Why Do I Need To Use A Top Coat?

Posted by Ren Wu

What Is Top Coat For Nails

The key to a long-lasting manicure is a top coat nail polish. You're really missing out if you're skipping this essential step during your DIY mani sessions. 

Key Takeaways

  • A top coat is the final step in any manicure. It's a clear polish that is designed to seal and protect your nails.
  • A top coat nail polish prolongs the life of your polish, speeds up the drying process, gives your nail art a polished look, helps prevent staining, and much more.
  • In addition to a top coat, you should always use a base coat to nourish and strengthen your natural nails.

From simplistic nude nails to intricate floral designs, it's important to seal your DIY creation with a top coat. That way, you can prevent chipping and ensure a foolproof finish! 💅

Keep reading, and we'll share all there is to know about top coats.

See Related: 10 Festive Easter Nail Designs To Try This Spring

What is a Top Coat?

If you're not totally familiar with all the different types of nail polishes, the idea of a "top coat" can seem confusing.

Some nail art newbies might make the terrible mistake of painting their nails with a single coat of bright berry blue polish and call it a day. But to have a salon-quality mani, you'll need to take a few more steps.

Top coat is the last step in any professional or at-home manicure routine. That is, of course, if you're not planning on adorning your nails with any rhinestones or embellishments. This crystal-clear formula serves several purposes and will help lock in your dainty designs. You paint it over your nails at the very end of the DIY nail art process.

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What are the Benefits of a Top Coat Nail Polish?

It's important to note that a top coat isn't the same as clear nail polish. Clear nail polish can be worn alone to complement the innate beauty of your natural nails. There's nothing super special about it except for the fact that it's see-through.

Top coats, on the other hand, are specifically formulated with quick-drying ingredients and UV filters. They provide a higher level of durability, protection, and shine than regular nail polish. Because of that, it's not recommended to use a clear coat of nail polish in place of a top coat.

Adding a top coat to your nail designs is a must. This essential step can offer you plenty of benefits you wouldn't get otherwise!

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#1. Top Coats Help Your Nail Polishes Last Longer

There's nothing more frustrating than spending hours carefully detailing an immaculate French tip just for it to start chipping one hour later. Without a top coat, your DIY mani can start falling apart instantly.

A top coat can extend the life of your manicure by preventing your polish from chipping. It's a necessary layer of protection that will ensure you can enjoy a long-lasting manicure for days or even weeks!

#2. It Helps Your Nail Polish Dry Quicker

If you're rather impatient when it comes to nail art, it's important to find ways to help speed up the drying process. Taking a few extra seconds to apply a top coat will save you in the long run. For a fast-drying finish, use our Speed Dry Top Coat - it's designed to seal your base color in seconds!

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#3. A Top Coat Gives Your Nails a Long-Lasting Shine

The right top coat can add a fabulous finishing touch to any DIY mani. This is when you can give your nail art a cohesive and polished look. Especially if you used nail stamping techniques, an extra layer of top coat will make a world of difference.

Whether you opt for a glossy gleam or matte finish, a top coat offers one more way to personalize your nail look!

#4. It Helps to Prevent Nail Staining

Healthy nails are the key to a flawless final manicure. Unfortunately, the harmful chemicals in many nail polishes can damage your natural beds and leave a yucky yellow tint. A top coat helps to prevent staining and keeps water from making contact with your polish.

What is a Base Coat?

A base coat is a thick polish that is painted onto your nails before applying nail polish. It acts as a barrier between your natural nail plate and your pretty polishes.

Your base coat serves as a protective barrier between your nail polish color and your natural nail bed. Like a top coat, a base coat is a necessary step in the nail art process. Whether you're experimenting with autumn-inspired nail designs or trying out the latest trends on short nails, you can't skip either of these steps.

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Bonus: 9 Birthday Nail Ideas To Celebrate Your Special Day

A base coat should be applied before your color. It protects your fingertips from getting stained and nourishes your natural nails. Plus, it helps to extend polish wear time and smooth out your nail's surface. It's important to pick a base coat that targets your unique nail care concerns.

    If you want to cover all your bases, grab our "Not Your Basic Bundle." This six-piece set comes with classic black and white colored nail polishes and a smudge-free top coat. Plus, it features our color-correcting base coat duo and one-of-a-kind Sticky Base Coat. This super tacky formula stays sticky for longer, so it is easier to apply glitters, foils, and powders.

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    The Best Top Coats for Nails

    If you want to make your at-home mani glow and gleam, you need to use a high-quality top coat. The perfect formula can protect your nail polish from scratches and peeling while sealing your dainty designs.

    #1. Best for Fast Drying: Speed-Dry Top Coat

    Our Speed Dry Top Coat is a unique formula that is designed to dry in seconds. If you're on a time crunch or simply don't have the patience to wait for your very merry Christmas manicure to dry, this top coat will help speed up the process.

    This crystal-clear polish will give your long-lasting manicure a glossy finish.

    #2. Best Matte Top Coat: Matte Top Coat

    It's hard to resist the radiance of glossy nails. But it's time to set your go-to glossy top coat aside. Matte nails are all the rage right now, and you shouldn't let this timeless trend pass you by! Our top-rated Matte Top Coat is the best way to create a soft and sophisticated manicure.

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    #3. Best for Nail Stamping: Smudge-Free Top Coat

    Though nail stamping is a quick and painless process, it's important to preserve and protect your final design. Sometimes, applying a top coat if your colored polish is still wet can cause your design to smear. But with this Smudge-Free Top Coat, you'll never need to worry about your nail-stamping creations being blurred!

    #4. Best Water-Based Formula: Aqua Topper Top Coat

    This top coat is the cream of the crop. It's smudge-free and water-based, meaning it is guaranteed not to smear your nail polish. It won't even dull any nail glitter, foil, or holographic powders. To better protect your nails, apply a thin layer of your standard top coat over our Aqua Topper Top Coat. Two coats are better than one!

    If you want to see this water-based barrier in action, check out this Maniology YouTube short:

    Final Thoughts

    If you thought you could skip your top coat, you thought wrong. Technically, you could, but you'd be left with chipped, peeling, and less-than-perfect nails. Whether you like high-gloss or a matte finish, you deserve to enjoy long-lasting nail art!

    Keep Reading: 12 Pretty Spring Nail Designs For 2024


    At Maniology, we believe your nails are opportunities for adventure, fun, and unrestrained artistic expression. Our nail stamping plates and nail accessories are here to help foster your self-expression in the hopes of building a community of individuality. For more nail tutorials, subscription box updates, and designs, follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, TikTok, LinkedIn, and YouTube.

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