Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Top Coat Ramblings and Comparison

Over the last six years or so I have been a die hard Seche Vite fan, I have had countless bottles which have thickened up and I replaced them (until I heard about Restore!) and then after buying Restore used as much as possible from the bottles, but very recently I have had problems.... 

I always buy my Seche online from Amazon, usually from Amazon themselves, so I don't think I have had any fakes.  My last two bottles have been different to normal, the bottle design has altered slightly and the contents of the bottles has been crap.  It still dries superfast, however the first bottle needed thinning within a week of purchase and both bottles have left me with peeling polish in a very short time, not even 24hrs and it was just lifting off. I thought maybe it was me it didn't suit but my stepdaughter used it and in less than 24hrs she also had half of her nails just lift right off.

Seche is quick to dry but renowned for causing shrinkage; if you use two layers your nails peel (although currently this happens to me after one application) so when I use striping tape or stamp I use an alternative top coat; after being open a month it thickens and you have to use Restore drops; I find if I don't go right to the sidewall of my nail the shrinkage causes a crack in my polish, which looks horrible after a day; I find over some turquiose shades Seche adds a yellow taint.

Today's blog post is a comparison of several top coats I currently have, left to right these are NYC Grand Central Station, Glisten & Glow HK Girl, Seche Vite, Color Club and Kiko Gel Effect top coat.


For this comparison I used the top coats over a dotticure, each hand had the same topcoats: thumb NYC, index HK Girl, middle SV, ring CC and little finger Kiko.  My dotticure has a base of the dark purple Gelly Blackberry and is dotted with OPI My Boyfriend Scales Walls and Gellys in Guava and Grapefruit.  Once I'd done dotting I did my clean up before applying topcoat so that my dots had some time to dry and to avoid dragging.






Application: NYC is very thin and applies quite well, but it did cause some drag on my left hand making two of the white dots turn more oval, HK Girl applied fine and formula is thinner than Seche, Seche applies quite well at the moment as it's new bottle, CC is a bit tricky now as I have been using this bottle for several months and very recently it has thickened a litte, haven't used any thinner in this yet, Kiko is very thick, despite having already had some Restore drops added, the Kiko did start to drag a little on my left hand and has been prone to causing bubbling in my experience.

Drying times: After doing my nails I sat and played a game on my phone, Jewel Star 2 for 15 mins.  Within that time HKGirl, SV and CC were rock hard would have been fine to get on with gentle activities, Kiko was almost there but NYC wasn't anywhere close.  I played the game for a further 15mins then they all seemed pretty fine, so I set up my light box and took the photos of my nails.  After taking the photos I folded my light box away and then made hubby some sandwiches.  Once I'd done this I noticed that both thumbs had already shown some damage - thumbs down to NYC.

Here they are after 24hrs, to be honest I had an easy day too:  I caught the bus to physio, caught the bus home and didn't do much else.




The first chip I noticed was on my left middle finger - Seche!  Then the left ring finger peeled off a little in the corner - Color Club!  The left  hand index finger is showing signs of damage too but actually I broke a corner off and the filing caused the slight peeling.  The thumbs were both damaged as a result of the polish not being fully dry an hour after doing my nails.  For me, the best wear time is joint between Kiko and HK Girl: as HK Girl dries faster and doesn't bubble that makes it my new favourite (I'm glad I got two bottles from The Rainbow Connection restock!)

Other top coats I have tried...

When I first discovered OPI in around 2002, I became a fan of their Rapidry top coat, I used to find that it would bubble and go stringy halfway down the bottle though (I now recognise this as needing a thinner, but back then I would begrudgingly buy a new bottle) I also tried the OPI base and top coat, but found it took far too long to dry.  I gave up on OPI after trying Seche.

Poshe top coat didn't agree with me, it bubbled and seemed to take longer to dry than Seche.  I know Poshe devotees swear by it as it is less likely to cause shrinkage, this being the reason I tried it, but overall I wasn't impressed enough to buy a second bottle.

a-england The Shield.  When I first fell in love with a-england I tried the top coat and was very impressed at the dry time, so quick!  But this is another top coat which bubbles on me so I never picked up a second bottle.

INM Northern Lights Silver Holo was something I won in a giveaway but used for a time as a top coat.  I loved it, I've been considering trying to find INM Out the Door based on Northern Lights performing so well, rapid dry time, no bubbling, the bottle was usable to the very end.

W7 Diamond top coat is cheap and I got a couple of bottles free when I bought other W7 polishes, dry time isn't superquick but it's reasonable and I sometimes use it over stamping when I already used Seche.

Nails Inc Albert Bridge, I had a mini bottle of this and tried it between Seche bottles, it didn't seem as quick as Seche so I never repurchased.

Any top coats you swear by in my fail list? Have you tried HK Girl and love it too? Leave me a comment with your go to top coat in case there's a gem I'm totally missing out on!

14 comments:

  1. Personally I swear by SV, I don't seem to get the same problems you do (apart from the occasional yellowing on turquoise!). I've been loving Color Club, as they come with the sets in TK Maxx. I've also been liking In A Hurry recently, by the same people that do Gelous. It's not good for nail art as it smudges, but for plain polish, it dries literally in seconds and seems to offer pretty good protection.

    Thank you for this post - I'm always curious about top and base coats, as I go through them so quickly!

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    1. I never used to have any issues with Seche, it's mainly become in issue with my last two bottles. I have two filled to about same level because I stopped using one thinking it was fake, used Color Club, then ordered a new bottle. When I checked my purchase history I realised it was from Amazon so wouldn't be a fake

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  2. Have you tried Sally Hansen Insta-Dri? I swear by that. It dries super quick, shiny and I never have any smudging issues (as long as I don't drag it too hard, obviously).

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    1. I've never tried it Claire, may have a look once on HK Girl is used up. Thanks for the suggestion!

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  3. When I'm using China Glaze polish, I use it from start to finish, starting with their Strong Adhesion Base coat, then polish, then I finish with the Fast Forward top coat. I tend to use different top coats myself, just depends on what I grab, I guess. :) I've been using a lot of LVX 3-in-1 treatment. It's a nail treatment (supposed to help strengthen), base coat, and top coat in one a lot lately as well as I'm Vers by Bondi, that I just got about 10 days ago. I've never tried the HK Girl, although I've been wanting to. I think I'll wait until I've used up some of the ones I already have first.

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    1. I never considered CG! I don't think Bondi or LVX are available over here. I should use up the Seche before I started HK Girl, but given the poor performance of the two bottles I have, I think it'll be going in the bin!

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  4. Have you tried Sally Hansen Insta-dry? Performs like Seche in term of quick dry and shiny-ness but absolutely no shrinkage. It's my go-to top coat now

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    1. That's interesting Emma as you say more or less exactly what Claire did! I think I'll have to try it out, I tried SH topcoats since the mid 90s!

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  5. I really love Seche Vite and use it all the time. I got a Pro Set a while ago with a big bottle to refill the small one. I do this when it seems I can't get enough product on the brush and it never thickened too much.
    I agree about shrinking and peeling, but since I re-polish almost every day, this is okay for me ^^

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    1. You just nailed the reason I am now finding Seche more of a problem, doing my nails daily meant I wasn't so concerned if it peeled or chipped, as I have spent less time on my nails since having the shoulder problem I want what I do do to last!!!

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  6. Add my vote for the Sally Hansen Insta Dri, I love it. It's still a fast-dry, though maybe not quite as fast as SV. But then again, does anything dry as fast as SV? I've also recently started trying out Poshe, which hasn't bubbled on me yet. I also use the NYC Grand Central Station occasionally and haven't had any issues with it, but my go-to is SH Insta Dri and has been for over a year.

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    1. I've been on Amazon looking for Instadry after all the positive feedback.... But with p&p it's more expensive than HK Girl!

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  7. HK Girl rules!!! I am obsessed with it... I buy the refills now so I will never run out... It magically fixes imperfections, and that shine!!! Love

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    1. I did consider the refill bottles because the small size was out of stock when I first looked. I figured if the small bottle was ok, that's the way to go!

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