Which is the best gel top coat?
To discover the answer, we’ll have to talk about the best gel polish brands. That’s because you’ll typically get better performance if you use the same brand for each layer of the manicure.
There are a few exceptions, however. You might find that the top coat that salons use is different from the gel color and base coat. For example, some nail techs prefer no-wipe gel top coat.
But there is a risk of mixing brands and ending up with the polish peeling or chipping prematurely. If you’re not sure which gel top coat to choose, go with the brand of polish you prefer.
Keep in mind that certain brands of gel top coats are perfect for nail art or chrome manicures. They add that extra gloss to show off the metallic sheen and holographic illusion.
Of course, you probably know that a gel top coat is suitable for gel manicures only. It won’t dry properly over regular nail polish. Top coat is a must-have to seal gel manicures and ensure their durability for two weeks or longer.
If you’re new to doing gel manicures, here are expert tips for flawless results.
Table of Contents
- Pro tips for a perfect gel manicure
- Best Gel Top Coat in 2021
- DND #600 – No-Cleanse Gel Top Coat
- Beetles No-Wipe Gel Top Coat and Base Coat Set – Shine Finish
- Modelones Gel Top Coat High Gloss Shine
- AIMEILI No-Wipe Top Coat
- GA&EN No-Wipe Gel Matte and Mirror Top Coats with Base Coat Set
- PrettyDiva No-Wipe Top Coat
- Sally Hansen Salon Pro-Gel Top Coat
- ibd LED & UV Intense Seal Top Coat
- Kiara Sky NON-WIPE Top Coat
- Gellen Base Coat & Glossy Top Coat Kit
- Gelish Dynamic Duo Foundation Base & Top It Off Sealer Set
- GelFinity – Soak-Off Gel – Topcoat Gloss
- OneDor One Step No-Wipe Top Coat Gel Polish
- Mineral Fusion Nail Polish Gel Top Coat
- DEBORAH LIPPMANN Hard Rock Hydrating Base & Top Coat
- Sally Hansen Miracle Gel Nail Polish, Miracle Gel 3.0 Matte Top Coat
- Sally Hansen Salon Pro Gel Nail Polish Remover
Pro tips for a perfect gel manicure
If you’re doing your own nails, think about your lifestyle before you purchase gel polish. Gels are ideal for natural nails. A gel manicure typically lasts about two weeks, depending on wear. If you are hard on your hands or end up picking off the polish, you might do better with a dip powder manicure.
Next, it’s smart to stick to a single brand to avoid undesirable results. Mixing systems could result in improper adhesion and curing.
When you sit down to do the manicure, make sure you have all the tools you need nearby. Give yourself enough time to complete the task, from preparing the nails to curing the polish.
Concentrate on one hand at a time. Leave the oils and lotion until the very end after both hands are complete.
If you work with your hands, apply bonder, then base coat. Remember to seal the tips and edges. This helps the manicure withstand heavy use.
Before you begin, shake the nail polish by twirling it upside down between your hands. Flip it over and twist the brush inside the bottle.
Thin layers are better than thick layers. You can always put on a second coat after the first has cured. Light coats prevent peeling.
Gels are convenient for nail art as you can wipe away mistakes as long as the polish hasn’t cured. Be sure to apply base coat to prevent staining from dark-colored polishes.
When it’s time to remove the manicure, gel polish remover tends to work faster than acetone as it doesn’t evaporate as quickly. The remover works faster if it’s heated, which is why many nail techs cover the hands with a warm, damp cloth.
Best Gel Top Coat in 2021
Now, let’s review the best gel top coats.
DND #600 – No-Cleanse Gel Top Coat
If a top coat is described as “no-wipe,” it’s the same as “no-cleanse.” It means you don’t have to use alcohol to wipe the polish after it’s cured. It shouldn’t be sticky.
DND’s salon-quality gel topcoat is made to demanding professional standards. It’s thick, glossy, and durable. It won’t smear nail art when you apply it. It’s excellent for chrome manicures.
Plus, it withstands two weeks or more of normal wear without chipping or lifting.
Beetles No-Wipe Gel Top Coat and Base Coat Set – Shine Finish
Beetles designs gel polish for the home user. You’ll need a UV or LED lamp to cure it. It’s an economical choice with many positive reviews.
The kit comes with a base coat and top coat. The top coat will need to care for up to two minutes, depending on the lamp’s wattage. Just a thin layer will keep the manicure shiny for up to three weeks.
What’s surprising is that this is a budget polish, yet it’s 9-free. It lacks most of the toxins common to regular gel polish. There isn’t much odor, either.
It’s also a no-wipe top coat. The base coat, however, will feel tacky once it’s cured. But it’s made that way to help the polish stick.
Modelones Gel Top Coat High Gloss Shine
Modelones also promises that you can get three weeks of wear out of this gel polish. Beauty magazines and reviewers gush with positive comments about it. At this price, it’s worth trying, especially since it comes with a satisfaction guarantee.
It’s compatible with natural nails as well as acrylics and tips. For best results, apply thin layers and don’t over-cure the polish.
AIMEILI No-Wipe Top Coat
AIMEILI has been making nail products since 2012. They offer temperature-sensitive color-changing polish, glitter, cat’s-eye, and more. The inexpensive sets have made them a very popular brand.
The top coat is suitable for all of their gel polishes. It requires an LED or UV lamp, and the cure time depends on the wattage.
It sets to a mirror-shine that lasts up to three weeks.
Please store it away from high heat and direct light to keep it from drying out in the bottle.
GA&EN No-Wipe Gel Matte and Mirror Top Coats with Base Coat Set
Here’s a kit that lets you decide between high gloss and velvety matte finishes. Both kinds of top coat are included. The manicure should last anywhere from two weeks to a month if properly applied.
The manufacturer points out that the ingredients are low-odor and non-toxic. The applicator brush has soft bristles of the perfect size for easy application.
Take note that the base coat is also included in this set. It will still look sticky and wet after curing, but the color polish will adhere better to it for that reason.
PrettyDiva No-Wipe Top Coat
If you’re doing chrome or holographic manicures, try this high-gloss top coat. It leaves the nails with a salon-quality shine.
You need an LED lamp to cure it, but it dries quickly and doesn’t require wiping. Curing is complete between 30 to 60 seconds, depending on the wattage.
If you don’t love it, contact the company for a replacement or refund.
Sally Hansen Salon Pro-Gel Top Coat
I hate to tell you, but I’ve heard a lot of complaints about this top coat. It should be able to give you professional results at home as long as you have an LED light to cure it. It only takes thirty seconds to dry.
When it sets, it has a glassy shine that endures for two weeks. Furthermore, it’s 3-free with no toluene, formaldehyde, or DBP.
It’s possible that it didn’t perform well if the nail preparation wasn’t adequate. Also, be sure to shake the bottle before using it.
ibd LED & UV Intense Seal Top Coat
This is a no-wipe top coat with a mirror shine finish. Reviewers say it stays glossy for about two weeks.
It’s convenient in that it doesn’t require buffing. And when it cures under the lamp, it glows purple.
Get a salon finish when you combine it with the dehydrating nail prep solution, base coat, and builder gel from the same brand.
Kiara Sky NON-WIPE Top Coat
Here is a top coat with a rubbery texture when it sets. But that’s good news for chrome powder manicures. It also does well with stamping as it isn’t super slick.
Gellen Base Coat & Glossy Top Coat Kit
The shimmery top coat comes with a bottle of base coat that suitable for salon use. It makes a manicure lasts for two weeks or longer.
As with most gel polish brands, you can avoid peeling if you cap the nail edge and avoid painting over the cuticle. Thin coats work better as they prevent shrinking and dry properly.
The top coat will cure in two minutes under a UV lamp or 30-60 seconds under LED. Unfortunately, you’ll need to wipe it with alcohol to remove residue afterward.
Removal of the manicure is straightforward, however. Soak the nails for ten minutes and remove the softened gel.
Gelish Dynamic Duo Foundation Base & Top It Off Sealer Set
Gelish makes one of the fastest-curing top coats. It’s ready to go after only thirty seconds under an LED lamp. It sets to a high shine that stays glossy for up to three weeks without dulling.
But the set also includes a base coat. It dries in a remarkably rapid fashion after only five seconds under an LED light.
Manicures done with this brand of polish soak off in about ten minutes.
GelFinity – Soak-Off Gel – Topcoat Gloss
If you cure this top coat for sixty seconds or longer, you won’t need to wipe it with alcohol because it won’t be tacky.
It resists chipping and peeling and prevents the colored polish from fading for a couple of weeks. Then it removes after just a few minutes of soaking.
OneDor One Step No-Wipe Top Coat Gel Polish
The advantage of this top coat is that it’s compatible with all brands of gel polish. It’s also formaldehyde-free and has no harmful fumes.
It resists smudging and chipping, plus it’s self-leveling. The cushiony texture smooths ridges of a natural nail.
Use thin layers and cure for a minute under an LED lamp. Then, the polish should up to two weeks.
Mineral Fusion Nail Polish Gel Top Coat
Here’s an eco-friendly nail polish. You won’t need a UV light to cure it even though it’s a gel.
Mineral Fusion is not just vegan. It’s certified carbon-free. That’s right, the manufacturer has partnered with Carbon Fund to neutralize their carbon footprint on the environment.
Moreover, it’s free from other toxins like toluene, xylene, ethyl tosylamide, formaldehyde, phthalates, TPHP, parabens, camphor, and dibutyl. There’s no gluten, either.
The finish is extra glossy and plump. If you’re intrigued by the concept, check out the 60-plus Carbonfree shades available.
DEBORAH LIPPMANN Hard Rock Hydrating Base & Top Coat
Sadly, your nails may need a break from gels for a while. If they are weak, thin, or brittle, try this excellent base coat and top coat. It’s called the Hard Rock Nail Hardener for a reason.
Yes, it’s one bottle, but the liquid inside serves both functions. If you’re in a hurry to fix your nails, paint on a single coat. Then each day for a week, layer additional coats, one per day.
The formula contains an exotic resin from West African trees. It’s called Aucoumea Klaineana, and it strengthens nails and smooths the texture. It also has biotin to regenerate at a cellular level and soy protein to add flexibility.
Sally Hansen Miracle Gel Nail Polish, Miracle Gel 3.0 Matte Top Coat
No, this is not regular gel polish, and it doesn’t need a UV lamp to cure. It air-dries.
Sally Hansen makes it easy for anyone to end up with gorgeous nails from a home manicure. Even better, you won’t miss out on the latest trends. Case in point: this is a matte top coat, and it’s compatible with other brands of gel-like nail polishes.
In combination with the matching base coat, it’s called a gel hybrid manicure. It will last up to ten days without chipping. Then, it removes like any regular nail polish.
Sally Hansen Salon Pro Gel Nail Polish Remover
Instead of dehydrating your nails and cuticles, use this professional-quality polish remover to take off your gel manicure as quickly and efficiently as possible. It has emollients to keep the skin and nails healthy.
If you file of the top layer, the job is done in five minutes. Otherwise, it will take 10 to 20 minutes before you can push the polish off with a cuticle stick.
By using a better gel top coat, you can enjoy your hard work for longer. It will keep your manicure from chipping and fading for two weeks or longer.
There are many options available, including matte or high-gloss finishes and no-wipe polishes. Some top coats are compatible with other brands besides their own, too.
We’d love it if you drop by again and let us know which top coat you’re using and what you think about it.
1. https://www.nailpro.com/products/article/21158312/20-tips-for-achieving-flawless-gel-manicures by Dina Ciccarelli, published July 12, 2018, accessed November 12, 2020