Saturday, October 20th, 2012

Over & Under: Most Overrated & Underrated Top Coat (for Nails)

There are always products that receive endless raves, but they don’t always live up to our expectations or work out as well as they do for others.  Share your picks for most overrated and underrated TOP COATS.  Don’t forget to share your whats and whys as to your choices!

  • Most Overrated: [answer]
  • Most Underrated: [answer]

My Picks

  • Most Overrated: I can’t think of any that get undeserved attention… Seche Vite is great, though it can thicken.
  • Most Underrated: Zoya’s Armor – I use it all the time and love it!

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42 thoughts on “Most Overrated & Underrated Top Coat (for Nails)

  1. Avatar of Marian Marian

    Seche Vite seems to get the most attention…and it’s totally deserved! It’s changed my life!

    All others pale by comparison.

  2. Katy

    This is so individual, and it also depends on heavily on the combination of polish + top coat. Seche Vite doesn’t play well with three-free polishes and jellies, for example. I like Essie Good to Go, but it’s not as thick as some other quick-dry top coats on the market (generally a plus for me since I don’t like the way super-thick layers of polish sit on the nail), so for going over a hungry glitter, I’ll use something else, usually Gelous with SV layered over it.

  3. Laura

    Most overrated: I’m not sure I can think of one.

    Most underrated: Poshe (a quick drying top coat like Seche, but without big 3 chemicals). This can also thicken, but that is solved if you refill the bottle or add a few drops of thinner. I love Poshe!

  4. Avatar of Kristen Kristen

    Seche Vite was great until you get half way and suddenly can’t use it anymore. It really does work, though.

    I use the Orly top coat and I like it. It dries really quickly and does the job.

  5. Avatar of Amy xamyx

    I can’t think of anything that might be “overrated”, because I haven’t used an actual top- (or base-) coat in ages. I’ve been using Sally Hansen Triple Strong for *years*, both over & under polish. I can get at least a weeks wear using this, and only reapplying the SH every other day, and it dries really fast. In addition to long-wearing polish, I get the added benefits of my nails not breaking, and glitter polish is easy to remove.

  6. Most Overrated: OPI Top Coat. This for me tends to leave bubbles! :(
    Most Underrated: Nutra Nail High Gloss top coat! Very inexpensive and it comes with a thickening base coat as well!!! Never had any problems!! :)

  7. Avatar of Sasha Sasha

    Seche is the most popular but I do really like it. It’s perfect for when I want a really glossy, clear finish. I’ve found that with some of my polishes, Zoya’s top coat tends to get a little muddled and I lose some of the polish’s depth. Armor & anchor work wonders with Zoya’s polishes though.

    • Avatar of Sasha Sasha

      Another overrated would probably be RBL’s top and base. I bought them and I still chip in a day when used with their polishes. Totally not worth the price tag.

  8. Avatar of tzwiggy t_zwiggy

    Overrated: Seche Vite!!!!!! OMG, I hate that stuff! First of all, I always get 2 mm shrinkage (yes, I have measured). Second, it doesn’t last. I have had polishes peel off in one piece within 24 hours. I’ve never had polish last more than 48 hours with Seche Vite as a top coat. Only positive thing I can think of is that it dries super fast.

    Underrated: Butter London Hardwear. Makes basically every polish last forever. I actually don’t know how long it makes them last (longest so far is 14 days), because I always remove the polish because it’s starting to grow out too much. No chipping, no cracking, no peeling and no shrinkage. It has worked great with every nail polish brand I’ve tried so far.

    • Avatar of Gena Gena

      I really want to try BL Hardware now! I use BL Foundation as a basecoat (it really DOES remind me of foundation) and I love it. Every time I try a new topcoat, though, I go back to my beloved Poshe.

  9. Nes

    Overrated: OPI top coat. Ugh so thick and bubblely!
    Underrated: Don’t know :)

    • Avatar of Gena Gena

      I’ve tried several OPI topcoats; I love the colored polish, so why not, right? I’ve never EVER been happy with any of the OPI topcoats I’ve tried. OPI DS topcoat is the absolute WORST; it actually dulled the polish I used it over.

  10. Avatar of Laura Laura

    Overrated: Seche Vite. It’s not horrible, but between it pulling at the tips and thickening over time, I don’t love it.
    Underrated: Essie Good to Go is surprisingly good considering you never really hear about it.

  11. Not sure about over-rated, but I really like the Orly top coat I’ve been using lately. It’s actually a product that they make especially for a drug store chain here in Canada (since their products aren’t available at retail, generally), but it’s a terrific product. Best I’ve tried by far.

  12. Avatar of Wenz Wenz

    Most Overrated: Seche Vite….its good but the half bottle of waste, I think not!
    Most Underrated: Out the door- high gloss + fast dry, all the way to the last drop. Price is great too :)

  13. Avatar of Anne Anne

    Overrated: I can’t think of one. Seche Vite works great for me. It does get gloppy, but you can take care of that with polish thinner.

    Underrated: Barielle Ultra Speed Dry Manicure Extender. Although I use it mostly to revive my manicure, it also works very well as a TC. It’s expensive at its regular price, but you can often find bottles at Marshall’s and TJ Maxx for $4 or so.

  14. Lynne

    Overrated: Seche Vite. It sure does work well. But not only does it thicken halfway through, the thinner has to be constantly added from that point on.

    Underrated: Poshe for fast drying (I think it works better than SV in every way) and CND Super Shiney for high gloss topcoat.

  15. Avatar of Nicole Nikki

    Most Overrated: Seche Vite! UGH. I bought a pro sized bottle of the stuff because people hype it up. I don’t care how fast it dries or how glossy it is because the shrinkage it causes is the hugest turn off. I can’t wait until I get through my massive bottle so I can go back to my old top coat.

    Most Underrated: FastForward by China Glaze. Dries super fast, has a shinier finish than Seche imo, and NO SHRINKAGE. So much love.

  16. Avatar of Gena Gena

    Overrated: Seche Vite

    Underrated: Poshe is not only quick-drying, it’s SUPER shiny, and better than SV in every way I can think of. Yes, it can get quite thick, but nothing I’ve tried (and that’s a LOT–I have a huge stash of disappointing topcoats) is as shiny as Poshe; it’s definitely well-worth adding a few drops of thinner as needed. Also, it doesn’t “rub off” the colored polished; Orly Glosser is nice and shiny, but when I use it, the brush comes away with the colored polish I’m topping.

  17. Ashley

    I am probably the millionth person to say this, but:

    Most OVERrated: Seche Vite. The shrinkage is just INSANE!!! I hate it!

    Most UNDERrated: Poshe. Does everything Seche Vite does, with NO SHRINKAGE!!! And, IMO, it dries even shinier than Seche does. It’s AMAZING!!!

  18. theglitterydragon

    I cant think of an overrated top coat. I’ve only used a few and I liked them all. But the most underrated is by NYC (Grand Central Station)- their clear topcoat. I used to use Nail Demon quick dry from sally’s – but I gave NYC’s a try and I’ve used it for over a year now. It dries super fast (even over thick layers of polish as I often layer polish on different polish for color change) – and it still always leaves a shiny gloss and dries so nicely. And it’s only 2$ at my local shop.

  19. I find nail products to be incredibly subjective. What sticks like glue on some peels and chips on me in a matter of hours.

    By far the worst, and therefore overrated, would be Rescue Beauty Lounge. I cannot get the enamel to not to chip within 12 hours of wear even using their base and top coat. I will not buy anything in this nail formula going forward.

    Underrated is tough because most of the popular top coats, Seche Vite, Poshe, Armor all work well on me. Seche sometimes annoys me and I’m not always it the mood to futz with it. However, I will add one to the list that isn’t perhaps as high quality in the shine department, but adds considerably to my manicure longevity and that would be Sephora brand top coat… which I think is essentially OPI? if I am not mistaken?. It doesn’t seem to bubble on me whatsoever and paired with polishes that I know adhere well to my nails, I will get over a week of wear.

  20. Michelle

    Underrated: All top coats will get thick by nature of their use. Since the brush is constantly used over nail polish it happens to all of them with time. I was told about Dazzle Dry by a salon owner that said her nail techs swear by it. I ordered the set (nail prep, base & top coat) online and have been thrilled with it. I also use Qtica drops at the end.
    Overrated: for me is Butter London line in general. Colors are beautiful but they chip within 48 hours on me.

  21. fks

    No idea about the overrated ones, but Revlon clear nail polish works well as both a top coat and a base coat. They also have a top coat sold separately but I have not noticed any difference in performance between the two.

  22. Jane

    Most overrated = Seche Vite. I absolutely HATE this. Yes it dries fast, but it makes the polish underneath shrink and the the whole manicuire is ruined. What is the point of using a fast drying top coat if it just ruins everything that has been applied before.

    Most underrated = Leighton Denny Crystal Shine. This works like magic for me, I can get nearly 6 days from a manicure if I use this. Not sure if Leighton’s range is available in the US, but if it is – then try it!!

  23. Avatar of Dinitchka Dinitchka

    Most Overrated: Seche Vite! It’s good for the first few applications and then it thickens up. For the price, I should not have to keep thinning out this product.

    Most Underrated: For a bit of gliiter I like to add Northern Lights Hologram Top Coat. When not needing that bit of glitter I like Cina Top Coat and Bonder, Poshe Super Fast Drying Top Coat and Nina Ultra Pro Super Dry Top Coat. All of these can be found in store or online at Sally’s.

  24. Avatar of Wing Sai sai

    Overrated: Seche Vite definitely, it is good, but not that good, very easy to thicken and tricky to apply
    Underrated: Essie Good to go, this is my favourite topcoat for years. Quick drying, easy to apply, won’t go thicken as easy as Seche Vite

  25. Grace Poon

    Hmm that’s weird. I have never experienced shrinkage with Seche Vite. I heard that the “proper instructions” for using Seche Vite is to apply it when the polish is still wet. I always put the top coat on when all the polish underneath is dry, and have never seen any shrinkage.

    • Sorry to necropost, I know this was a long time ago, but I have had the same experience with Seche Vite. I use it when my nails are dry and experience no shrinkage. I can’t judge it with regards to chipping since my nails reject polish and they chip in a couple of days no matter what I put on (and I’ve tried everything) but I like Seche Vite. I will say, if you use it while the polish is wet, it sticks better and lasts longer but it does shrink. Use it when the polish is dry and you get glossy, beautiful coverage.

  26. Avatar of Ilona Ilona

    Most Overrated: Seche Vite – I def agree on this one as well. I love how quick it makes your nail polish dry and the shine is awesome. But it gets gloopy fast. The seche restore helps, but it doesn’t bring it back to its original state. Plus my polish doesn’t last as long and peels!

    I agree, I love zoya armor…and the whole zoya line. It does take a little longer to dry, but its worth the wait. My polish always has MINIMAL chipping after a WEEK. Highly recommend it too!

  27. Most Overrated: I feel Seche Vite is overrated. I’ve never had it work well for me. I actually just purchased a bottle of Poshe this weekend to give that a try and I’ve got HK Girl – Fast Drying + Super Shiny Top Coat coming to me as well.

    Most Underrated: Out the Door. I feel like I never hear anyone rave about it.

  28. Avatar of Kate Kate

    I’m not sure about an overrated top coat… But one underrated one is the Revlon Quick Dry top coat. It works really well and sets very quickly.

  29. Amanda

    I’m a loyal Seche Vite user – if you’re getting shrinkage then you’re not applying your polish correctly. You should be going all the way to the edges of the cuticles and “wrapping” the polish around the end of your nail. If you then do the same with SV, you shouldn’t be getting shrinkage.

    Underrated would definitely be Sally Hanson Quick Dry (in the red bottle). Not as shiny as Seche, but half the price and amazing!

    • Tiffany B.

      I absolutely love Seche Vite as well!

    • Avatar of Phoebe Phoebe

      For me, the shrinkage with Seche Vite isn’t occurring mainly at the tips. It’s mostly on the opposite end of the nail, next to the cuticle. So wrapping doesn’t help me in this regard.

  30. most overrated: seche vite, didn’t work out for me at all, my manicure didnt even last for a day without chipping
    most underrated: maybelline seche vite top coat, works well!

  31. Su Ann Ong

    Most overrated: OPI RapiDry Top Coat. Thickened really quickly making it difficult to apply. It also causes my nail art bleed and I swear I gave it enough time to dry. Also, it chipped after a day

    Most underrated: Haven’t found any

  32. Brittany

    I think the most overrated would be Out the Door. Yes, it sets super quick, but the next day my nails are dull and it looks as if I’d had my polish on for weeks. Also, Seche Vite thickens when I’m not even halfway done with my bottle. Most underrated, I can’t think of any.

  33. Julie43

    Most overrated :

    Sèche Vite. While it does dry super fast and is really shiny, it eventually shrinks my manicure after two days or so. I carefully “wrap” my nails with polish and top coat, which is why it does not shrink right away, but eventually it will shrink after a (short) while. So, it is a good top coat if you want to apply a quick manicure that is not meant to last longer than a day, but if you want your mani to last, then better chose another top coat. Also, I know all dry fast top coat will get thick over time, but Sèche Vite thickens really really fast and you cannot go through a bottle without adding A LOT of Sèche Restore along the way. So consider to add the price of a bottle of Sèche Restore when you buy a bottle of Sèche Vite.

    Sally Hansen Salon Manicure Top Coat (the one in the clear bottle, not the red one) does not do much for me either. It is not a fast dry top coat so it will not thicken any more than any regular polish over time, wich is a good point. But it is not very shiny and does not really prolong the life of my manicure, and it is so thin that it will not help to smooth down my polish. It doesnot do any harm, but not much good either.

    Most underrated :

    Butter London Hardwear top coat works wonder to make my manicures last. Zero shrinkage and a manicure that lasts for days and days before the first sign of tip wear appears. Drying time is rather fast but not super fast (if you are used to SV). I only have had it for a couple of weeks and have only ever used it in collaboration with Butter London Nail Foundation base coat, but for me this combination is the best so far for perfect and shiny manicures that last days and days. I keep the same polish up to 6 days without any tip wear and not the slightest chip, which is something that has never happen to me before. Now, the gap between cuticle and polish, due to my nails growing, is what makes me change my polish, not tip wear…. I cannot say how this top coat fares without the base coat of the same brand, though, because I haven’t tried it on its own. Also I dont know how it will turn over time because I haven’t had it for long enough.

    Please excuse any mistake, english is not my first language.