Friday, March 9th, 2012

Choose or Lose


How many coats of polish do you typically apply?

  • Two (74%, 3,556 Votes)
  • Three (19%, 892 Votes)
  • Four or more (4%, 182 Votes)
  • One (3%, 138 Votes)
  • Other -- I'll tell you in the comments! (0%, 25 Votes)

Total Voters: 4,794

Feel free to elaborate on your answer in the comment section! :)

Discussion and debate are highly encouraged, and we expect community members to participate respectfully. When asking a question, please check the FAQ section (above) for information about purchasing, price, dupes, and the like. If you have general feedback or need technical support, please contact us.

Comments that include advertisements, self-promotion, insults, etc. may be in violation of our comment policy and subject to deletion. Please see our comment policy for more information.

29 thoughts on “How many coats of polish do you typically apply?

  1. Ideally one-two, but occasionally three. If I have to do more than 3, the polish isn’t worth my time!

  2. Cindy

    One layer of basecoat, two layers of colored polish and one layer of fast-drying topcoat! So, four!

  3. Missy

    Other – I have weak nails that I’ve been growing out, but they break and chip often, so to protect them I wear:

    - 2 coats of strengthening base coat
    - 2-3 coats of colour nailpolish (depending on opacity)
    - 1-2 coats of strengthening top coat

    This makes my nails last for 1 1/2-2 weeks with only minimal chipping towards the end, and keeps my nails strong and protected from chemicals and the usual wear and tear of going about my day. When I take my polish off I also rub lotion into my nails to help keep them moist.

  4. Raindrop

    I always hope that two coats are enough. If not, I apply a third one, but I’m too stubborn for a fourth coat most of the time :D

  5. Depends! Cream formulas, usually 2 coats. Duo/multichromes need 3 – two over a base of black, usually. And sometimes I wanna layer glitter.

    So basically, however much it takes!

  6. AnGeLwInGz

    usually 1 layer of base coat and 2 layers of color. I only use a top coat with polishes that tend to chip easily.

  7. Rhonda

    How many I apply depends on the finish and brand. There’s some opaque Zoya polishes that go on fairly thick with just one coat and don’t need more. There’s some translucent ones that need at least two to look good. Then there’s the ones I have where I love the color, but they streak horribly and I’m using at least 3 coats. It just depends on the polish.

  8. Linda

    I’ll try to get away with as little as possible, so depends on the polish.

  9. Carolina

    I usually apply 2 coats. However, last time I did my nails I had to use nail polish thinner to spruce up a very used polish and because it became so thin, I had to go for a 3rd coat (and I only used 3 drops of the thinner!).

  10. Audrey

    Two coats, not counting base coat or top coat.

  11. Emma

    one layer base coat, one or two layers of color and one layer of top coat.

  12. Naz

    Depends on the polish. Jelly polishes are translucent, so I’m willing to do up to four coats, but more than two or three for a creme/shimmer is not okay.

  13. Laura

    Usually 2-3 because I have quite weak bendy nails and the extra polish helps to strengthen them a bit. But I also have layers of base/top coats as well

  14. t_zwiggy

    It depends on how opaque the polish is, but usually 2-3 (+base coat and top coat ofc). The golden rule is to keep applying until there is no VNL.

  15. Miss J

    Of actual polish, two coats is the usual. I do add a layer of base coat, top coat, and the occasional layer of fun, which means fleck or sparkle.

  16. anne-marie

    it definitely depends on the type of finish the polish has, and also how thick or thin each coat has to be.

  17. Carrie

    I prefer one when I can get away with it – but those colors tend to be rather limited (foils but not much else) and two other times. I try to avoid three because three is too easy to mess up when they’re drying.

  18. Christina

    2 coats but of course that doesn’t include a strengthening or ridge filling base coat and a high gloss/quick dry top coat. If I polish requires more than 2 coats, into the trash it goes.

  19. Rebecca

    Usually two and a topcoat. My favorites are China Glaze pastel colors because you can get away with one coat!

  20. I use a base coat, 1-3 color coats depending on opacity/the effect I want, a glitter coat (if i want to) and a topcoat.

  21. Jennifer

    I voted two because that’s how many coats of the color I will apply, but it is almost always three because I ALWAYS use Seche Vite top coat. Occasionally it’s 4 when on the rare I use a base coat.

  22. Base, two color, one effect (if using), and top.

  23. Yasemin

    I said two above, but really it’s 4 because I do 1 base coat, 2 coats of whatever color, and then 1 top coat…I do this every time because I dont want my nails to yellow and I like the ultra shiny top coat look.

  24. jennifer

    normally 2 if it sheer then 3 but i also do a base and top coat

  25. Amanda

    It really depends on how opaque the colour is. Usually 2 but I have a couple that require 3.

  26. There is no ‘usually’ for me, it totally depends on the polish. Does it need one coat? Great! Does it need five? Eh, but okay.

  27. First base coat, 2-3 color coats and then top coat. That’s about 4-5.