To Base Coat or Not To Base Coat?

Ever since I started keeping this nail blog, a lot of my girlfriends seem to come to me with their questions regarding nail polish and nail art.  It is kind of funny that now I am a source of information, because I learned everything I know from other blogs and from my own experiments.  One of the questions that I get most often is, “Hey, should I use a base coat?”

I know I touched on this in a previous post, but I figured I might go into some more detail here for anyone that might be wondering.  Also, I am just in a mood to write right now, so why not take advantage of it and get as many posts up as I can?  I like to talk and you guys obviously like to read since you’re reading this now! 🙂

Now if you go to any drug store, you will find dozens of base coats.  Every brand has their own base coat, and some brands even have several different types of base coats.  Here are a few examples:

  • Sally Hansen Salon Manicure Smooth and Strong Base Coat: This base coat is labeled as just a base coat (in comparison to a two-in-one base and top coat).  According to the description on the Sally Hansen website, it is a gel-like base coat that has a finish thick enough to fill ridges in your nails so you have a completely smooth surface to polish on top of.
  • Sally Hansen Diamond Shine Base and Top Coat: This base coat advertises stronger, healthier nails and a high gloss finish, hence the “diamond shine” part.  I personally do not like using the same polish as a base and a top coat, because I feel like it can’t really do both jobs since being a base coat and a top coat is two completely different things.  Based on the description of this product, I would suggest using it as a top coat because of its high gloss finish.  However, I am not speaking from experience, so don’t take the advice too heavily.
  • Sally Hansen Double Duty Strengthening Base and Top Coat: Here is another example of a base and top coat mixture that contain nylon.  What nylon works to do is hydrate and strengthen your nails, so as a top coat this polish wouldn’t really work too well.

A lot of girls I have spoken to really dislike using a base coat for a few different reasons.  However, in my experience, I would have to disagree with a lot of the arguments I have heard.

Argument #1:  “A base coat makes my nail polish chip faster.”

This really might be true, but I can’t say that I have ever had this problem.  Nail polish chips for a couple different reasons with the first being that it didn’t really adhere well to the nail in the first place.  I have noticed that when my hands are dirty or my nails aren’t perfectly clean before I start polishing them, the nail polish will not stick.  A few months ago, I painted my friend’s nails right after she had peeled an orange.  Within a couple of hours, her polish started peeling.  It was a complete disaster!  I always make sure to swipe my nails with some acetone and wash my hands immediately before painting my nails, and I don’t usually have a problem.  Secondly, nail polish will chip because the polish was applied too heavily in the first place.  If you paint two or three thick coats of polish in order to get full coverage, not only are you going to be waiting hours for it to dry but your polish will peel!  A base coat will help give a polish a nice surface to adhere to, that way you aren’t painting straight onto a smooth nail.

Argument #2:  “Base coats are a waste of money.”

This argument is something that no nail polish lover wants to hear!  Some people might think that buying nail polish in general is a waste of money…but I think that can be said for anything!  Anyways, a base coat is actually a good investment to make!  It can really protect your nails, depending on the type of nails you have and the type of base coat you buy.  If you have thin, fragile nails, there are several base coats out there for you that have strengthening qualities.  Dry brittle nails?  There is a hydrating base coat for you!  Damaged nails from acrylics or just from a plain accident?  The base coat mentioned above can fill your ridges and make a smooth, even surface.  Not only can base coats help heal your damaged nails, but they can protect your nails as well.  A lot of polishes, especially neon and darker colors can actually stain your nails.  Trust me, I have worn my share of bright oranges and dark blues that leave my nails looking like I had just tie-dyed!  No amount of acetone can undo that damage.  Also, if you are constantly changing your polish from color to color, your nails never really get a chance to breath and can actually start to turn a yellow color.  While it is possible to fix yellow nails, it is much easier to prevent than to treat.  By using a base coat, you can help eliminate the chances of getting any stains on your pretty little nails in the first place.

On the topic of money, buying a two-in-one base coat and top coat could actually save you money!  If you don’t need a special base coat for your nails, you might as well buy a top coat that can double as a base coat so you are getting the benefits without paying any extra for another polish.  🙂

I really just want to re-state that everything I am saying is from my own experience…so don’t get angry if you disagree!  I’d love to hear everyone’s ideas and opinions, so that way I can learn more as well.  I could be completely wrong and wouldn’t know it unless someone spoke up.  🙂

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5 thoughts on “To Base Coat or Not To Base Coat?

  1. Really good advice why to use a basecoat. Appreciated your ideas about why nailpolish chips. It’s not worth rushing ur mani with too thich coats.
    Many thanks.

  2. Interesting– I use the Sally Hansen Double Duty & was planning on writing a post about it in the future. I think it’s such a great base and top coat! Plus it’s only $5 so you can’t go wrong. I’ll go more into detail one day in a post!

  3. I’ve always thought that using a base coat was necessary. I alternate between Orly bonder and CG Strong Adhesion Basecoat and love both of them. I think maybe the CG works a little bit better for me.

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