Which are the best nail polish base coats? Are they necessary?
Yes, if you want to have a gorgeous, long-lasting manicure, you need a base coat.
It smooths the texture of the natural nail and helps the polish stick properly.
The base coat also protects the nails against peeling and staining.
Check out the reviews of the best base coats for manicures below.
What is a base coat in nail polish?
A base coat is like a primer for painting. It ensures a better finished product (1).
Can you use a top coat as a base coat? Typically, a top coat won’t function well as a base coat underneath other polish. But you might get a few days wear out of a top coat by itself.
Ridge-filler base coats are thick enough to fill in grooves and even the texture of the natural nail. This keeps the colored polish from getting stuck in the ridges. And all types make a grippy surface for the colored polish to prevent chipping.
Some base coats contain calcium or vitamins to strengthen nails and prevent splitting. They also help prevent yellowed nails.
If you are using glittery, bright-colored, or highly-pigmented polish, the base coat will keep the natural nail from being stained.
For best results, wash your hands and skip the moisturizer before applying the base coat. Buff the nail lightly and wipe with alcohol or acetone to remove any oil. Be sure to seal the edges and the tip when you brush on the base coat.
Best Nail Polish Base Coats in 2022
OPI Nail Polish Base Coat
OPI is one of the best nail polish brands. Their base coat dries to a glossy finish, which allows it to serve as clear nail polish on days when you feel like looking natural. It’s so good that it’s won awards.
It prevents yellowing and stains from dark-colored polish, plus it extends the lifetime of a manicure.
It’s made in the USA, but it’s not completely non-toxic. It has small amounts of the typical nail polish ingredients like epoxy resin.
If you decide to go with OPI, you can look forward to over 200 shades.
essie First Base Adhesion + Protection Base Coat
Here’s another American brand that’s been innovating in the nail industry for almost 4 decades. Their products have won multiple awards and are used by celebrities and salon professionals alike. If you’re on the lookout for the latest trendy shade, chances are essie has it.
This base coat has rubber adhesive for extra grip. It extends the lifetime of the manicure. Yet, it’s durable enough to enjoy on its own if you’re in a hurry.
Revlon Quick Dry Base Coat
This drugstore nail polish base coat is convenient because it dries in seconds. By the time you finish one hand, you can already begin to apply colored polish.
It also happens to be 5-free: it doesn’t contain formaldehyde, DBP, toluene, camphor, or formaldehyde resin.
It preps the canvas of your natural nails and defends against chipping and yellowing. Then, you’re ready to paint on one of Revlon’s 64 shades.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t double as clear nail polish as it has a matte finish.
Sally Hansen Treatment No More Stains Base Coat
How about a spray-on base coat? Skip the brush – this method is much faster. Spritz each nail, and you’re ready to add polish in just a minute.
It’s the perfect no-mess base coat. Moreover, it takes the “no more stains” part to heart. You’ll never have to worry about staining your natural nails with richly-pigmented colors.
Sally Hansen Ultimate Shield Base & Top Coat
This is the best nail base coat for weak nails. It shores up brittle nails with a micro-polymer that enhances flexibility and strength. It will make them nearly unbreakable.
It also defends your manicure against peeling and fading. That’s because it’s not just a base coat, but also a top coat. You’ll sandwich the colored polish between the layers.
ella+mila Nail Care, Ridge-Filler Base Coat – All About the Base
Do you know what’s adorable about this brand? They offer a “mommy & me” set with a big bottle and a little bottle of colored polish.
But is nail polish safe for little ones? This one is because it’s 7-free. It has no formaldehyde or formaldehyde resin, toluene, DBP, camphor, or animal ingredients. Furthermore, it’s certified by PETA as cruelty-free.
You only need one coat, but if you apply two coats, it fills in ridges. It’s not 100% transparent as it’s a translucent creamy white. But it won’t affect the color of the polish on top.
duri Rejuvacote 1 Original Maximum Strength Nail Growth System, Base, and Top Coat
This set features base and top coats, which promises to strengthen nails dramatically within three weeks or less.
They are fortified with wheat and soy protein, calcium, and keratin to fix brittle nails and speed up growth. The base coat locks in moisture and provides fatty acids and collagen for healthier nails.
Orly Base Nail Coat, Bonder
Orly’s professional base coat uses a rubberized resin to ensure that the polish on top stays put. It sets to a tacky finish that won’t work as a standalone polish.
This is a salon formula that’s part of their spa collection.
butter LONDON Horse Power Nail Rescue Base Coat
This brand is 8-free. It doesn’t contain harmful ingredients like xylene, ethyl tosylamide, TPHP, DBP, toluene, camphor, formaldehyde, or formaldehyde resin.
Instead of chemicals like those, it features horsetail extract and biotin to stimulate healthy nail growth. There are also calcium and vitamin B to strengthen weak nails.
I wouldn’t be surprised if your dermatologist is a fan of this product as it’s formaldehyde-free and therefore unlikely to cause allergic reactions.
Karma Organic Two in One Base Coat/Top Coat
Here’s a nail polish brand that has two spa locations in New Jersey. Their polish is 7-free, vegan-friendly, and comes in over 100 colors. It’s made to be safe for pregnant women, children, and those with sensitive skin. It’s also eco-conscious.
DERMELECT COSMECEUTICALS – Transfix Nail Restore Base Coat
This base coat was created to repair nails damaged by acrylics and gels. It strengthens and heals fragile nails while it conceals imperfections. The transparent base coat is attractive in its own right as it adds a glossy finish to the natural nail.
It contains vitamin E and sunflower seed oil to restore moisture. Then, there are other nutrients like keratin to boost flexibility and Tremella mushroom with antimicrobial activity to ward off fungal infections.
Seche Clear and Seche Vite, Base Coat and Top Coat for Nail Polish
This American-made set has won awards from Total Beauty and Nails Reader’s Choice. They dry quickly to a glossy finish that prevents chipping and staining while extending the lifetime of the manicure.
What’s interesting is that you can use this combination of polishes with any other brand and any color. It’s also compatible with gels, acrylics, and fiberglass or silk extensions.
Ellie Chase 7-in-1 Nail Treatment
This isn’t a plain old base coat as much as it is a miracle worker. If your nails are dry and brittle, this treatment will make them shinier, stronger, and smoother. It offers protection, hydration, and nutrition.
Key ingredients include vitamin E, amino acids, and violet extract—these work to turn back time and undo damage, rejuvenating the nails.
There’s also Hexanal, which hardens the nail. It’s a patented aldehyde.
Add in argan and baobab oil, plus acetyl-methionine peptide, and the polish increases the nails’ flexibility to prevent breakage.
CND Stickey Anchoring Base Coat
No, this isn’t the kind of base coat you can wear by itself. It’s sticky on purpose to anchor the colored polish and prevent chipping and peeling. It also averts the staining of the natural nail.
If you happen to labor with your hands, wash them a lot, or use a lot of moisturizer, it will significantly extend the manicure’s lifetime.
ZOYA Anchor Base Coat
There are two versions of base coat from this brand. One is a ridge filler, while this one is adhesive. It bonds the colored polish to the nail plate and strengthens the nail with added protein.
You only need one layer of the flexible coating to avoid chipping your manicure all too soon. Then, apply two thin coats of any shade and one layer of top coat.
Vishine No-Wipe Top Coat & Base Coat Gel Nail Polish Set
Save time and money by getting your base coat and top coat in one place. This set guarantees that your manicure should enjoy a mirror shine finish for at least two weeks. It wears like a gel but removes in just a few minutes.
Neither polish has a strong odor. They are made in compliance with US and EU regulations for safety.
You’ll need an LED lamp to cure them both. By the way, please store them away from direct sunlight and high temperature, as this may cause them to clump or dry up prematurely.
Maxus Nails Base Coat Nail Polish
A fungal infection can be serious. This base coat features tea tree oil with anti-fungal and antiseptic properties.
What’s more, it’s 11-free, with no parabens, phthalates, or harsh chemicals. It’s also vegan and gluten-free.
The formula is fortified with amino acids to prevent breakage and splitting. It also moisturizes and enhances the natural sheen of the nail. It’s beneficial for strengthening weak and brittle nails.
AIMEILI Gel Nail Polish No Wipe Top and Base Coat Set
How about a base coat that cures in 30 seconds? This one will under a UV or LED lamp. But don’t be alarmed if it still feels sticky because that’s part of its design. It helps the polish adhere and resist chipping and smudging for up to 21 days.
Take note that the potent resin may trigger an allergic reaction in sensitive users. You only need a thin coat to be effective.
Modelones Matte Gel Top Coat with Base Coat
This kit comes with a matte top coat. But what interests us is the flexible base coat. It will feel sticky after curing. That’s on purpose to help the gel polish stay put. Please don’t try to cure it for longer, as this may lead to peeling.
When applied properly, the base coat helps the manicure avoid smudging and chipping for two weeks or longer. Even better, it’s compatible with all brands of gel nail polish. You can use it on artificial nails and tips, too.
China Glaze Strong Adhesion Base Coat
Are you looking for a shiny base coat? This is translucent and glossy, which allows it to serve as regular nail polish by itself.
Users say it doesn’t peel easily. It extends the lifetime of their manicure significantly. Plus, you can use it with other brands of polish.
Tenoverten The Foundation Nail Strengthening Base Coat
The Foundation gets rave reviews because it allows the home user to enjoy a salon-quality manicure. It absolutely puts a stop to peeling and chipping from the tip of the nail.
Moreover, it hardens the nails with horsetail and botanicals. While you wear it, the nutrients seep into the nail to strengthen it from the inside out.
Go ahead, wear it by itself as if it were regular nail polish. No one will notice the difference – all they’ll see is the shine.
Happily, the polish is both cruelty-free and 5-free.
DEBORAH LIPPMANN Base Coat, Genie In A Bottle
If you’ve been doing nails for a while, you’ve probably heard of this celebrity manicurist brand. Allure awarded it Best Nail Polish Formula in 2018.
It works magic on stained, yellowed, and dull nails.
The sheer violet pigment neutralizes the off-color while it brings out the healthy pink of the skin underneath.
It may add another step and another minute to your manicure, but base coat will pay off big-time. It’s like a primer for your nails as it ensures perfect coverage and adherence of the polish.
If you’ve been struggling with chipping and peeling, or even yellowed and stained nails, base coat is the solution.
Drop by again soon and leave us a comment about how your new base coat is performing.
1. https://health.howstuffworks.com/skin-care/nail-care/tips/base-coat-nail-polish.htm by Stephanie Watson, accessed November 12, 2020