I always thought top coat was a must. However, recently, I’ve learned that more people are ditching top coat. I wanted to investigate. A good friend of mine never uses top coat. I’ve even see brands recommend you wear their polish without top coat. I only had a week, but I put these two favorite polishes to the test!
Using a favorite top coat, I used Superchic Laquer on one hand. On my other hand, I just used this Essie polish. Yes, my hands are two different lengths here. My left hand has longer nails, so I wanted to protect them more by using top coat. My right hand used to have long nails, but I unfortunately had a nail break recently!
What I found is that the top coat I used is very hard, so it feels like a strong layer over my nails. The nails that did not have top coat felt much thinner. This seems to be a preference if you like thinner or thicker layers on your nails. The photos at the top were taken right after I finished painting them.
Here are my shorter, non-top coat nails after two days. It’s a common trick to wrap the tips of your nails with your polish to make it last longer. I tried to do that, but I’ve noticed that’s usually the first part to chip away. However, the overall look still looked fine to me. There weren’t any chunks missing, the edges looked pretty good. I was happy with it.
Here are my nails with top coat a few days later. They still have a nice sheen to them. You can tell the edges have started to wear away a bit. As someone who uses their hands for work often, it doesn’t shock me.
I could only do my test for a week, so here are the final results. My shorter nails without top coat lasted pretty well. However, my one complaint is that it took longer to dry without the quick dry top coat. There was a bit of chipping on some ends as you can see in the right picture, but overall it stayed together pretty well.
On my hand with top coat, I unfortunately chipped my middle nail. I always have this hope that top coat will make my nails thicker and less likely to break, but it always happens eventually.
This is 100% a preference on how it feels for your own nails. I think I will keep sticking to using top coat, but if you have shorter nails, going without is a legitimate option. Despite my chip near the end, I still think top coat is best if you have longer nails and you want to protect them.