• 9 Best Base Coat Nail Polishes in 2022 (Licensed Cosmetologist-Reviewed) 1
  • 9 Best Base Coat Nail Polishes in 2022 (Licensed Cosmetologist-Reviewed) 2
  • 9 Best Base Coat Nail Polishes in 2022 (Licensed Cosmetologist-Reviewed) 3
  • 9 Best Base Coat Nail Polishes in 2022 (Licensed Cosmetologist-Reviewed) 4
  • 9 Best Base Coat Nail Polishes in 2022 (Licensed Cosmetologist-Reviewed) 5

9 Best Base Coat Nail Polishes in 2022 (Licensed Cosmetologist-Reviewed)

Base coats are like insurance for your manicure or pedicure: they aren't the most exciting part of the process, but they're sure to keep your nails looking better, longer. And they help protect your nail beds from discoloration, help nail polish adhere and resist chipping, and can even improve the health of your nails.


So if you're having a hard time making the most of your nail polish, a base coat might be just the thing you need. We've scoured the web to find the ten best base coats for whatever your specific nail care needs may be. Our favorite is the MAXUS Base Coat that both protects your nail beds from discoloration and prevents breakage. Read on for more base coat options and a buying guide, which was reviewed by a cosmetologist, to help you choose your own product!

Featured in this article

Denise Campbell
mybest US Editors
  • Last updated: 09-03-2022
Table of Contents

How to Choose a Base Coat Nail Polish - Buying Guide

It may not be immediately clear what kind of base coat product you need, especially if you've never used one before! To make sense of it all, we put together this buying guide to help make your decision easier.

Decide What You Need Your Primer or Base Coat To Do

Decide What You Need Your Primer or Base Coat To Do
There are several things a base coat can do, and some do more than one! If you have textured nails, there are base coats that can fill in ridges for a smooth finish. This makes your nails easier to paint and helps you achieve a more flawless mani.

If you're worried about your polish peeling, there are products that can make nail polish adhere better and increase flexibility for a longer lasting manicure. Keeping your nails strong and flexible is one of the best ways to prevent cracking, peeling, and general breakage.

It's also important to protect your nail beds from discoloration caused by pigments in nail polish. A base coat is a great way to prevent your nails from yellowing, and some base coats even help neutralize nails that have already been discolored.

Pick a Base Coat With Added Benefits

Pick a Base Coat With Added Benefits

If your nails need a little extra love, consider a formula that helps combat common nail problems. Base coats with strengthening formulas are created to repair weak and brittle nails, while protecting nails from further damage.


Nourishing base coats, often containing nutrient-rich oils, help promote nail and cuticle health. The specialized formulas condition your nails to be able to withstand more without breaking.

Decide if You Prefer a Cruelty-Free or Vegan Product

Decide if You Prefer a Cruelty-Free or Vegan Product

Some nail polish products have been tested on animals. And while many brands have become fully cruelty-free in recent years, however, all products that are sold in mainland China require some amount of animal testing. If that is an important issue to you, look for the Leaping Bunny certification symbol for cruelty-free products.


Certain nail polishes also include animal-derived ingredients. Common examples are carmine and guanine, but these are usually found in red and pink polishes and those with glitter or shimmer in them. If you prefer to use only vegan products, be sure to double-check the ingredients list!

Look for Potentially Harmful Ingredients

Look for Potentially Harmful Ingredients

You'll often see nail polish products marketed as 3-free, 5-free, 7-free, and so on. These labels let consumers know the number of common (potentially) harmful ingredients that are not in their products. The higher the number on the x-free label is, the fewer of these ingredients are in the formula. This is a great indicator for fans of clean beauty.


The most common ingredients that are included in these labels are dibutyl phthalate (DBT), toluene, formaldehyde, formaldehyde resin, camphor, ethyl tosylamide, xylene, and parabens. Many consumers err on the side of caution and look for products without these ingredients.

Look for Potentially Harmful Ingredients

Of those ingredients, DBT, toluene and formaldehyde are the top three that are avoided. DBT is a plasticizer that helps increase flexibility, but some studies have found that it can have a negative effect on the reproductive system


Toluene is a solvent that's added to polishes to smooth the consistency, much like paint thinner. However, it has been reported to cause nausea and dizziness for some users.


Formaldehyde is often used in products that are marketed as hardeners and strengtheners, but has been known to cause irritation and allergic reactions in some individuals. For these reasons, you may want to stay clear of these ingredients!

9 Best Base Coat Nail Polishes

A good base coat is the foundation for a long-lasting manicure. This list was created by taking into account all of the different functions and features of the best base coats on the market. Based on the reviews, here are the internet's favorites.


*Please note that these products were chosen after extensive research by mybest writers. The choices are not necessarily affiliated with or recommended by Denise Campbell. For more on our selection process, check out our content policy. Prices were gathered from respective EC sites on August 10, 2022.

Image
MAXUS Base Coat 1

MAXUS

Seche Crystal Clear Base Coat 1

Seche

ORLY Bonder Rubberized Base Coat 1

ORLY

OPI Natural Nail Base Coat 1

OPI

butter LONDON Nail Foundation Priming Basecoat 1

butter LONDON

Sally Hansen Ultimate Shield Base & Top Coat 1

Sally Hansen

ella+mila Ridge-Filler Base Coat 1

ella+mila

Revlon Quick Dry Base Coat 1

Revlon

essie First Base Adhesion + Protection 1

essie

Name

Base Coat

Crystal Clear Base Coat

Bonder Rubberized Base Coat

Natural Nail Base Coat

Nail Foundation Priming Basecoat

Ultimate Shield Base & Top Coat

Ridge-Filler Base Coat

Quick Dry Base Coat

First Base Adhesion + Protection

Features

Prevents Discoloration and Strengthens Nails

A Tried-and-True Fan Favorite

A Base Coat for Strong, Flexible Nails

A Favorite Among Professionals

The Base Coat That Does it All

A Base Coat and Top Coat in One Bottle

Fills Ridges for a Smooth and Silky Manicure

A Base Coat for Manicurists on the Go

Protect Nail Beds and Bonds With Polish

Price$17.99$7.01$8.50$9.97$18.00$1.41$8.99$12.24$13.98
Amount0.5 fl. oz.0.5 fl. oz.0.6 fl. oz.0.5 fl. oz.0.4 fl. oz.0.45 fl. oz.0.45 fl. oz.0.5 fl. oz.0.46 fl. oz.
Quick dryNoYesYesNoNoNoNoYesNo
FeaturesNail bed protection, strengtheningNail bed protection, polish adhesionPolish adhesion, nail bed protectionNail bed protectionFills ridges, strengthening, nail bed protectionStrengtheningFills ridgesQuick dry, nail bed protectionPolish adhesion, nail bed protection
Cruelty-freeYesYesYesNoYesNoYesNoNo
Link
Amount0.5 fl. oz.
Quick dryNo
FeaturesNail bed protection, strengthening
Cruelty-freeYes
Amount0.5 fl. oz.
Quick dryYes
FeaturesNail bed protection, polish adhesion
Cruelty-freeYes
Amount0.6 fl. oz.
Quick dryYes
FeaturesPolish adhesion, nail bed protection
Cruelty-freeYes
Amount0.5 fl. oz.
Quick dryNo
FeaturesNail bed protection
Cruelty-freeNo

butter LONDONNail Foundation Priming Basecoat

$18.00

Amount0.4 fl. oz.
Quick dryNo
FeaturesFills ridges, strengthening, nail bed protection
Cruelty-freeYes

Sally HansenUltimate Shield Base & Top Coat

$1.41

Amount0.45 fl. oz.
Quick dryNo
FeaturesStrengthening
Cruelty-freeNo
Amount0.45 fl. oz.
Quick dryNo
FeaturesFills ridges
Cruelty-freeYes
Amount0.5 fl. oz.
Quick dryYes
FeaturesQuick dry, nail bed protection
Cruelty-freeNo

essieFirst Base Adhesion + Protection

$13.98

Amount0.46 fl. oz.
Quick dryNo
FeaturesPolish adhesion, nail bed protection
Cruelty-freeNo

Create a Flawless Manicure at Home

You need more than just a base coat for a flawless manicure. Add some of these recommended products to your nail care arsenal, and you'll have the look of a professional mani in no time!

Amazon's Best Selling Base Coats

Want to see more options for nail polish base coats? Check out the favorite choices of Amazon shoppers.

Buying Guide Reviewed by Licensed Cosmetologist Denise Campbell

Denise Campbell
Cosmetologist/Beauty Advisor
Denise Campbell

This expert reviewed the contents of the buying guide for accuracy and provided factual corrections when necessary, as well as extra tips and advice. They did not participate in the product selection process, nor are they affiliated with any of our choices unless explicitly stated so.

Author: Anne Polak


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