I go through a lot of top coat. Beyond just changing my polish on a daily basis, I tear through it when I’m swatching. Since swatching doesn’t require longevity of wear or the ability to stop chips, I’m a topcoat ho when it comes to swatching – I’ll use anything that puts a shine on the tips for the camera.
A while back I ordered a bunch of foils and received a free base coat and top coat with the set. This tickled me as it was an additional top coat for the swatching. But after using it a few times, I realized that I really, really liked it. In checking with my supplier, I found it was a no-name brand that you could buy in individual bottles and, believe it or not, in 5 gal barrels. And it was CHEAP.
This started me thinking. Many a polish fanatic has a relationship with their holy grail top coat that would challenge the loyalty of any marriage. But the question I needed answered was, is this loyalty based on actual performance or is the perceived performance based on loyalty.
So I started thinking some more. Wouldn’t it be interesting to send out a bunch of top coats ranging in cost and reputation to some avid polish fiends to see what they thought about them without knowing which top coat it was? I thought so! I rounded up 8 volunteers and sent them 12 top coats labeled A through L. See the army of mini top coats? Impressive, eh?
I gave the testers 8 weeks to test the top coats and an additional week to finish up their feedback on each of the top coats. The rating system looks like the chart below and the testers were encouraged to add as many comments as they liked.
Now for those of you good at math, stop adding and averaging or you’ll find that none of this makes sense. I specifically asked the testers to rate from the gut. That means scoring each polish in each category and then scoring the polish overall without double checking the numbers. Why? Because a tester could have given high marks for all areas except one, but the low rating of that one category would prevent them from ever buying that polish. In that instance, the numbers simply won’t add up but will still be a good reflection of what their rating is of that polish. It was important that the ratings reflected the tester’s true reaction to the polish, not manufacturing a rating based on category averages.
This testing is based on two things: scoring and ranking. Scores are based on assigning numeric evaluations to each top coat. Testers gave category scores based on each base coat used and then gave the top coat an overall score. Ranking was when the testers listed each polish in preference order from 1 to 12 with one being the favorite and 12 being the least favorite. Overall polish ranking was determined by averaging all the Overall TC Scores and in the case of a tie, the top coat preference ranking was used to determine the overall ranking.
We also requested that the testers rate the topcoats for each basecoat used. This will give you an idea of what the various combinations were. It is very possible that you will see multiple lines for the same basecoat and that is either because a tester tested and rated the topcoat twice with the same basecoat or multiple testers used the same basecoat. It is also possible that you will see conflicting scores and conflicting comments. Keep in mind that everyone’s body chemistry is different and that different results are to be expected when you have 8 different people testing.
Here is how each polish’s scores and ranking is going to be displayed.
Here were the recommended guidelines:
- Record and score each base coat that was used with each top coat.
- If more than one basecoat was used, give an overall score for the top coat, regardless of individual base coat cores
- Score based on gut feeling and do not attempt to make the numbers add up or average since every person weights a category differently (i.e. an individual might not really care about polish scent, so even if they scored it extremely low, it wouldn’t really affect their overall score of the polish).
- Try to use a Top Coat twice to ensure accuracy of results.
The topcoats tested were of my choosing. Some were very calculated additions. Some were donated by a very generous China Glaze rep. Some were just extras I had lying around. So to answer the question before it gets asked, if your particular holy grail top coat was not tested, it was either because I didn’t have it, didn’t want to buy it or it wasn’t donated.
I was very excited about this testing. I was even more excited to see the results. It was a long 10 weeks to wait for the feedback to come back in. Fortunately for you, you don’t have to wait that long. Starting tomorrow, we will be featuring one top coat per day until all 12 Top Coats tested have been revealed.
Each top coat will feature the ratings of all the women that tested it. In addition, there will be a plethora of comments to accompany the ratings. It will almost like you were there for the testing! I will start with the “why the hell did you make me put this on my tips” top coat and end with the “I’m so in love with this top coat, we will be getting married as soon as I know its name” top coat.