Nail Art Basics – What is a Top Coat and Base Coat? What are their benefits?

Hi Polish Lovers, I missed this one, it should have been the first post for any nail basics. I should have started from introduction about top coat and base coat but I missed it :(. Although majority may know better than me on this, I am just giving my two cents 😀

These fall under the category of special nail polish like the crackle nail paint etc, the only difference being the special effect isn’t cosmetic or external only.

China Glaze Base Coat and Top Coat

What is Base Coat?

In general base coat is a clear polish which we apply on our nails before any nail paint. It lies underneath all our polishes preventing chemically loaded nail paints to come in direct contact with our nails. A lot of base coats are sold as “Nail Visualizer” or “Vitamin Booster” etc which are said to add to the nail health and strengthen in the course of usage. I use a ‘Bonjour Vitamin Base Coat’ which I will be reviewing soon. These fall under the category of fortified base coats and promise to offer something additional to our nails.

Base Coat

5 Benefits of using a Base Coat

  1. Provides a smooth base for the nail polish to spread evenly.
  2. Doesn’t allow the bright colored nail paints to stain your nails.
  3. Prevents chipping of nail polish
  4. Makes your nail harder and hence difficult to break.
  5. Fortified base coats promote nail health.

What is a Top Coat?

A top coat is a clear  nail polish that is applied over dried nail polish to create a barrier surface preventing chipping and providing a high-gloss shine. Top coats make sure your expensive nail paints and  favorite nail arts stay longer. If you apply a top coat on top of your nail polish then you should notice that chipping will be reduced and your nail paint/art will last at least a few days longer.

seche-nail-polish

5 Benefits of using a Top Coat

  1. Even a cheaper brand of nail paint can be pulled off for days with an effective top coat and yet look expensive due to the finish and gloss of the top coat.
  2. Gives a high gloss and added shine to a finished nail paint.
  3. Helps your mani to stay fresh and young for long.
  4. Hides minor flaws (lines, dents, finger prints etc) that you accidentally pass on to your painted nails when wet. Trust me this is a damage control. 😛
  5. Helps to fix or cling nail art accessories.

Where to buy a Base Coat and Top Coat?

There are a lot of brands which sell base coats & top coats. People often substitute a top coat or base coat with simple clear polish . But honestly speaking, if your budget allows, then do get a dedicated top and base coat. Unlike the uncommon nail art accessories, these are available everywhere, the only constraint being the brand.

My personal suggestion is use a good quality base coat because eventually it will remain in touch with your precious nails for longest. Even if you pass on buying an expensive nail paint per say, do invest on a good base coat. And a good top coat to add a little life and gloss to even a dud nail paint  In India we have options but not as many brands as in US (or we have to pay much higher price for even an affordable brand in US). But you could still chose from OPI, China Glaze, Sally Hansen, Avon, Oriflame, Essie, Zoya, Orly, Revlon, Konad, Rimmel and many more on an online store (barring a few).

Each one is unique and so are our choices, so go and pick out what is the best for you. I am using a Jordana Top & Base Coat as a top coat which is doing fairly well.I bought it from beauty centre at a discount so it costed me approx Rs 240. I will hunt for a better one next time.You can also dig for online stores and deals which should make your life easier.

My last words will be ‘before asking your nail art to look pretty or your nail paint to last longer, give something back to them; nourish them and beautify them with a top and base coat’. In short, sandwich your paint between these two to give your nails and nail paints a long-healthy life 🙂

I hope I have done justice to this simple common topic. Do let me know how did you find this article and also let me know if you have any queries or suggestion.

Image Source 1,2, 3

6 comments

  1. Kitsu says:

    Great informative post! I totally agree about using a nice top coat with cheaper nail polishes too– I do that all the time and it makes even the worst polishes last at least a week or so.

  2. vonimoller says:

    You know what I have to agree with you, even if you don’t buy expensive polish, invest in a good base and top coat.
    I’ve always used a good base coat so I can say, a good one that works for YOU makes a difference BUT all my life I used plain clear polish as a top coat until recently. I got a quick dry top coat and I’m like WHERE HAVE I BEEN FOREVER!!!!!?!

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