16 July 2014

Learning the Lingo - Base coat and top coat

Hi loves! Welcome to another installment of Learning the Lingo! In this series I will talk about products you might use maintaining your nails and such, what my favorite product is in that category and to keep it fun and to learn something, I'll tell you the Dutch word for it too :-D! I hope you enjoy this post, let's get started with today's subject.

Base coat (wiki quote) - This type of nail polish is a clear or milky-colored polish formula that is used specifically before applying nail polish to the nail. The purpose of it is to strengthen nails, restore moisture to the nail, and/or help polish adhere to the nail. Some base coats are marketed as "ridge fillers" which can create a smooth surface, and reduce the appearance the ridges that can appear on unhealthy nails or due to aging. Base coat may also help keep nails from being stained a yellowish color by colored polishes.

Top coat (wiki quote) - This type of nail polish is a clear colored polish formula that is used specifically after applying nail polish to the nail. It forms a hardened barrier for the nail that can prevent chipping, scratching and peeling. Many top coats are marketed as "quick-drying" and, in addition to drying quickly, also help the underlying colored polish dry quickly.

The Dutch word for base coat is basislak, the Dutch word for top coat is toplaag. We don't actually really use those words though, at least I always use the English words!

Base coat is an essential part of your polish routine. Not only can it prevent your polish from chipping too soon, it can also protect your nails from staining! As explained in the wiki quote base coat can serve many functions. The main purpose for me is to prevent staining and make my mani last longer. To do so I use a sticky base coat. Sticky bases give more grip to the polish on top meaning it'll chip less easily. Examples of sticky bases are ORLY Bonder and my current favorite Glisten & Glow Stuck on Blu!.

Another base coat I love using is Duri Rejuvacote, which is a nail hardener and growth stimulation. I use one layer of Duri, then add a coat of G&G Stuck on Blu! and that works really well for me. You could say Duri is more of a treatment instead of a regular base, and depending on your nail health you might need something for peeling nails, dry or brittle nails. OPI Nail Envy is a much used product as well.

If you have ridges in your nails you might want to buff them a little, but doing so too much will cause weak, thin nails. A ridgefiller might be handy: it makes your nail surface more smooth so you won't notice the ridges as much. Especially chrome and metallic finishes show imperfections when your nails aren't smooth. Well known ridgefilling base coats are Essie Ridge Filling Base Coat and OPI Ridge Filler.

Always make sure your base is dried properly, because otherwise you might end up with bubbles in your polish.

Top coat is the best invention ever. Without it, I would have given up on this whole nail polish obsession in a day! Because really, who can paint her nails and then make sure you don't bump them into anything for an hour or 2? Top coat protects your polish, making sure it doesn't chip as fast, gives a smooth and glossy finish and if you buy the right one, it even dries quickly.

A very well known, super quick drying top coat is Seche Vite. I've tried it myself but am not too fond of it - it gets thick and stringy real quickly and if you don't apply it the right way it might shrink your polish as well, meaning you'll get weird edges. My previous favorite was Essence Better Than Gel Top Sealer because it's cheap, dries quickly and glossy and doesn't get too thick when you are half ay through the bottle. The downside is you can't see how much is left in the bottle and while it is easy for me to grab, it isn't sold worldwide. My current holy grail is Glisten & Glow HK Girl Top Coat. It dries superquick on me, has a glossy finish but the best and most important part to me: it doesn't smudge nail art. How many perfect looking stampicures I messed up using a top coat and streaking the stamp... this one doesn't!

One important thing to remember is that the combination of base and top coats is a very personal one. What works wonders for me might be rubbish for you. Depending on your body chemistry you might need to try a few different combinations, and then the polish you use influences the result as well.

What's the word for base coat and top coat in your language? Tell me in the comments!


  1. In german, it would be Unterlack and Überlack, but it's the same here: the ones who use it call it with the english term, and the ones who use the german word, well, they don't really know what to use it for ;-)

  2. Ridge fillers save my life ;-) In Poland, it's "lakier bazowy" for base coat and "lakier nawierzchniowy" for top coat but I never use those. It's always the English version, at least more simple :)

  3. Виктория Артамонова16 July, 2014 21:07

    In Russian we usually use shortened versions of English words - "baza" for base and "top" for topcoat ) I haven't found a suitable base so far (and, to tell the truth, I'm often too lazy to use one), and I love G&G top coat, too! It's a miracle how it doesn't get thick!
    But sometimes I have troubles with it smudging my stamping - I don't know, maybe I am too careless or have too heavy a hand. Now, my holy grail to top stamping is KBShimmer Clearly On Top - this one never ruins my nail art no matter how carelessly I put it on.

  4. Funny thing that I red online about Essence BTGN TC helped me a lot. I was also mad because of that black and no transparent bottle. Now I take scissors or a small knife and scratch the black color from the bottle on one side. Underneath is a glass transparent bottle and I can see how much polish I have left. :)

  5. I really enjoy reading these Learning The Lingo posts :D
    I have heard so many good things about Duri and the G&G base coat, but I have never tried either of these. I need to finish some other bases first, before I will get a new one ;)

  6. Haha that last part is very true :D!

  7. Bazowy, sounds like a really cool band name :D!

  8. I do the same thing! But still it's hard to see if you don't have enough light and I am always scared I'll hurt my hands somehow doing that.

  9. Happy you like them! And if there's a subject you'd love to read about, feel free to let me know :-).

    If you do need a new one these are definitely a great choice!

  10. Oh it does smudge with you? Weird! And now I wanna try KBShimmer as well :-).


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