Tuesday, June 13, 2017

My Favorite Base and Top Coat

Some questions I am frequently asked are "how do I do a basic manicure?", "how do I keep my polish from chipping?", or "can you recommend a base and top coat for me?" so today I'm picking up where I left off in a three-part series addressing these questions.  Catch up on part one How to do a Simple Manicure or part two How to keep Nails from Chipping.

What base coat and top coat do you recommend?

I have very strong opinions about what top coat you should be using (spoiler: it's Seche Vite) but I'm totally flexible on base coat as long as you're using something.  I think there is a lot more flexibility with base coats than there are top coats.

All About That Base (Coat)

My favorite base coats are the Zoya Anchor Base Coat and the Zoya Naked Manicure Naked Base coat.  The Naked Base is more like a treatment so I generally save that for when my nails are feeling abused or neglected, whereas the Anchor Base Coat is more of an all-purpose base coat.

Can you use a treatment as a substitute for a base coat? You're not supposed to, but I'm completely guilty of breaking this "rule" all the time.  Base coats are thicker and offer more protection between your nail bed and the polish you're using.  That means if you're going to use a color that may stain your nails (I'm looking at you, Splish Splash and Fly) use a proper base coat so you have more of a barrier.  If you use a treatment you're going to get stained.

What's the point of using a treatment?  I've primarily used treatments to strengthen my nails and to nourish them.  I struggle with peeling nails on account of all my years as a nail biter, so when I was first trying to kick the biting habit I would use OPI Nail Envy as my treatment of choice.  Nail Envy is a formaldehyde-based hardener and it works to strengthen your nails by reacting with the keratin in your nail bed.  Your nails are made up of keratin so as the formaldehyde reacts, it increases the cross-links between the keratin, effectively reducing the rate at which your nails will peel.  You don't want to use a nail hardener forever though, as eventually your nails get too hard and they'll crack.  Then you'll need to explore the world nail saving products like I did.

The Life Changing Magic of Seche Vite 

As for top coats, I swear by Seche Vite Fast Dry Top Coat.  I've been using it for years (after trying several different ones) and this is the best thing out there since sliced bread.  Okay, so some people like Out the Door Top Coat and HK Girl Top Coat too but Seche Vite stole my heart with its smooth formula and glossy finish.

Why is Seche Vite the best?  Seche Vite is amazing because it's fast drying, super glossy, and wonderful and smoothing out bumps and ridges.  It can take your manicure from "can't touch anything" to "totally fine" in a few minutes, though I err on the side of caution and wait about 10 minutes.

What about Seche Vite and pregnancy?  There is a label on Seche Vite which says that the polish contains an ingredient known to the state of California to cause birth defects.  The state of California is great about notifying us of ingredients which may cause cancer and birth defects, or reproductive harm, but not so great about helping people understand what a safe level of exposure is.  In the case of Seche Vite, the chemical of interest is toluene and it would take a lot of Seche Vite smelling to do one harm.  Toluene is harmful in its gas state so the primary cause for concern is when you apply top coat.  However, if you're painting your own nails in a well-ventilated space for 15 minutes once or twice a week, the concern, in my opinion, is minimal.  If you're a nail technician working in a salon for eight plus hours a day, your risk is considerably greater.

I hope you found this post helpful about what base coats and top coats I'd recommend.  If you're not already using Seche Vite I'd love if you could leave me a comment and let me know what you're currently using.  

*This post contains affiliate links*

1 comment:

  1. I too swear by Seche Vite! I like Seche Clear for a base, but I'm also flexible. I've never tried any Zoya bases, so I'll have to look into those!



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