I’m pretty fickle when it comes to top coats. I started out with OPI’s top coat (a bit of advice: friends don’t let friends use OPI’s top coat. Trust me on this.) but thanks to MakeupAlley’s Nail Board, I was introduced to the quick-dry top coat. Quick-dry top coat was a revelation for me…goodbye ugly sheet marks! The first QDTC I used was Seche Vite…I’m still a fan, but I highly recommend Seche Restore, the magical thinner. If you have a finicky thick polish, Seche Restore will fix you right up.
One of the biggest complaints about Seche Vite is the inclusion of toluene, one of the “big 3” chemicals. For more information about the “big 3”, check out this article (http://www.dermadoctor.com/blog/nail-polish-ingredients-avoiding-the-toxic-trio/). As a vintage nail polish collector, I don’t mind these chemicals, but some of you may be concerned. One of Seche Restore’s main ingredients is toluene, which helps polish apply smoothly.
Seche Vite was my go-to until I Cult Nails released their big-3-free top coat, Wicked Fast. I still have a couple of unused bottles hoarded away, now that Cult Nails is now out of business (*sob*). Other excellent big-3-free top coats from my experience are Pretty Serious’ Crystal Coat, Nubar’s Diamont, Deborah Lippmann’s Addicted To Speed and New York Color In A New York Minute’s Grand Central Station.
While I’m a fan of big-3-free top coats, my current favorite is Glisten & Glow’s HK Girl top coat. I’m now an avid knitter, so one of my main requirements is that my polish must dry as soon as possible so I can get back to knitting. (I’ll be knitting once I’m done typing. It’s an addiction.) HK Girl is big-2 free but still contains dibutyl phthalate. Not only is it quick-drying, it’s also very shiny and seems to make my weekly manicures last.
Let me digress on top coats…Glisten & Glow also has nail care products (I LOVE their Sangria White Peach cuticle balm. It smells delicious!) and their own line of nail polish! Today I have two of their upcoming collections, Experience The Islands and the All Dressed Up duo. Both collections are comprised of crème-finish polishes.
Experience the Islands
ATV In Aruba (one coat): orchid pink crème
Bungee Jump In The Bahamas (two coats): pastel turquoise crème
Parasail In Puerto Rico (two coats): bright salmon pink crème
Snorkel In St. Thomas (two coats: bright cerulean blue crème
ATV In Aruba has the best application and formula…it’s completely opaque in one coat. The other three polishes apply well, but not as easy as ATV In Aruba. Snorkel In St. Thomas has a more jelly-like consistency and isn’t as pigmented as the other three.
All Dressed Up Duo
Little Black Dress (two coats): black crème
Wedding Gown White (two coats): white crème
The All Dressed Up Duo are basic black and white crème polishes. Little Black Dress applied well in two coats, but I was disappointed with Wedding Gown White. My swatch was done with two rather streaky coats but probably could have used an additional coat to even out.
Overall, I say come to Glisten & Glow for the top coat, but stay around for the polish. They also carry insanely gorgeous holographic polishes, which is always a draw for me. While you’re there, try the Sangria White Peach cuticle balm!