Best Nail Polish Top Coat [Review] in 2021

Last Updated on March 26, 2021
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Are you finding that your favorite at-home manicure keeps chipping quickly? Trust me, you’re not the only one.

Well, let me tell you, I’ve looked at the very best top-rated topcoats, checking out 34 different formulas, breaking them down into my top picks. So, by the end of this guide, you will know exactly which one to get.

We often miss out on many crucial steps while doing our manicure. Whether you just run out of time or just forget, all those pretty nails you just painted will turn into a chipped mess within a couple of days without the right topcoat- it’s the worst feeling.

But wait, let me tell you something…

I’ve found the most durable and fast drying formulas, that will not only keep your pretty mani-pedis chip-free for longer but also seal in the polish, so you can get back to your every day, faster. 

Here’s a tip from me to you: topcoats protect your nails against everyday wear, protect your nails against water exposure while giving your nails a silky smooth finish, it’s a step we can’t afford to miss! 

My first pick below is my favorite top coat ever, I use it with every manicure, you don’t want to miss it. 

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The Best Nail Polish Top Coats that you can buy

1.

Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat

best no chip top coat nail polish

This formula is a personal favorite of mine and amongst many professionals, nothing can beat this one. It has been designed to penetrate through the nail polish to the base coat to give you the most solid layer of protection.

Give brilliance to your nail polish with Seche’s invisible shield, it will protect your polish from pesky chips and will keep the color vibrant, for longer. It will give you a shiny finish while also strengthening your nails, a healthy nail will ensure your manicure will last the time.

But that’s not even the best bit:

The formula is super fast-drying without the need for a UV or LED curing lamp. You can get back to the things you love in minutes after applying this top coat, it is your manicure’s armor from everyday life.

Seche is renowned for its long-lasting abilities, it will cure and last like a rock, even after the abuse of everyday life for up to 2weeks! Their formula is also completely safe, cruelty-free, and vegan- you can’t get better than this.

Seche was built to keep your nails beautiful for longer, without chipping, yellowing, or damaging the nail- it will win the number one spot every time, I just love their clear coat

Pros
  • Fast-drying formula
  • Strengthens nails, without harmful chemicals
  • Seals in polish for up to 2 weeks without chipping or yellowing
  • Cruelty-free and vegan
Cons
  • Need to make sure to apply thin coat

Latest deal: Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat

2.

Sally Hansen Miracle Gel Top Coat

Bringing you a salon-quality finish at the comfort of your home. If you hate gel but longing for its long-lasting finish then this is perfect for you!

This number one selling gel-like top coat in. the US will give you a gel hybrid manicure without the hassle of curing under a UV or LED lamp. It is a look that is built to last, say goodbye to all the pesky chips.

We love the finish of gel but hate soaking them in acetone to remove it, well not anymore! Sally Hansen’s nail polish and top coat will apply and remove easily like any regular nail polish.

All you need to do is apply one thin layer of this top coat after you’ve finished your mani-pedi and watch your beautiful mani-pedi last up to 8 days chip-free.

So many people rave about this product and it’s honestly worth every cent. For a drugstore top coat nail polish, you can’t beat it, you need to try it! 

Pros
  • Salon-like finish without the UV/LED lamp
  • Lasts up to 8 days 
  • Removes like regular nail polish 
  • Drug-store prices
Cons
  • Need to buff nails before use

Latest deal: Sally Hansen Miracle Gel Top Coat

3.

OPI Matte Top Coat

Not a fan of a shiny finish? Let me introduce you to OPI’s matte top coat that will give you a smooth, textured finish that will lock in the color without the shine. 

OPI’s nail lacquer top coat will provide you with a scratch, smudge, and chip-free finish for up to 7 days of wear. All you need to do is apply OPI’s natural nail base coat, two layers of your favorite nail polish color, and finish with this top coat for a flawless finish.

Let’s not stop there

It will provide sealing protection without the shine so your nails will last longer, the transparent finish will give your nails an edgy but velvety soft look- we all need a bit of matte in our lives.

Whether you’re going on a hot date, looking to stand out from the crowd, or even going on holiday looking for a matte finish that will last, OPI has you covered.

Pros
  • Clear formula
  • Matte, velvety, textured finish
  • Lasts up to 7 days 
  • Scratch, smudge and chip free
Cons
  • Roll in your hand to keep contents mixed- don’t shake

Latest deal: OPI Matte Top Coat

4.

Essie Gel Couture Top Coat Nail Polish

If you’re longing for a long-lasting gel-like shine why not try Essie’s topcoat. It will seal and help to protect and magnify shine, giving you a chip and fade-resistant finish. 

With an easy 2-step application with any gel couture long-wear nail color that will give you a gel-like finish without the hassle of a base coat. Even if you aren’t using an Essie shade it will still give you a gel-like sheen finish over your color. 

If applied thin enough it dry quickly it will harden to a protective coating that can last longer, without having to use a UV/ LED LAMP. 

This will bring your salon-quality finish to the comfort of your own home. Whether you’re looking for a natural look or to stand out from the crowd, Essie will hold onto your polish and keep all the pesky chips away. 

Pros
  • Protective coating from chips
  • Gel-like sheen finish
  • Can be used on any gel couture long-wear nail color
  • Fade-resistant
Cons
  • Would still advice to use base coat

Latest deal: Essie Gel Couture Top Coat 

5.

Revlon Extra Life No Chip Top Coat

Do you love a shiny finish above everything else? We all crave this shine after a manicure. Because this topcoat has a thicker formula it is brilliant for protecting your nails against chips. 

A little goes a long way with this formula, even though the formula is thick it won’t leave any pesky clumps or bubbles behind when you apply it. 

If you are as unsure about the thickness as I was you don’t need to be, after testing this formula I can assure you it won’t look clumpy and thick on your nails, plus you don’t need to use near as much as you would usually. 

Plus there’s more: it will dry in 30 seconds after application, so you can get on with your day. This durable, fade-resistant, and long-lasting formula is unbeatable! 

Pros
  • Thick, protective formula
  • Long-lasting
  • Chip resistant
  • Clump and bubble free
Cons
  • Not everyone likes a thick formula

Latest deal: Revlon Extra Life No Chip Top Coat

How to get the most out of your nails- what makes the best top coat

When painting your nails at home, a nail polish top coat can make or break your manicure. It’s a step we often miss, we all get lazy and cut corners in our beauty routine, but the topcoat is actually super important for the longevity of your nails.

It seals in the color and holds onto it for dear life, protecting it from everyday knocks and bumps, so you can have a chip-free finish for longer. Just like a base coat, it is crucial for keeping hold of the color.

A topcoat is the necessary finishing touches, not only will it extend the life it also gives you a shiny finish and protect your nails from fading due to harsh UV rays.

It is like armor for your nails, you’re bound to catch it on things throughout the day, even the UV rays from the sun can be damaging to your manicure. A topcoat protects your manicure from these things and prevents fading, so those pretty nails last longer.

When seeking a good top-coat you should get a topcoat with great shine and durability and take a look at how quickly it dries- if time is a concern.

But if you find yourself scrolling through Amazon or walking through the nail polish section in Target or Walmart wondering where to start, take a minute to pause and let’s go through everything you need to know about top coats, together.

What is the purpose of top coats?

Longevity

If you go to the salon you will notice that they will always seal the manicure with a top coat simply because it makes your manicure last so much longer. If you get told that a top coat isn’t important they are lying, it helps keep everything in place and protects your nails from chipping for longer. 

Topcoats also protect your nails from UV rays from the sun, if you’re going on holiday and don’t want your nails fading within the first couple of days then I would invest in a trusty top coat- especially if you have vibrant colors. 

Your hands going through a lot throughout the day, from constantly having to wash your hands to just washing the dishes a top coat will protect your nails and prevent them from peeling or chipping. 

Pair a trusty topcoat with some cuticle oil and you’re good to go. 

Improves performance

To get the most of your manicure, with long-wearing nail polish I would use cuticle oil daily, and wear gloves if you’re using water for long periods of time will help prolong the shine and durability of the nails. 

If you’re using regular nail polish you should take extra care and reapply topcoat every couple of days to help the nail polish last longer than a few days. Apply a thin layer of a topcoat for optimum protection. 

With a high-quality top coat, you will find that it will massively improve the performance of your manicure. 

Improves the finish

Anyone can tell you that topcoat improves the durability of the nail polish but it also improves the finish overall. If you go for a shiny top coat you will achieve a glossy finish, with a matte topcoat you will achieve a more smooth, textured finish. It is all down to preference.

You can even get glitter topcoats to give a glittery finish, or pearl topcoat to boost the pearlescence, like inside a shell. 

The options are wide, so not only will a topcoat improve the durability of the nail but also transform the finish as a whole. 

Base coat vs top coat

We all hear we need to apply both the base coat but what’s the difference?

They actually serve two very different purposes, the base coat adheres to your nail, giving your nail polish a grippy surfaced to cling onto. Whereas the topcoat will provide a protective shell that absorbs any shock from catching your nails, to prevent chipping.

If your base coat is slippery like the top-coat then your nail polish won’t stick and if the top-coat is too rubberized it wouldn’t be as durable.

I would definitely spend a little bit extra to get yourself a base coat and topcoat as buying one that’s a mixture of the two won’t be near as effective as having them both.

Frequently asked Questions

What is the best topcoat for nail polish?

It all depends on the finish you’re looking to achieve from your manicure, if you’re looking for a fasting drying formula with a glossy finish then I would recommend going for Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat. Or if you’re looking for a matte finish then OPI’s matte topcoat may be the one for you. Whatever you choose on this list today I can guarantee you will give you a long-lasting finish. 

How long does the topcoat take to dry for nails?

Usually, 1 to 2 hours to dry fully but you can start applying your nail polish after a few minutes- check out how long nail polish takes to dry.

Can you use any topcoat on any nail polish? 

Yes, you can even use a gel top coat on regular nail polish, however, it won’t adhere as well as gel would. I would recommend using a regular nail polish top coat on ordinary nail polish snd a gel top coat on gel nails. 

Summary

In this guide today we have gone through the very best topcoats that will keep your nail polish in place for longer and prevent fading. We have covered the very best nail top coat review that will stop your nails from chipping with no questions asked.

The topcoat is the armor for your manicure so let’s not skip this step, we all hate chipping.

Whatever topcoat you decide on today, I can assure you it makes your manicure last much longer than before, while also giving you either a glossy or matte finish. Let’s stand out with the brightest, most vibrant colors without them fading within a few days. 

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Jess Rowley

Nail Technician Expert

ABOUT

Jess Rowley, a veteran nail tech, has been studying beauty over the last 11 years and has completed the nail technology program in California. Watching the latest trends in beauty, Jess searches for the highest quality products that make your nails feel loved.