Applying a top coat

Applying a top coat (Photo by rashid khreiss on Unsplash)

One of the keys to a longer lasting manicure is to use a quality top coat. Adding one over your stunning nails can help to protect your color, keeping those nails shiny and chip-free. With the best nail polish top coats, there’s less lifting and peeling of your nail polish, adding to your manicure’s longevity.

It is really important to incorporate self-care into our daily lives in order to de-stress and for some, this includes painting their nails at home or heading to the salon. A survey of 2000 Americans finds (67%) agree the personal self-care routines they began during the COVID-19 pandemic have become permanent. So, what’s going into those self-care routines? 47 percent of respondents say at-home spa rituals are their go-to. Other activities include going to an actual spa (41%), getting a manicure or pedicure (36%), and getting a haircut (34%). 

When putting time into your self-care with a mani-pedi at home, you’ll want to ensure it stays for more than a day or two. A top coat’s benefits can elevate your manicure experience to new heights with protection and enhancing the shine and glossiness of your nails, giving them a professional look. Additionally, a top coat can smooth out any imperfections on the surface of your nails. Some top coats are even formulated with ingredients that promote nail strength and growth, nourishing and protecting your nails in the process. By using a nail polish top coat, you can achieve salon-quality results in the comfort of your own home, ensuring your manicure stays vibrant and beautiful for longer periods of time.

Now if you want to keep your nails looking their best, then this list will help. Here at StudyFinds we love a great, long-lasting manicure. So, we’ve put together a list of the five best nail polish top coats from ten expert websites to help you choose. As always, we’d like to see your own recommendations in the comments below!

Woman blowing her fingernails dry after giving herself a manicure.
Woman blowing her fingernails dry after giving herself a manicure (Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels)

The List: Best Nail Polish Top Coats, According to Beauty Experts


1. Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat

Reviewers can’t get enough of this quick drying top coat from Seche Vite. “Swipe it on for an ultra-glossy, crystal-clear effect that lasts several days without chipping, peeling, or yellowing,” suggests Byrdie

Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat
Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat

The key is to apply this top coat while your nails are still wet. It helps to avoid the polish peeling off and shrinking at the edges. “Do not waste time waiting for your nails to go dry as this high-shine top coat can dry the nail paint in seconds. It smoothes your nail and keeps your nail color from fading for up to 2 weeks,” adds Stylecraze.

“Made with 100% vegan ingredients, it also prevents the lacquer below from fading while being cruelty-free,” according to Hollywood Life.

2. OPI Top Coat

“OPI is one of the trusted nail polish brands that manufactures cruelty-free, non-toxic nail polishes. This amazing top coat nail polish from OPI seals the nail polish properly and prevents any kind of scratches,” points out Long Nails QnA.

OPI Top Coat
OPI Top Coat

Us Weekly calls OPI Top Coat ‘Best Overall’, adding it’s “easy to apply to get better coverage with fewer coats, making it easier to achieve a luminous and long-lasting finish.” 

“Formulated to prevent smudges and dry into a smooth, high-gloss shine, this fail-safe formula protects your manicure and seals in color for up to seven days,” notes Rank & Style.

3. CND Vinylux Longwear Top Coat

If you are looking to achieve a gel-like shine without a UV lamp, try this top coat from CND. BestReviews points out, it “extends most manicures and pedicures to at least a week without scratching.”

CND Vinylux Longwear Top Coat
CND Vinylux Longwear Top Coat

“The reason the bottle is opaque like gel and Shellac polishes is that while this top coat is air dry and doesn’t need a special lamp to cure, it does contain polymers that react to light. As you wear this top coat and it is exposed to light, the lacquer continues to harden even after it is completely dry,” adds

InStyle suggests, “if you have brittle, damaged nails, though, it’s possible that this can make that issue worse because the formula can be drying. To combat this, smooth a cuticle oil onto your nails each night to keep the area well moisturized.” Keep in mind this isn’t a quick dry top coat polish, so budget time for it to properly adhere.

4. Sally Hansen Insta Dri Anti-Chip Top Coat

This budget-friendly top coat from Sally Hansen is available in most drug stores. Byrdie notes, it “glides smoothly and precisely over your nails, leaving a bubble-free finish that’s dry to the touch within 30 seconds and entirely hardened within minutes.”

Sally Hansen Insta Dri Anti-Chip Top Coat
Sally Hansen Insta Dri Anti-Chip Top Coat

What’s its secret? “The special feature of this quick-dry nail polish is its double-UV filter formula. It acts as a protective invisible shield against the yellowing of the nail color,” adds Pinkvilla.

“It comes with a perfecting brush that efficiently contours to any nail shape, gliding on precisely and quickly. With this top coat nail polish, you’ll get a beautiful shiny finish that lasts up to 10 days,” according to Us Weekly.

5. Beetles Gel Polish No Wipe Top Coat

Lastly, this top coat from Beetles Gel Polish scores big points for versatility. “This product isn’t just made for your natural nails, but it can also be used on acrylic extensions, artificial nails, or even gel manicures,” points out Hollywood Life.

Beetles Gel Polish No Wipe Top Coat
Beetles Gel Polish No Wipe Top Coat

Reviewers praise this top coat for being fast-drying, with very little odor. So how did it get its name? “It is called no wipe because of its smudge-proof coating that covers wet and sticky residue of nail paint. You can call it the best long-lasting top coat as it keeps the nail paint intact and free from fading for up to 21 days,” notes Stylecraze.

“No matter what type of nail polish you use for your nail art, you can ensure a long-lasting manicure with this gel top coat,” suggests Long Nails QnA.

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Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations. This post may contain affiliate links.  

About Melissa Kraus

Melissa is a freelance writer, based out of New Jersey. She has over two-decades of writing, editing, and producing experience for Radio, TV, and Digital Media.

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