Manicure Basics Week 3: Top coats & Base coats

For week 3 of my Manicure Basics mini series, I chose to review some of my favorite base coats and top coats.  These are products that I have been using for years so I can give you an honest review about them.  However, I find that base coats and top coats are very subjective for different people with different types of nails.  You may find that these products don't work for you.  But if you're looking for something new to try, I would recommend trying these!

Base Coats: Orly Bonder and American Classics Gelous 

 Orly Bonder

I have been using Bonder for a little over a year now.  It is a rubberized base coat that is supposed to extend polish wear.  When I first started using this, I didn't really like it.  I didn't feel as though it was keeping the polish on any longer than without base coat.  However, having a basic nail care routine helps my base coat work better.  I am now oiling my nails before painting them and I feel this has helped my base coats work much better. 

American Classics Gelous

Gelous is a thick polish that has many uses.  I use it as a base coat, but I also use it on top of hungry glitters (glitters that don't become smooth with top coat only).  I used Gelous as a base coat for a very long time.  It did a great job keeping my nails strong (because its so thick) and extending polish wear. If you have weak nails that you want to grow out, I would suggest using Gelous as a base coat.

Top Coats: Hard Candy Matte-ly in Love, NYC Grand Central Station, Seche Vite, Barielle Manicure Extender

I chose to show you a variety of different top coats that all have their own purpose.

Hard Candy Matte-ly in Love

This is a mattifying top coat that makes your polish look matte instead of glossy.  I used to think matte nails looked really.....stupid.  yep I said it.  I never ever thought I would ever want matte nails.  But then I saw someone mattify a manicure (I can't remember what it was) and I really loved it! So I found this at Walmart for really cheap.  It does a good job at mattifying and it dries fairly fast.  Honestly, this is the only matte top coat I have ever used so I can't compare it to others.  But this one works well for me. 

New York Color Grand Central Station

This is my HG (Holy Grail) top coat.  I have gone through many many many bottles of this stuff.  Anytime I see a bottle in a store, I stock up.  For some reason its really hard to find.  Everytime I go to Walmart or Target, its usually sold out.  So when I do see a few measly bottles on the shelf, I snatch em up!  This stuff is insanely cheap.  I think it's $1.72 at Target.  Its super glossy and dries very fast.  I don't think its meant to be a topcoat,  just a clear polish.  However, its my absolute favorite (and I have tried A LOT of top coats).  Its also great for people like me who do their nails almost every day and don't want to pay a lot for top coat.  Go buy this stuff.  Seriously. 

Seche Vite

I have a love/hate relationship with Seche Vite.  A brand new bottle of this stuff is pure heaven.  Its super glossy.  It dries insanely fast.  It makes a mani look amazing.  But after a few uses, Seche Vite starts to get thick.  You can thin it out with nail polish thinner, but then you start to get shrinkage problems (when the top coat dries, the sides start to shrink in).  Seche sells a product called Seche Restore which is a special thinner made for Seche Vite.  But I don't want to need special thinner for a top coat! So I haven't really been using Seche Vite as much lately.  I do like it as a topcoat for hungry glitters.  It's pretty thick so it works nicely to smooth out grittiness.  Seche Vite is more on the expensive side so I would never use it on my daily manis.  

Barielle Manicure Extender

I received this bottle many years ago from an online polish swap.  It's not necessarily meant to be used on your daily manicure as a normal topcoat.  This stuff works best on days 2 and 3 of your mani (if you keep your manis on that long....I normally don't anymore).  Its not very thick, so you can apply this daily on top of an old mani to keep it shiny and fresh looking and it won't make your nails look like clubs.  

I hope you guys have enjoyed my mini series posts about manicure basics.  Everyone has different opinions and different needs but hopefully you can take away something from these posts and maybe try some new products that work for you!  I would love to know if you try any of these products from my series and what you think of them!  

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