If you have been hunting for the best top coat nail polish, don’t worry. We got your back — or nails, for that matter.
Applying a top coat is more than just an extra step after you’ve painted your nails with your favorite color or your dream design. Think of it as a protective barrier. A top coat seals your nail polish and prevents it from chipping and flaking.
Not only that.
A top coat can also even out your brush strokes, giving your nails a more professional result. It can smooth out glitters, add gloss or mattify your nail polish depending on the kind of top coat you chose.
Yeah, you read that right. There’s more than just one type of top coat. There’s quick-dry, UV protective, high-shine, air-dry and so much more.
If these options overwhelmed you, check out our choices for the best top coat nail polish of the year.
1Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Nail Coat
If you are on the hunt for a great quick drying top coat, Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Nail Coat is a highly recommended product. It’s guaranteed to stay shiny for days.
This top coat is able to penetrate and bond your layers of nail polishes. In essence, this can give you quite a durable finish. It’s also able to fill in the gaps in your strokes so that you can have a mistake-free finish.
Take note that although the product doesn’t have formaldehyde or dibutyl phthalate, it has toluene, which is a kind of solvent.
- It’s so glossy! You’ll have your friends wondering if you’re wearing gel nails.
- Gives a professional manicure-finish
- Dries fast and hard; definitely helps with chipping
- Has a distinct scent during application; goes away as the top coat dries
- Contains toluene
- The formula thickens with time and this can make application a bit tricky
2Sally Hansen Treatment Big Shiny Top Coat
This roundup of the best top coat nail polishes wouldn’t be complete without a Sally Hansen product, particularly its Big Shiny Top Coat. This particular product works really well in preserving nail arts by protecting not just the color, but the texture, too. You can use it to amp up your intricate designs and precise stripes.
The top coat has a high gloss finish and offers a long-wearing protection. If you’re not into shiny top coats, don’t fret. This also comes in matte, the Sally Hansen Big Matte Top Coat, which delivers the same flawless result- minus the shine.
- It has a wide brush that lets you cover your entire nail with lesser strokes
- Can protect nail polishes for up to a week!
- The brush is big
- It has a gel-like finish which dries quickly (in less than 60 seconds)
- It has double UV filters to keep your nail colors from fading
- Can get thick and clumpy after awhile
- Tends to leave streaks on the polishes at times
3Deborah Lippmann Addicted To Speed Ultra Quick-Dry Top Coat
Deborah Lippmann Addicted To Speed Ultra Quick-Dry Top Coat is more than just a cool name. It can actually deliver a high-shine finish with its chip-resistant and long-lasting formula.
However, there’s a catch.
It can only work if you apply it on your colored nails. It won’t adhere properly to bare and unpainted nails.
The best thing about this product is that it’s 7-free. In essence, this means that the top coat is FREE from harmful chemicals you can find in most polishes like toluene, formaldehyde, camphor, TPHP and four more other chemicals. Apart from that, the top coat is also cruelty-free and vegan.
The product can take awhile to dry completely- around two minutes after you applied the second coat of your polish. To prolong the shine, you can reapply it every three days.
Its consistency is on the thicker side. This is actually a good and a bad thing.
It’s good because the consistency will make it easier for the top coat to adhere to your nails. The difficult part is in application since thick polishes don’t easily give out smooth results.
- Manufactured without the 7 harmful ingredients
- Can be reapplied to prolong the shine of your nail polish
- It applies smoothly- no streaks, no bubbles
- Its thickness makes it a bit tricky to use
- Has a slightly funny smell
4Essie No Chips Ahead Top Coat
Essie No Chips Ahead Top Coat has made it to this list for a number of good reasons. For one, it can protect your nail polish from fading. It can extend your manicure, too, by resisting chipping and peeling.
And if you are wondering about its safety, this one is formulated without formaldehyde, toluene and DBP.
The brush that comes along with this top coat is on the thinner side. This can force application to be thin and smooth. Its consistency feels a bit tacky but once it sets, it turns into this hard, clear shell.
Despite its features, there’s one thing this top coat falls short on and that’s drying time. It needs some time to set so make sure you don’t do anything that can disturb the polish while it dries.
- Doesn’t contain formaldehyde, toluene and DBP
- Long lasting! A lot of people found this to last for around a full week
- It’s super shiny
- Doesn’t dry fast; you can end up with smudged nails if you’re not careful
- Brush is quite rugged
5Orly Sec’n Dry Quick Deep-Dry Top Coat
For a really quick drying top coat, Orly Sec’n Dry Quick Deep-Dry Top Coat is the one. Just make sure that you apply it when your polish still feels tacky or if it has almost dried up. After a minute or two, you can practically move around without having to worry about ruining your polish.
The product is formulated to speed up the drying time of the polishes beneath it. It’s intentionally thinner to get the job done.
This top coat has a gloss finish but it’s not the type to give a glass-like shine. It can, however, keep your manicure by the end of the week with minimal chipping.
- It’s fast drying
- It doesn’t thicken up in the bottle
- Prevents your nails from turning yellow
- Doesn’t give out a gel-like shine
- Not completely chip-resistant