If you enjoy wearing nail polish, top coats make your colors pop and last longer. There’s also a bunch available that’ll change the texture of your finish, making each polish more versatile. These include matte, high-sheen, and tinted coats. Top coats can also be useful, accelerating drying, or moisturizing and protecting your nails.
So let’s figure out which top coats best suit your needs. We’ll look at leading brands like O · P · I, Esse, Sally Hansen, and many more. By using different top coats, you can easily change the look of your polish and have even more style options.
How to Choose a Top Coat – Buying Guide
Top coats make polish last longer by protecting against chipping and increasing intensity of color. They can also care for your nails. In order to choose the right top coat, let’s take a look at the types available and how they work.
Choosing a Quick Drying or Glossy Top Coat
So, there are two main types of top coat, the fast dryers and the glamorously glossy. Choose one based on your needs. If you’re always running late for dates, go for one that dries in a few minutes. This will prevent your polish from getting dirty or smeared, even if something brushes up against your freshly painted nails.
A quick-drying top coat is also handy for repairs to small chips and cracks. However, if you have a few minutes to spare, go for a glossy coat. They make your nails beautiful.
Choosing a Top Coat Based on Texture
Recently, there’s been a surge in top coats that change the texture of your polish. You can turn a matte polish glossy or a glossy polish matte. An old polish can come back with a whole new look.
There’s also top coats that give your standard polish a gel-styled finish, without you having to cure with light. Then there’s your metallic and holographic coats. Depending on your style, you may want to choose more than one top coat, so you can experiment with all these different looks.
Choosing a Top Coat Based on Whether It’s Clear or Colored
There are your typical clear coats; then, there are your artsy tinted coats. These tinted top coats do not have to be used with a separate nail color underneath. You can use them on their own to provide a slight hue to the nail, or use them together with a polish to create a new look.
Because top coats can be applied quickly, the tinted ones are also great as temporary, one-day-only looks. And you can use them to paint over your current polish. Effortlessly add new colors to your life.
Choosing a Top Coat Based on Whether It Helps Care for Your Nails
Top coats can moisturize and care for the nail. Even when they’re not smothered by polish, nails dry out, thin out, and break easily. Prevent this by applying a moisturizing top coat. It’ll also add shine and elegance to naked nails. When you drop by the drug store, see if you can find a coat that looks and feels good.
Top 10 Best Top Coats to Buy Online
Below are some of the best and most interesting top coats. Exploring new top coats can give your manicures a more refined look and help you boost your nail health. They’re also a great way to make old polish look fresh again.
10. Essie Good to Go Top Coat
High Shine with a Fast Finish
This is a simple, classic, quick-acting clear top coat. It dries polish in minutes and makes your nails glow. You’ll look like you just stepped out of the salon. This product is perfect for girls on the go who don’t have time to wait for a traditional manicure to dry.
This Essie top coat also offers lots of protection to your look. It helps prevent chips, and users reported their manicures lasted over five days with this top coat. Pedicure results were better, staying chip-free for three weeks or longer.
9. Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Nail Coat
An Easy Gel Look for Gorgeous Nails
Apply directly to wet nails for that dewy look. It’s guaranteed not to yellow, and women who are hard on their hands love it for how it makes their manicures last. This top coat shines like a pond. With it, ordinary manicures get mistaken for gel. However, if you’re sensitive to chemical smells, some have reported this top coat has a stronger smell than others.
Additionally, this is a great choice for animal activists. This formula is entirely vegan and not tested on animals.
8. OPI Gel Break Polish Protector Coat
Improved Nail Health Between Manicures
This top coat from leading nail fashion brand OPI has multiple purposes. Use it over polish for sheen and protection, or straight on your nails to shield against wear and tear. It’s a favorite among gel manicure addicts trying to give their nails time to heal.
If you want a suit of armor for your nails, though, be aware that you’re going to need two coats. Customers love how it looks natural, brings out the best in your bare nails, and lasts forever.
7. Sally Hansen Treatment Big Matte Top Coat
Gives Old Polish a New Look
Sally Hansen is one of the best known names in affordable nail care. Breathe life into your most loved nail polishes with this top coat—by getting that smooth, velvety matte look. However, do be aware you may need to reapply it after a few days to make sure the original finish of your polish doesn’t sneak through.
The formula dries quickly and helps your polish survive. Customers have buzzed about how the matte seems to outlast your typical shiny coats. Additionally, this top coat can be used with both gel and traditional manicures, so it’s a perfect partner for those ever-shifting nails.
6. INM Looks Wet High Gloss Topcoat
A Rosy Tint for Vibrant Nails
This top coat makes your nails look wet. There’s a light pink blush to it, so it will enhance polishes with pink, red, and purple tones. Even better, on bare nails, the subtle tint creates a healthy, rosy look. And it shields your nails. This is a product for the patient, though. It adds to the drying time needed for your manicure.
We also know the smell of polish can be quite dizzying. But users say this top coat doesn’t smell quite so chemical—great for sensitive noses. And it doesn’t form air bubbles. So if your polish is always blistering, this might just be the answer.
5. INM Out the Door Top Coat
Ultra Fast Drying for Girls on the Go
If you’re devoted to INM quality, but seriously don’t have time to pamper yourself, listen up: Out the Door Top Coat will dry wet polish in 5 minutes. A real godsend for working, traveling, wandering women. This top coat may not innovate your look, but it will make it look crisp and stylish.
It’ll also leave nails chip-free for up to a week, even if you’re always scrubbing away, doing the dishes, cleaning, laundering. It’s not quite the same as a gel manicure, but its sheen is pretty close.
4. Sally Hansen Miracle Gel Nail Polish Top Coat
Gel Look and Durability without the UV
There’s a bunch of top coats that mimic the gel manicure look, but this Sally Hansen gives you both the look and (most of) the durability. Basically, it’ll cling to your nails for up to 14 days and provide that three-dimensionality that’s the signature gel look.
So it may be best to use this top coat with other Sally Hansen products in the same line, but it’s not 100% necessary. For extra staying power, users recommend applying this product to the underside of the nail tip and leaving plenty of drying time. Apply it right, and you can get nails with as much shine as a brand new paint job on a luxury car.
3. Probelle Ultra High Gloss Top Coat Sealer
Thick Barrier for Nail Protection
The Probelle is viscous and can give your nail that three-dimensional look of a gel manicure. It might look like gel, but you can get it off with regular polish remover. And it doesn’t eat away at your nails like some gel products do.
It bonds tightly with your polish and nails, protecting them for over a week. Fans of intricate nail art love the top coat for preserving even the most delicate detail. For best results, be sure not to drag this polish across the nail, but to apply a significant amount that can be spread evenly with a light touch.
2. Dr.’s Remedy Enriched Nail Polish Total Two-in-One Glaze
Transforms Your Nails and Fights Fungus
This top coat contains moisturizing ingredients like biotin and tea tree oil. If you’ve ever struggled with nail fungus, this top coat may be just what you’re looking for. Tea tree oil fights nail fungus—as many sufferers will attest to.
This product can also serve as a base coat, meaning you don’t have to purchase another product to prepare your nails before polishing. In addition to protecting your manicure from chips, it also keeps UV rays from washing out your color.
1. Sally Hansen Complete Care
Nail Growth, Strength, and Style in One Product
If you need a top coat to do it all, this 4-in-1 treatment from Sally Hansen can work as a base coat and a high-gloss top coat. Additionally, it contains a range of moisturizers to encourage nail growth and health, so your nails bend but don’t break.
Manicures last without chipping for 7- 10 days with this product. The glow makes your manicure elegant. You also get that fresh, wet look in just a few minutes. If you’re looking to restore or maintain healthy nails, this top coat will turn back the clock—with or without color underneath.
For the housewives and desk workers, manicure and matte addicts, we’ve gone through a bunch of top coats. When shopping, think about where your needs lie: speed, texture, health? Manicures are a fun, constantly shifting part of your appearance—so play around and experiment with a bunch of top coats!