Best Nail Top & Base Coats Reviewed

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In a Hurry? Editors choice:
1. Seche Vite Dry Fast
Test Winner: 1. Seche Vite Dry Fast

Nails coats or in other terms, top and base coats are two important manicure tools you should use. And seeing as both of them are complementary to each other, you can only boost effectiveness when you use both together (with no side effects). Because without the other, one can only last for so long. In fact, a perfect comparison for this is building a house.

You need a good foundation (base coats) after which you can then start the construction of a big fine house (top coats and others) on top of it. Doing this ensures longevity and a gorgeous glossy look/design for your manicure.

So, on that front, we’ve compiled a list of the best nail top and base coats that will give you the aforementioned results, yours is to choose which one you prefer.

Seche Vite Top Coat
  • Seche Vite Top Coat
  • 5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Fast Dry
  • Price: See Here
CND Vinylux Top Coat
  • CND Vinylux Top Coat
  • 4.6 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Long Lasting
  • Price: See Here
Essie to Go
  • Essie to Go
  • 4.3 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Easy Peel
  • Price: See Here

Skip to the Best Nail Base Coats →

6 Best Top Nail Coats

1. Seche Vite Dry Fast

1. Seche Vite Dry Fast
The number one best top nail coat we've reviewed is the Seche Vite Top Nail Coat. It has a classy look that is perfect for people who want that extra shine (and most people want it). We particularly loved it! It also doesn't stain and its application is simple (with its functional brush) since all you have to do is apply it thickly on your nail and it dries up fast.

The device as we noticed secures your colour polish and offers chip-resistance which adds a little to the lifespan. Though, it doesn't mean the longevity couldn't have been better since it starts chipping after a few days.
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Features and Specifications

  • Fast dry
  • A single durable coating
  • Does not stain (yellow)

Price

Exceptional bang for buck. The product is easily the best in terms of functions and pricing since you're getting much more than you bargained for.

Conclusion

Regardless of the budget, the Seche Vite Top Nail Coat is a must-have for anyone with a want for a glossy and creamy look. Also, the product is highly powerful as it comfortably fulfills the most important part of its job - which is aesthetics.

Pros
  • Fast dry
  • Doesn't stain
  • Exceptional value for money
  • Easy application
Cons
  • Lifespan could have been better

2. CND Vinylux

2. CND Vinylux
A very close rival to the throne of the best top nail coat is the CND Vinylux Weekly Top Coat. As the second best nail coat on this list, it certainly delivers exceptional results. And that is regardless of the polish you use it with. In terms of speed, expect a few minutes of drying time which although isn't close to the Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Nail Coat, is still fast. Nonetheless, due to the enhancements in nail durability and chip resistance, longevity is an area where it stays unbeaten.
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Features and Specifications

  • High durability
  • Chip resistance
  • Fast drying time

Price

If the CND Vinylux Weekly Top Coat had a mediocre lifespan, the price would have been good. But now as the lifespan is remarkable, the product has exceptional value for money.

Conclusion

If you're the type who doesn't like fussing about manicure because you simply lack the time, then you'll love the CND Vinylux Weekly Top Coat because of its incredible lifespan. And that's taking into consideration the fact that it lacks lustre on the level of other base coat products on this list.

Pros
  • Incredible lifespan
  • Fast drying time
  • Remarkable value for money
  • Eye-catching
Cons
  • It lacks lustre

3. Essie Good To Go

3. Essie Good To Go
The Essie Good To Go Top Coat is just beautiful. With easy application and a glossy and creamy aftereffect, it has what it takes to compete with the previous products on this list. It dries remarkably fast and is highly versatile despite any claim. Also, one thing you'll love about the coat is that it enhances nail durability, which makes it highly chip resistant. This makes it similar to the previous CND product on this list in terms of lifespan.
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Features and Specifications

  • Drying time is short
  • High durability
  • Chip resistance
  • Gloss

Price

Price for sheer usability makes excellent value for money in regards to the Essie Good To Go Top Coat. Though its value is not as good as the previous two. But for that kind of blended features, it's a win-win situation for anyone considering it.

Conclusion

This particular essie product has blended the most noticeable features of the previous two items on this list together. Short time for drying and sheer lifespan makes it one of the best top nail coat product money can buy.

Pros
  • Highly durable nails
  • Glossy and creamy
  • Chip resistance
  • Good value for money
Cons
  • Slightly chips in some cases

4. CND Shellac Original

4. CND Shellac Original
Combining class, and gloss, with durability, and chip resistance led to the existence of the CND Shellac Original Top Coat. This easy to apply top coat product is specifically built to complement any and all manicure foundation you've built. The way it dries quickly at the expense of none of its functions is one advantage you won't be able to do without after some use.

Now, history says durability and chip resistance leads to excellent lifespan. And this product itself is no exception as it has a remarkable lifespan of up to two weeks of classy glossy look.
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Features and Specifications

  • Quick drying
  • Excellent lifespan
  • Negligible smell

Price

The value for money could definitely be better, especially when you take into consideration the previous products. Though, do note that the product is highly functional for that price. But we'll mention it once again - it's not the best we've seen in terms of pricing and value.

Conclusion

Provided you have a flexible budget and you simply prefer the CND Shellac Original Top Coat to other nail top coats on this list, then you should certainly give it a buy. Its classy and creamy look will definitely make up for its somewhat hefty price.

Pros
  • Excellent lifespan
  • Neutral scent
  • Quick drying
  • Aesthetically sound
Cons
  • Value for money is underwhelming

5. OPI

5. OPI
OPI as a manufacturer has a credible history of producing beauty care items that guarantee great user experience. And with credible history comes useful experience. The result is the OPI Top Coat Nail Polish which is a direct competitor to the Serche top coat in regards to its aesthetically pleasing results. The product upon application quickly dries and offers different benefits. And the most remarkable one that we particularly tested was the protection it offers. Your nails won't chip, split or break and colour polish will last longer too.
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Features and Specifications

  • Short drying time
  • High-durability
  • Chip-resistance
  • Gloss

Price

It has a good balance of value and price. Albeit when you consider it to the other products on this list, the value could be better. Consequently, users on a mildly strict budget might be turned off by this.

Conclusion

The OPI Top Coat Nail Polish is a product with big claims of great user experience, and after we tested it, they weren't bluffing. So, if you need effectiveness and beauty inside a bottle, pick this because you won't go wrong.

Pros
  • Short drying time
  • Glossy
  • Nail strengthener
  • Easy application
Cons
  • Strong scent

6. Sally Hansen

6. Sally Hansen
If you love a top coat that gives a smooth hard finish and a highly glossy/creamy look, then you'll adore the Sally Hansen Big Kwik Dry Top Nail Coat. It can be used for increased colour punch (quality) which also helps in retaining the colour longer.

Just a minimal application of the liquid gives high durability and anti-chip capabilities that will comfortably last you a reasonable time. Also, you have to buy it to witness its fast drying time. Which comes at nil expense to any of the aforementioned benefits.
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Features and Specifications

  • Dries super fast
  • Resists chipping
  • High gloss finish
  • Increases colour quality

Price

Reliability coupled with many functions gives a value that is a direct competitor with other more expensive top coats products. Or in other terms, we can say the Sally Hansen Big Kwik Dry Top Nail Coat has exceptional value for money.

Conclusion

Regardless if you're on a budget or not, the Sally Hansen Big Kwik Dry Top Nail Coat is a perfect fit for your needs. Upon application, it provides your nails with durability which ensures good lifespan and also a glossy aftereffect that is on par with other more expensive top coat products.

Pros
  • Super fast drying
  • Exceptional value for money
  • Strong gloss
  • Makes colours more radiant
Cons
  • Chip-resistance is good but could be better

6 Best Nail Base Coats

7. UNT Peelable

7. UNT Peelable
The foundation or better yet known as nail base coats are the ones you build your top coats and polish upon. And the number one product that is suitable for this is the UNT Ready Peelable Base Coat. The product upon application quickly gets to work by hardening the nails against chips, filling in the nail ridges, and preventing discolouration.

Hardening leads to your nails' longevity, filling ridges gives a smooth appearance and feel, and prevention of discolouration is simply for aesthetics. Also, after usage, you'll notice that it can be easily and completely peeled off together with a coloured nail polish and top coat.
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Features and Specifications

  • Smoothens nail ridges
  • Enhances polish lifespan
  • Prevention of discolouration
  • Easily peeled off with polish

Price

The value for money could be better but luckily its reliability/functions don't disappoint. As a result of that, it should perfectly fit into your repertoire of beauty products. Provided, of course, you're not on a strict budget.

Conclusion

The UNT Ready Peelable Base Coat is number one for a reason, and that's mostly due to its reliability. The product claims to be a nail strengthener which can be easily peeled off after a top coat and polish have been used. And it remarkably didn't fail us in that regard, and hence why we advise you to try it out too.

Pros
  • Ensures good lifespan for polish
  • Prevents discolouration
  • Easily peeled off
  • Smoothens nail ridges
  • Drying time is very short
Cons
  • Value for money is ok but could be better

8. CND Base

8. CND Base
The CND Shellac Base Coat is an excellent choice after the UNT Peelable Base Coat. One reason why that is so is the fact that it comes from a reputable company that has made it their goal to ensure good user experience through their products. The item is a good base coat that needs UV light for application - which might be inconvenient for some people. Also, you'll find the base coat strong, solid, and ready to be peeled off with both the polish and top coat at a moment's notice. Though, do bear in mind that this doesn't mean it's weak, just that it's at your pace/leisure.
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Features and Specifications

  • Easily peeled
  • Prevents discolouration
  • Ensures longevity by maintaining polish and top coat

Price

It is the most expensive base coat product on this list. So, it has excellent value but the money could have been lesser—which makes it unsuitable for individuals on a budget (though, this varies from one person to another). Luckily, its sheer effectiveness slightly makes up for its high price, so you're getting what you bargained for—but not more.

Conclusion

It's a runner-up for the first position and doesn't fail in proving that point. If you want a good base coat that can be easily peeled off (with the polish) whenever you want and is also very effective, then the CND Shellac Base Coat is definitely satisfactory. Though, it's not meant for individuals on a budget.

Pros
  • Prevents discolouration
  • Nail strengthener due to its ingredients
  • Easily removed with the polish
  • Good lifespan
Cons
  • Underwhelming value for money

9. Orly

9. Orly
The Orly Nail Bonder Nail Coat is like a magnet. That's the only word that partially represents its capabilities as a base coat. A slight amount(which dries quickly) of it on your nails and it selfishly attracts coloured nail polish/top coat and doesn't let go. Perfect, since it ensures good lifespan for coloured nail polish. Also, the product doesn't cause any discolouration and in fact either remains crystal clear or maintains the colour of the nail polish or lacquer. Now, couple all of the above features with the product's chip-resistance and you get a vague idea why we find its prowess remarkable.
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Features and Specifications

  • Fast drying time
  • Magnet-like attraction
  • Chip-resistance
  • Long lasting nails

Price

Price and value are definitely top-notch, which makes this product perfect for both individuals on a budget and those who are not.

Conclusion

It has good value for money and its capabilities as a base coat have been thoroughly tested. Fortunately, it passed most of our tests like chip-resistance, and discolouration. Unfortunately, the one test it doesn't pass is smoothening (nail ridges)—which for the sake of aesthetics and user experience is highly important. Regardless, it's still an excellent base coat that you can invest in.

Pros
  • Chip-resistant
  • Enhances manicure lifespan
  • Fast drying time
  • No discolouration
Cons
  • Weak ridge filling prowess

10. Essie

10. Essie
Its application is simple enough, just apply one time before a nail polish and then apply once again to finish the look with a glossy aftereffect (though it might take some time to dry). The Essie nail polish base coat is an all-in-one product that can be used as both a base and top coat. Though we prefer its use as a base coat rather than a top coat since products like the CND Shellac Original Top Coat have a much better sheen.

Also, for the sake of conveniency—easy removal of the polish/top coat is another feature you'll love about the item and when you combine it with the Seche Vite Top Nail Coat, the result is stunning.
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Features and Specifications

  • All-in-one top and base coats
  • Polish durability (good lifespan)
  • Gloss effects
  • Smoothen nails
  • Easy removal of polish and top coat

Price

The product sacrifices none of its functions at that price. In fact, it's a perfect balance of value and cost which is better than the previous two items on this list.

Conclusion

The essie nail polish base coat is an excellent base coat for anyone looking for a mix of price and reliability. So, provided you have a slightly flexible budget (depends on the individual), you should buy this item (essie base coat).

Pros
  • Can be used as both a top and base coat
  • Good value for money
  • Ensures good lifespan by strengthening nails
  • Easy removal of polish/top coat
Cons
  • Long drying time

Honorable Mentions:

11. Seche Clear

11. Seche Clear
The Seche Clear Base Coat like its counterpart, the Seche Top Coat delivered great results. What you get is a powerful base coat that easily strengthens nail for a manicure and can afterward be removed together with the polish and top coat. Also, after application of a coloured nail polish, no discolouration will occur (because it betrays its function if it does). Rather, it remains crystal clear and maintains nail polish colour.

Now, if you want the best results, you should combine it with its Serche top coat counterpart. The result is aesthetically appealing, to say the least. Nonetheless, do keep in mind that this doesn't mean it can't be used with other top coats.
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Features and Specifications

  • Non-yellowing
  • Prepares nail for polish/top coats
  • Easily peeled off with polish
  • Enhanced manicure longevity

Price

Buying the Seche Clear Base Coat is purchasing much more than you bargained for. Remarkable value for money as it has a repertoire of functions that if used with any of the top coats in the previous list will produce appealing results.

Conclusion

Regardless of your budget, this is a must-have in your beauty tools. Since its price sacrifices none of its powerful functions. In fact, you get more than you bargain for—if you consider the prices of the other base coats on this list.

Pros
  • Easy removal of the polish
  • Remarkable value for money
  • Strengthens nails for good lifespan
  • Neutral smell
  • No discolouration
  • Dries quickly
Cons
  • Doesn't fill nail ridges

12. CND

12. CND
The CND Sticky Base Coat is the last base coat product on this list, but it is no less effective in any way or form when you compare it with the others. It provides a level of liquid consistency that even more expensive products will have a hard time managing. Not too thin nor too thick, just a perfect balance of both.

The liquid is sticky and is used to prevent nail chipping which increases polish lifespan. In regard of this, it's actually the best product on this list that you can buy for that purpose (chipping). Though this for some reason doesn't translate into an exceptionally long lifespan. An excellent base coat for further application of top coat and coloured nail polish is what you get if you give this device a buy.
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Features and Specifications

  • Prevents chipping
  • Sticky base
  • Easy top coat and polish removal
  • No discolouration

Price

Ironical that this is the last item on this list while being the number one budget device. If you buy the CND Sticky Base Coat, you're getting much more than you bargained for.

Conclusion

If you want minimal cost and high functionality, then you'll love the CND Sticky Base Coat. Its consistency, price, chip-resistance, and others help in adding up as an incentive to try out its claims (which we did), and the results were worthwhile.

Pros
  • Chip resistance ensures polish lifespan
  • Easy removal of topcoat/polish
  • Bang for buck is exceptional
  • Dries quickly
Cons
  • Alters certain nail polish colours



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