When the request for volunteers went out for the blind top coat study, I jumped at the chance. I hadn’t been into polish for even a year by the time the study was set to start; my knowledge of the nail polish world was at the toddler level at best. Up until the top coat study, I had tried exactly four top coats: Seche Vite, Nubar Diamont, Barielle Manicure Extender, and Poshe. Poshe was a complete failure on me; I gave it to my daughters to use. Nubar Diamont and Barielle Manicure Extender both worked well for me but I always returned to Seche Vite. While I had an open mind going into the top coat study, I was fairly confident that nothing could beat Seche Vite for me. I couldn’t have been more wrong!
Because my results were such a surprise to me, I wondered if the other testers had also been surprised. So I suggested to Gabrielle that we run a follow-up post asking the testers a few questions and sharing them with you. She liked the idea, and graciously asked me to do the post. I think it was also a move on her part to get me to post more frequently!
First, let’s meet the testers.
Oh! Before we go on, let me say that I have not listed the testers in the same order that is listed in the 12 top coat reveal posts. In other words, Vennie is not Tester #1, Lausiepoos is not Tester #2, etc.
Vennie: I have been into nail polish seriously about 1½ years but I have always liked it. Before the nail board I had about 35 polishes (so more than average I think) and now I have waaaay more than that. Before the topcoat testing my holy grail was Seche Vite and it was my number one pick!! But honestly it was tied with the testing group #1 (I am getting a huge bottle of it!).
Lausiepoos: I’ve been into nail polish seriously for about a year (OPI France collection!). I had a small collection of around 20 polishes before that, but I may or may not have many more by now… My holy grail before the testing was Nubar Diamont. I’ve always had problems with quick dry topcoats and was using OPI DS Top Coat with Creative Nail Design (CND) Dry & Shine for a long time before that. I cannot fault Diamont on B3F polishes, but it is quite pricey in the UK and a hot screaming mess on older polishes. I was skeptical that I could find a new B3F holy grail, but was desperate to find a top coat for my older polishes and beloved CND. I did (Lippmann Addicted to Speed) but it is so expensive!
Carla: I’ve been into nail polish since April 08 and my holy grail was Seche Vite.
Oceanmist (a.k.a. DrFrankenpolish): I’ve been into nail polish on and off ever since I was a kid. I had a terrible nail biting habit up until a few years ago, and once I kicked that I really dove head first into nail polish. My holy grail has always been Seche Vite… I always go back when I stray.
Emmy: I’ve been interested in nail polish since college, but my stash didn’t really start growing until about 5 years ago. I had just gotten my first bottle of Nubar Diamont right before I started the topcoat testing, and it was my new Holy Grail.
EveryShadeOfPINK: Forget Beatrix Potter, my mum stuck brightly coloured make-up ads (from Vogue, Harpers etc) in my crib when I was a baby (apparently if I liked the colours I would keep myself amused cooing at them and trying to touch them for hours) so I was a goner at birth. As a child I played with her nail polish bottles, pretending to paint my nails, my dolls nails, her nails, anything with nails that didn’t run away from me lol. I graduated to really painting my nails in my early teens ….so I think I can safely claim I’ve been into it my whole life! Before doing the top coat testing my holy grail top coat was Seche Vite.
Joanna: I’ve been into nail polish for 60 years! My holy grail top coat has been Seche Vite.
Laeny: That’s me! I’ve been into nail polish for just over a year now, and have loved every minute of my journey. Like I mentioned above, my holy grail top coat has been Seche Vite.
And now for the questions!
What was the biggest surprise you experienced with the results?
Vennie: That the more expensive ones weren’t favorites and that my beloved Seche Vite was still my number one (but it was close – I LOVE J haha) and that a nail board fave was one I couldn’t even keep on it sucked so bad!
Lausiepoos: I cannot believe that was Poshe! It was totally lame. So glad I haven’t sprung for it!
Carla: That I thought Seche Vite was the best (the only other fast dry top coat I had tried was Poshe) and that there are quicker drying polishes out there and ones that last much, much longer.
Oceanmist: That Poshe ranked so low. Personally, when I tried it a while ago on my own, it didn’t work for me. But many others seem to love it, so I was surprised.
Emmy: I think my biggest surprise was that I hadn’t heard of a couple of the top coats that I really liked – Set & Seal and Addicted to Speed were in my top 3, and I had never even heard of them! I’ve been missing out! I was also surprised that Diamont turned out to be so far down my list!
EveryShadeOfPINK: That I hadn’t even heard of half of the top coats *looks embarrassed and surrenders nail board membership card*
Joanna: The low ranking of Poshe, which has received so many awards. I expected to be alone in my dislike.
Me: The biggest surprises were (1) that my beloved Seche Vite was 5th on my list; and (2) that the best performing top coat for me and overall for the testers was a No Name brand that costs 99¢ for half an ounce and $11.99 for a 16oz refill bottle!! Wow!!
Which top coats did you suspect you identified before the reveal and why?
Vennie: Nubar Diamont because of the smell.
Lausiepoos: I knew that A was Seche Vite and B was Nubar Diamont because I have used both in the past. I think they are very distinctive in the way they behave.
Carla: Nubar Diamont, because of the smell; Seche Vite, because it was familiar and Poshe because it didn’t dry. Also, my favorite was H but it didn’t dry particularly quickly so I suspect it is Zoya Armour.
Oceanmist: Lippmann Addicted to Speed! It has a very distinct smell and the consistency gave it away.
Emmy: I didn’t really try to guess what any of the top coats were, beyond assuming that Diamont, Seche Vite, and Poshe were on the list somewhere.
EveryShadeOfPINK: Seche coz it’s my holy grail, and I was *So Sure* that E was Out The Door… ooops lol
Joanna: Diamont and Seche, because I use the latter, and have previously used the former.
Me: Haha, ok. Well the one I thought was Nubar Diamont, wasn’t. And when I tested B (Diamont) I made some kind of know-it-all comment that it acted like Diamont except for the shine. I told you, I’m still a nail polish toddler! I didn’t even make Seche Vite!
How will the results of this test affect your top coat regime and what are the biggest changes you will make?
Vennie: I am definitely buying H (Seal & Set) and J (Supply Source) – I want a gallon of J!!! As far as changes I will be more willing to try different top coats, I have always tried different base coats but just kind of stuck with Seche Vite. Now I know that there are a lot of good ones out there (and terrible ones haha).
Lausiepoos: My favorite was Nubar Diamont which is my current top coat. I’m buying Rock Hard without a doubt. I’m also seriously considering Lippmann Addicted to Speed for my old formula polishes.
Carla: I will change to H (Seal & Set). I have ¾ of a Seche refill so will still use that on my toes and if I am in a rush as I can rely on its dry time. I will definitely get a huge bottle of H as it wears like iron which is fantastic as I hate chips dictating when I have to change, *I* want to make that decision.
Oceanmist: I’d like to try out the top 2 ranked ones, since I am not familiar with either and not really heard much about them.
Emmy: I’m going to branch out and try some brands I hadn’t bought before.
EveryShadeOfPINK: My second ranked topcoat was my holy grail prior to testing, and as I have a big refill bottle of it there will be no immediate change…. BUT as my top 8 were all excellent, and I did find it really hard to rank them (I could happily have submitted 3 first places and 5 second places lol) I will look into the availability and prices of my other highly ranked top coats when it comes time to buy more.
Joanna: I’ll continue to use the bottles I ranked as my top 4, but will always have Seche Vite as my reliable and trusted finishing coat.
Me: This is easy. I’ve already made an order with The Supply Source for a half ounce bottle and the 16 ounce refill bottle of the No Name brand. I do have quite a lot of Seche Vite to use up, but fortunately I have teen daughters and their friends who like to congregate at my house and paint their nails, so it won’t go to waste. But I have firmly moved over to the No Name brand camp!!
What did you enjoy about the testing?
Vennie: Trying out all of the different top coats and just being a part of the testing group! Knowing that what I was doing could help out the nail board was a lot of fun.
Lausiepoos: I didn’t enjoy the bubbles! I did enjoy seeing the differences between Big 3 Free and old formula polish manis. I also love finally seeing the results – interesting stuff.
Carla: It was fun to try new brands that I would not have tried otherwise. It was nice to know that I can make an informed choice rather than stick to what I know and live with the shortcomings.
Oceanmist: The end results, of course!
Emmy: I liked really paying attention to lots of aspects of each top coat – usually I just slap on top coat, and with this test I really analyzed a lot of things about each. It was hard to rate them sometimes.
EveryShadeOfPINK: Being a part of something exciting!
Joanna: Having to look after my hands and fingers when judging the topcoats; giving them more attention than normal and finding that as a result I stopped picking at the hard skin down the side of my nail and my cuticles.
Me: Everything, really! Even when I was cursing up a storm at the watery top coats, gnashing my teeth at the ones that gave me bubbles or the ones that never seemed to dry, and gagging at the smell of a few, I truly loved every minute. I got to try out top coats that I may never have gotten around to (Lippmann Addicted to Speed that would be you). I do admit to emailing Gabrielle a few times trying to pry information out of her (didn’t work, she’s so strict!!) but even with the secrecy, it was a blast.
Now I have some questions for you!
|What did you think of the results? Will our findings affect your top coat regime and will you make any changes?
We can’t wait to read your comments!