Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Top Coat Round-Up

Hi Loves! I'm sorry I have been MIA lately. January has been super cold, and I have had no motivation to paint my nails, or really do anything. I'm a bit frustrated with 2014, since teaching prospects are not looking too promising, and yet I can't seem to get any kind of part-time job! Oh well!

I have been trying out a huge variety of top coats in the last year, and so I figured I'd do a round-up post and let you know my thoughts! I know Sam did a similar post, but I'd been thinking about doing one of these for months, and so I figured I'd still post my thoughts! I didn't take any actual photos of my bottles, mostly because they are half used, and don't look that nice! This will be a big post, so most of it will go under the cut!

So if you're interested, keep reading!

I'm going to rank them from least favourite to most favourite! Let me preface by saying my results will by no means be the same as yours. Body chemistry/nail chemistry plays a huge role, and I've included links to purchase if you feel you want to try something out (despite my feelings). This is not sponsored in ANY way, just my honest thoughts.

Sally Hansen Insta-Dri ($7.49)

This one, along with the Revlon Quick Dry are pretty much a tie for last place. SH Insta-Dri was recommended to me, as a cheaper, easier found top coat back when I first started blogging, because SV was so expensive and hard to find. I bought a bottle, but I wish I didn't. It was a waste of my money, as it NEVER dries on me. It's also really thin, and watery and I find it floods the nail.

Revlon Quick Dry $5.46

I picked this one up on a whim at Walmart once, it was inexpensive, so I figured I'd try it out. I once raved about it on here, but alas my thoughts have changed. My first bottle was great..until about 2/3rds in, so I figured I'd buy another bottle... BIG mistake. My first one must have been a fluke because every other bottle I've bought has not dried. It is like buying a regular top coat. It might be my nail chemistry but...definitely not a quick dry topcoat on my nails.

INM Out the Door Topcoat $11

I stumbled upon this, like usual, trying to find a replacement for SV after one of my many times getting frustrated with it's formula. Again, I found that this one took quite a long time to dry, although eventually it would, but it was definitely not what I was looking for in a Quick Dry topcoat. It also got quite thick rather quickly, something I was trying to avoid, since I already had SV do that for me.

Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat $8.95

I have a love-hate relationship with SV, as it opened my eyes to Quick Dry topcoats and I no longer had to spend ages waiting for my nails to dry. It was fast, shiny, and doesn't ruin my stamping. BUT, I find there are many cons to SV, the formula tends to get thick as you get towards the end of the bottle, requiring thinning, it shrinks/cracks my polish, sometimes it won't dry depending on the polish underneath, and it still contains Toluene, so if I were pregnant I wouldn't use it, and I can't use it on my young cousins who still bite their nails.

Rica Glossy Glam Topcoat $10

I bought this after hearing Marta Warmuz rave about it for a few months, and as soon as it was available at my local online retailer, I took the plunge. I do like this topcoat, but sadly it didn't live up to my expectations, which I blame on my body chemistry. I find that it does dry quickly, although not as quickly as I hoped, but it still shrinks my polish, and it smears my stamping. It does make my polish last for a long time and stays shiny, but the shrinking and smearing are what disappoints me most.

Cult Nails Wicked Fast $12.50

Cult Nails, what can I say, this is great polish company and when they released their top coat and base coat, I knew I needed both. I was on a break from SV (yet again), so I decided to try something new. This dries fast, is glossy, doesn't smear and doesn't shrink my polish. The only downsides I find are the fact that it is a bit expensive (compared to most) and that when you near the bottom, it's hard to get it onto the brush and out of the bottle. It's still one of my favourites though and I need to be buying a new bottle soon!

China Glaze Fast Forward $9.50

China Glaze is one of my all-time favourite polish brands, and their top coat is no exception. It dries almost as fast as SV, doesn't smear stamping, doesn't shrink polish, doesn't get thick near the bottom it's big 3 free, and it's fairly inexpensive. The only downside is the smell, which I don't mind after the first few seconds.

KBShimmer Clearly On Top $6

KBShimmer, this is my number 1 favourite topcoat. This indie brand has taken the polish world by storm and their topcoat is no exception. It's glossy, dries fast, doesn't shrink, doesn't smear polish AND the price! Look at that price, no wonder it's always sold out on Harlow & Co. This is what I have been using for the past 4 months and I have barely made a dent my bottle! If you are looking for a new top coat, this my recommendation!

I have one other topcoat I have been trying out, the Glisten & Glow HK Girl Fast Drying + Super Shiny Topcoat but I haven't had it long enough to decide if it's as good as/better than my top contenders.

I hope this round-up helps you, and if you have any other top coats you LOVE that I haven't included, I'd love to hear about them in the comments :)

Thanks for reading <3


  1. Thanks for your reviews/ thoughts. I'm interested in trying the KBShimmer tc later in the year. I'm at a point with my top coats right now, where I just want to use them up, junky or not lol (I'm looking at you color club tc that come in every set). My personal faves are seche vite (which obviously I've been staying away from from the last 9 months lol) and Poshe. I also have the love/hate relationship with Seche Vite when I do use it. But truth be told in my effort to clean out my top coats, I've been using a 3 (possible 4) yr old NOPI TC with no issues what-so-ever (its not fast drying) everything else about its great. I may pick up another bottle of it if I see it on sale.

    1. I never tried Poshe or NOPI tc so I'll have to keep an eye out for those!

  2. Hi, Elizabeth! I enjoyed your comparisons. I'm in agreement with you on this topic except that I have found at Walgreen's a Sally Hansen product called "Dries Instantly" which, although thinner than the KBShimmer and Seche Vite topcoats, rivals them for performance. I'm more than halfway through my first bottle of it with no thickening, shrinking, smearing, etc. It's around $5 and a good alternative, easily obtained.

    1. I don't know if I have seen this in Canada but I'll have to check! Thanks for the recommendation!

  3. Thank you for the awesome info and recommendations. I have a love-hate relationship with SV too. I've never tried KBShimmer and will have to hunt this little gem down to give it a go. Thanks again. :)

    1. If you're in the states you can order it direct from KBShimmer's site!


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