposed to be healthy for my nails? Sold! hopeful this won't cause bubbling half way through the bottle, like my base coat does now!

  2. If you want to try another one before finally giving in to Seche I suggest using Cult Nail's Wicked Fast top coat...Its new and I love it! I think I like it more then doesnt have that strong odor that Seche has and it dries fast and super shiny...I like the Get It On base coat from Cult Nails should check it out.. I think now till Thursday its free shipping!

  3. My nails started to peel and break easily, so I started using rejuvacote for my base again for a week, then I'm going to go back to my Julep nail strengthener, and my top coat is SV. I used to use OTD but it got really gloopy and stringy on me, so I switched to SV and never looked back lol.

  4. Retinol in a base coat??? Wrinkles on the nail beds need fixing? I am not getting that part. I have used Out the Door and liked it - but went back to mostly SV.

  5. Oh - and I really love the look of almond shaped nails. Mine just naturally grow that shape

  6. I think I might give the sally hansen one a try... I have been using sally hansen's triple strong advanced gel nail fortifier. My nails have grown so much since using it. I also really like it for a top coat aswell it is soo shiny and feels like my nails are strong

  7. I think the problem people have with Seche-is they don't apply it immediately to very wet polish-people tend to wait a few minutes before putting it on and then in 24 hrs it peels off in one sheet-happened to me all the time til I googled it and found out what I'm doing wrong.

    First I use my Trind nail repair, then CND stickey base coat, then either Seche top coat or Nails Inc top coat depending on the polish brand. Then the next day and there after I use CND super shiney to keep my mani super shiny!

    And yes I have already failed my no buy TWICE-how can you pass up a BOGO from Zoya???

  8. I still haven't found my holy grail top coat, but I really liked Sinful Colors fast drying top coat. It dried pretty fast and lasted long.

  9. I've tried that Sally Hansen before and used it for years, but now I've completely switched over to Zoya. And I just don't want to shop around anymore. Since my primary focus is usually not my nails, I just like having something that works decently and is reliable.

  10. I change them up as well. Right now I'm using Orly nail fortifier and seche vite but I do like out the door for a cheaper alternative!

  11. @Suiling: Hmm, I might have to check it out! I've heard lots of good things about Cult.

    @beachgal: I'm not sure what the retinol is for, lol. I don't question these things. I like oval/almond nails on other people, but for whatever reason I just don't like them on myself.

    @Fingers: Yeah, I know you have to apply Seche while polish is still wet, which is just kind of annoying to me. I like top coat that I can apply to wet or dry polish. The BOGO sale is definitely tempting but I've actually fulfilled most of my dire Zoya lemmings! Although who knows, I might give in anyway.

    @Larie: I've never tried the Zoya base/top coats but I've heard good things about them. It's good to find a brand that works!

  12. I quit using Sally Hansen base/top coats because they get so goopy. I like Seche vite's drying time, but not its ingredients. OTD is sucktastic on me, because it actually makes my nails take longer to dry and more prone to smudging. I used it once and had wet nails still 5 hours later. I just tried Nubar Diamont for the first time this week, and I'm in love. I think I'll be buying the refill bottle from their website. For base coat, I find that I like Nubar Porcelain base coat and Poshe base coat. Both are really quick drying.

  13. I was a diehard SV user for a year, but it didn't make my manis last AT ALL [even when I applied it wet], & it gets unusably thick halfway through the bottle. So I use Revlon's quick dry top coat for most manis, & Nails Inc Kensington Caviar top coat for really thick manis. Love them both:]


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