Rock, another product from American International Industries (which also owns China Glaze – they had a lot more than you thought, didn’t they?), was a solid performer. While all the scores were good, there didn’t seem to be any stand out areas that pulled it ahead. There was just nothing that made any of the testers go, “WOW!” It didn’t score first or second in any category and didn’t win any tester’s hearts enough to rank it #1. Two testers ranked it as their second choice and one tester ranked it as their third choice.
Considering that this top coat was not a quick dry, it was impressive that it held its own as well as it did. However, despite the solid ratings, I don’t think I’ll have any of the testers clamoring to get their hands on the spare testing bottles.
Here are the results: (if you’re just joining us, rating chart explanation is here)
Comments: Tester 1
Dried very quickly, and was very shiny and smooth. Lasted for a few days with no chipping or peeling.
Comments: Tester 2
Test 1: Polish is RBL Grunge. Test 2: Polish is China Glaze Blue Island Iced Tea. Applied top coat immediately after last coat of color. Consistency was thin, but not watery or too drippy. Application went well, there was no tip-pull and the top coat self-leveled. The smell is obnoxiously unpleasant and eye-watering. The shine after application is glass-like.
After 10 minutes the surface is tacky and easily dentable. After 20 minutes the surface feels just barely dry, and it seems soft underneath. The dent made at 10 minutes has melted into itself but is still visible. After 30 minutes it is dry to the touch, however the polish as a whole still feels as if it’s only surface-dry. The 10 minute and 20 minute dents have softened further but are still visible. And I have MAJOR shrinkage around the cuticles. After 1 hour the dents have not melted any further. It still feels only surface dry and unstable.
Day 1 after mani: no chips, no tipwear, still a glass-like shine. Day 2 after mani: no chips, no tipwear, still a glass-like shine. Day 3 after mani: no chips, but starting to show tipwear, shine is not as glassy. Day 4 after mani: still no chips, tipwear very evident, shine is same as yesterday.
Comments: Tester 3
Polish is Punchy Pink. Amazing application, lovely scent, extra quick dry time. Top coat was dry to the touch in under 5 minutes and completely in about 20 minutes. Tipwear moderate, overall wear very good.
I have applied acrylic overlays however and don’t know if this will affect wear so will use this top coat again at the end with Nubar Nu Nail. Tried after removal of acrylic, still chipped 2 days later, with moderate tipwear.
Comments: Tester 4
Very light scent, not bad at all. Good consistency, not too thick or too thin. Good application, applied evenly and smoothly. Dry to gentle pressure at 10 minutes, could carefully use my hands at 15 minutes. Very shiny! Some tipwear/shrinkage on day 2. Noticed some side shrinkage- top coat pulled away from the color on the sides. Day 3 – polish peeled off one nail, had craze marks and lifting on others.
Dry speed irritates me a little, it’s just fast/slow enough to make you over confident and use your hands too soon.
Second mani with this had lifting and peeling polish on the 2nd day.
Comments: Tester 5
Thin but not watery, easy to apply, little to no smell. Top coat was dry to touch in 5 minutes and shiny (but not as shiny as top coat H) very dentable after 15 minutes and still not hard the next day. Major cuticle shrinkage and tipwear.
Chipping by day 2 (latex wall paint wouldn’t come off of it).
Comments: Tester 6
Ooooh shiny! Application was a total dream. I’d say that dry time was about average for a quick dry, although there was a kind of dangerous 10 minutes where my mani seemed really sticky. The shine is out of this world – the dried mani is slick to the touch. No shrinkage or cuticle drag, although some colour did make it onto the brush (red creams are the worst offenders for this so I can forgive). Tipwear is average.
Comments: Tester 7
Single coat used over 2 coats of $OPI Dark Room, worn for just one day. Scent reminds me of something non-nail polish related… but I can’t place it. Besides a minor amount of cuticle drag on one nail (which was easy to fix) this top coat has lovely application – perfect consistency and self-leveling so it leaves a super shiny, glassy smooth surface.
BUT as a quick dry top coat this one is an Epic Fail on me. Nails were still tacky 15 minutes after application. 30 minutes after application, surface was dry, but not all the layers as I would expect – still slight ‘grabbing’ when touching nail-to-nail. Hmm…
Went to sleep at this point… next morning there were some minor sheet marks, though nothing obvious enough to demand a fresh mani. The initial shine was also dulled right off. So far so bad, but it gets worse. There is no need for close inspection to see very obvious shrinkage – particularly appalling on the right hand pinky finger, which has literally 1mm of shrinkage away from the nail tip! EEEK!
First day of wear resulted in dents in the polish on the nail bed, and small chips and significant tip wear on the free edge. I will try to solve the problem by wrapping the tip on my next outing with this top coat, but for now I am massively underwhelmed, and am pulling the plug after less than 24 hours wear – the state of this manicure is just too damn depressing!
Further observations/comments from subsequent applications: Using skittle manis with 1 or 2 fingers on both hands this top coat was also tested over: Orly Cupcake; Pretty good second time round. No problem at all with shrinkage when I wrap the free edge. 3 full days of no chips, and just minor tip wear on day 4. Stayed lovely and shiny too. Love the shiny!!
**OH DEAR** My bottle of top coat G has seized and turned to Jelly (or Jell-O, depending on your geographic location). It is quite unusable, and the addition of Seche Restore has not made any difference! I would suggest this is a user error of some kind – maybe it got some moisture in there somehow – rather than an issue with the product itself as I haven’t heard of this happening to any of the other testers. Pity, I think I really like this one but its ranking is based on just 2 uses rather than the multiple testings I was able to give the others. It certainly seems to dislike the $OPI formula as much as it likes the Orly one, as the results were at the opposite ends of the scale. NEED TO WRAP TIPS AS BAD SHRINKAGE OCCURS WHEN YOU DON’T.
Comments: Tester 8
Worn 5 full days. Single coat applied. Worn over a single coat of Nails Inc Kensington Court. Scent is hardly noticeable, you need to put your fingers right up to your face to smell it, and within minutes hardly even then. Shine is amazing. Lasted extremely well, and the shine stayed very well. Tip wear and a little chipping, but only after quite a few days. Love this one!