Seal N Set is the last and best of our American International Industries (which also owns China Glaze) company top coats. This was not only an unexpected winner, it was a rather unexpected top coat. I had never heard of this gem before, and to be perfectly honest, I don’t think alot of other women have heard of it either – polish fiend or no. But if the results of the last several weeks of testing are any indication, we need to make a concerted effort to change that.
Seal N Set did not score #1 in any of the categories, but it did score 2nd in 6 of them. Even in the two other categories, the scores were well above the fray. Not shabby for an unknown. Rank-wise, one tester ranked it #1, two testers ranked it #2 and one tester ranked it #3. In fact, if we were to rank the polishes on ranking preferences alone, Seal N Set would have pulled ahead as #1.
Seal N Set was one of the top coats rated that didn’t seem readily availableon the web. Fortunately, our ever vigilent China Glaze rep talked to Head 2 Toe (or better known as H2T) and it will be carried there shortly. So keep your eyes out for it! [ETA - Head 2 Toe now has this under "Other Brand" in the Top Coat and Base Coat section.]
Here are the results: (if you’re just joining us, rating chart explanation is here)
Comments: Tester 1
Applied smooth, dried pretty quickly, but was not very shiny. I had chipping and peeling towards the end of the first day. Tried this one again and it was awesome! It dried quickly and was SUPER shiny! My nails looked like glass. It also lasted a really long time without chips/peels.
Comments: Tester 2
Test 1: Polish is Lancôme Indigo Paris. Test 2: Polish is Zoya Dharma. Applied top coat immediately after last coat of color. Consistency was on the thick side but quite manageable, polish stayed on the brush until applied and only went where I applied it. Application was perfect, self-leveled and dissolved a few bubbles. The scent is mild and slightly metallic. The shine after application is glass-like.
After 10 minutes the top coat feels perfectly dry, smooth, and hard. I had to press firmly to create a dent. After 20 minutes the dent made had melted about 50%, and I was able to create another dent, again, had to press firmly. After 30 minutes the 10 minute dent had further melted in but was still visible, the 20 minutes dent does not look as if it melted in at all.
Day 1 after mani: no chips, no tipwear, still a glass-like shine; the dents made last night melted in and are nearly undetectable. Day 2 after mani: no chips, no tipwear, still a glass-like shine. Day 3 after mani: no chips, no tipwear, still a glass-like shine.
Comments: Tester 3
Polish is Orly Pixie Dust. Excellent Application, really nice smell. Top coat dried in a few minutes, and was fully dry in about 25 minutes. Mani lasted 2 full days with only 1 chip and minor tipwear.
Comments: Tester 4
First mani: Was dry to the touch in 1-2 minutes. Smooth surface, very shiny. Thick but not gloppy. Slight tipwear on day 2, with 1 teeny chip. Very light smell, no worse than polish, doesn’t bother me at all. Second mani: 1 coat over a glitter polish – wasn’t smooth to the touch. Second mani got serious chips day 2, but I did a lot of work that day.
Comments: Tester 5
Smooth and easy application, dry to touch in one minute, very shiny and smooth looking. Barely dentable after 15 minutes. Shiny and rock hard next day (latex paint didn’t stick – was slick). No shrinkage and minimal tip wear after 3 days and tiny chip day 4. Fantastic with old China Glaze polish. Shiny and hard. No shrinkage, minimal tipwear, no chipping after 4 days and stayed shiny. This would be my Number 1 with old non-big-3-free polishes.
Comments: Tester 6
Very quick dry time. I had to have a shower within 5 minutes of application and only 2 nails were dented. It was a glitter polish so I got away with it. Not much shine, but that may have been the glitter. Quite a strong scent, but not horrible. No chipping or tipwear to speak of. Still looked the same 48 hours later.
Good try second time and lovely shine. Perfect consistency. Some shrinkage at the tip.
A horrible disaster over old formula polish. Major shrinkage at both ends, and brush marks in the polish. Still impressive over B3F, though.
Comments: Tester 7
Single coat used over 2 coats of Sinful Colors #81 Tucana, worn for 3 full days. Very first impression is that this stuff smells like acetone. If the source wasn’t impeccable I would have thrown it away, thinking some fool had thinned it with polish remover. Consistency is lovely, and application is good BUT I will say that I am a single thick layer of top coat kind of girl, so this suited me very well. I get the impression that for those who like to do a thin coat(s) this one may not be quite so good.
On my right thumb, where I didn’t load the brush up as much, I have brush marks on the side where the top coat was spread a little thin, and for the nails where I didn’t do a second dip into the bottle before I wrapped the free edge, I have shrinkage. So, this top coat definitely works best with a well loaded brush and a good thick application.
Day three: No tip wear, no chips on any of the nails – even the ones that have the shrinkage there is no sign of wear. Brilliant effort from top coat J… Sadly, whilst playing with some perfume oil, I managed to take the shine off the nails on my left hand, and left the polish gummy and damaged beyond repair. I would have liked to see how far this manicure could have lasted, as it was holding up so very well, but c’est la vie….
Further observations/comments from subsequent applications: Using skittle manis with 1 or 2 fingers on both hands this top coat was also tested over: Zoya Morgan; L.A. Girls Rockstar Groupie; China Glaze Midnight Ride; Mavala Marine Blue. Some brush strokes visible in polish when applied over Zoya Morgan. Some tip wear, but no chips when worn over Groupie. High shine, very minimal tip wear and no chipping after 4 days over Marine blue.
The brush retained traces of pink from using Morgan, which transferred onto the nail next time it was applied. This lost it significant application points and took it down a whole category, despite it actually being very nice to apply and wearing well. I swap between pastels and vampies, and so this sort of colour transfer is a BIG pain! Oddly enough the colour does seem to stay only on the brush, and not leech into the bottle; there is no change in the colour in the liquid as has happened with some of the other topcoats.
Needed thinning before 3rd use, but has remained a good consistency for all subsequent applications, and is still showing no sign of needing thinning again. NEED TO WRAP TIPS AS BAD SHRINKAGE WHEN DON’T.
Comments: Tester 8
Worn 5 full days. Single coat applied. Worn over a single coat of Nails Inc Kensington Court. Nice application with no obvious scent pervading the air. Good drying speed – was touch dry quite quickly. Shine did not last particularly well, and started chipping after 2 days.