I have a love/hate relationship with my nails. I bit them down to stubs for 16 years of my life, finally kicked the habit right before starting college though I still sometimes bite the cuticles. They don’t always look in tip-top shape, but when I do take the time to paint them, I want it to be worth it. I love taking time to pamper myself and give myself a manicure, but I want the polished look to last. I guess you could say I’m hard on my nails: typing all day, occasionally playing guitar, washing dishes without gloves and picking at them in general… so it’s been hard to find polishes that actually last on me. But really, when you have the right top coat, you can make the most of any polish.
My absolute favorite go-to top coat that can be used over any polish is the Essie Gel Setter Top Coat. Without needing to go through the whole production of gel nails, you can get the shine, thickness and extended wear with just a coat of this clear magic!
It’s a thicker formula, though it still spreads easily so you can really cover the full nailed in three swipes. It dries in a few short minutes and leaves you with an intense shine with no UV light required. I also like that if you accidentally smudge your polish prior to applying top coat, this pretty much smooths out any imperfections like dents and bubbles.
When I top my nails with the Gel Setter Top Coat, I get get a solid 5-6 days with only minimal wear at the very tips of my finger nails. While that may be shorter wear than a proper gel manicure, it’s incredible for an at-home paint job in my opinion! As far as pedicures go, I can get 2-3 weeks with the same shade before chipping starts. Since I live in a warm climate, even through fall I’m wearing sandals. Not having to worry about the state of my toenails makes live easier, trust me.
The success of this top coat does depend on proper application, though. You don’t want too thin of a layer, as you won’t get the best coverage. Too thick of a layer will cause your polish to peel easily if knicked. I get a medium amount on the brush and try to cover the entire nail in one swipe, then go over my tip with the brush to seal everything in. This gives the best results for an even finish and long-lasting protection. And despite the gel-like hard shine, this is easy to remove with regular acetone nail polish removal.
The Essie Gel Setter Top Coat is $10 at Ulta Beauty. Aside from using the complete Essie Gel Couture system, which is hands down the most long lasting when I use the color and top coat from the line together, this is a great top coat to mix-and-match with other lines from Essie or other brands as well.
What’s your favorite long lasting nail polish top coat? Let me know in the comments below. And now, for last week’s best blog posts from The Lipstick League!
The Lipstick League – Week of 8.27.18
Beautygeeks – has Manigeek’s swatches and review of the Essie Fall 2018 nail polish collection. Note: it’s not the same ol’ Essie brush North Americans are used to….
Blushing Noir – I opened up the prettiest palette in The Vault. But I’ve reviewed every single shade and am here to honestly tell you how the Morphe x Jaclyn Hill Dark Magic Eyeshadow Palette performs. Without the smoke and mirrors.
EauMG – Not ready for summer to end? No problem! Make it last with any of the scents I included in my Watermelon Perfume Guide.
My Beauty Bunny – I learned that aloe vera is not just for sunburns! Did you know it’s an incredible ingredient for acne and anti-aging? I reviewed a cruelty free brand called Lexli that you’re going to love.
Painted Ladies – It’s pumpkin spice and everything nice in this Fall inspired burnt orange and gold eyeshadow tutorial featuring Juvia’s Place and Sydney Grace Co. eyeshadows.
Prime Beauty – Have you heard of dry brushing? Not only does it help with dry skin, but it has many health benefits when you use the Prana Ionic Brush!
Slashed Beauty – The new Covergirl Melting Pout Liquid Lipsticks at the drugstore are long-lasting and pigmented– see swatches of the entire line, and find out which shades are must-haves vs. must-skips!
we heart this – It’s a lactic acid showdown: Sunday Riley Good Genes vs. The Ordinary Lactic Acid 10% + HA. Who will win? Click HERE and see!
(Wondering what the Lipstick League is? Find out here.)
Beautygeeks is Currently Craving: Sunday Riley Good Genes All-in-One Lactic Acid because, after years of glycolic acid to keep her skin clear, she’s finally discovered (and become obsessed with) lactic’s smoothing and hydrating properties.