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my experiment with gel topcoats


My nails are usually bare because I am very tough on my manicures and any nail polish I apply myself will undoubtedly chip off in a matter of 24 hours. When Shellac came on the scene, I did a happy jazz hands dance. It was great that my nails didn’t chip for two weeks, but removing the polish was a pain. When I saw that mass brands had started doing gel topcoats that didn’t require a UV light, my interest was piqued. I wanted to know which brand of gel topcoat would make my mani last the longest without any chips.

Nail polish remover
Base coat
CoverGirl Outlast Stay Brilliant Nail Gloss in Fury
Revlon Colorstay Gel Envy Diamond Top Coat
L’Oréal Paris Infallible Nail Polish
Sally Hansen Miracle Gel Top Coat
Essie Gel Setter
Essence the Gel Nail Polish Top Coat

Sally Hansen and L’Oréal Paris both claim your manicure will last for a certain number of days. Since Sally Hansen says their topcoat provides up to 14 days of colour and shine, I predict that will be the finger that will chip the least.

1. I wiped my nails twice with nail polish remover.
2. I applied a base coat to all my nails.
3. I applied one coat of CoverGirl outlast Stay Brilliant in Fury. (Side note, the colour was so pigmented I only needed one coat!)
4. I applied a different brand of gel topcoat to each finger making sure to cap off the top edge of each nail.

After four days, all the nails have chipped at the top. I had painted my other hand with only a coat of the CoverGirl nail polish and those nails are in far worse condition than the hand with the gel topcoats. My thumb, which I had topped with the Revlon topcoat, faired the best in terms of chipping.

After I painted my nails with the topcoats, I noticed they were all very shiny in comparison to the hand that didn’t have a topcoat. Twenty-four hours passed, and I didn’t have a single chip on any of my nails. On the second day, I had to do some home improvement projects, which required me to tape the walls, paint and pick off the tape. My index finger showed some wear and tear that day. On the third day, I washed and chopped up vegetables for the week and did some heavy cleaning around the house. By the end of the day, I noticed all my fingers were chipped at the top. The limitation in this experiment is that the pinky and ring fingers are usually used less than the thumb, index and middle fingers. However, even with the heavy use of my thumb, it was still the nail that chipped the least. The moral of the story? Gel topcoats do make a difference, and I’ll never skip that important step again!


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