Which is my favourite top coat?

Other than posting manicures I do, I have decided to add more helpful posts for my readers! Today, I will be sharing with you the top coats I have been trying out and what is my verdict on them.

Battle of Top Coats

Rica’s Glossy Glam, Seche Vite, INM Out the Door, G&G HK Girl, Poshe Super Fast Drying TC (and missing China Glaze’s Fast Forward as I threw it away..)

fast-forward-top-coat-china-glaze

Ignore the tapes on the bottle caps, they are for easy recognition because my polishes are in a box and not a rack. Just so if you are interested, the tapes are washi tapes which can be easily removed from any surface. There are a lot of designs in the market too, super cute for crafts!

I have with me the following (some brands available in stores, some indies have to be purchased through resellers or indie maker’s own online stores):

1. China Glaze Fast Forward Top Coat

2. Seche Vite Fast Drying Top Coat

3. INM Out the Door Fast Drying Top Coat

4. Rica’s Glossy Glam

5. Poshe Super-fast Drying Top Coat

6. Glisten&Glow HK Girl Fast Drying & Super Shiny Clear Top Coat

They are all fast-drying top coats! This is the exact order of the top coats I have used from the start till now. Let me give you a brief history of my journey with them. I started doing nails using my CG and used it till about 1/5 of the bottle left and started switching to Seche Vite. From then, I have sourced for other top coats because of toulene in SV, but I still purchased some top coats that are not completely B3F because I just had to try them out due to great reviews!

I will compare the top coats based on my own experience on a couple of factors:

1. Shine- I personally love an ultra shiny top coat that gives me a gel-manicure look.

2. Dry Time- Yes, once I apply my top coat, I expect the top coat to dry ASAP so I feel complete.

3. Wear- Durability of the top coat is very important! If I spent hours on my nail art, I am not gonna reach for a top coat that chips my manicure that next day.

4. Smear- Same reason as above. What’s worst is spending AGES drawing that cute little panda to see it end up like it has been punched.

5. Shrinkage- Certain top coats (eg. Seche Vite) have been reviewed to cause severe shrinkage, which some people really hate, so this must be factored in.

6. Price- Personally I do not mind paying a bit more for a good top coat, but should two top coats be comparable, the price will definitely be the determining factor.

7. Stickiness through bottle- Nobody likes a bottle that turns all sticky halfway through the bottle.

Factors will be ranked 1 if it is the best. The last on the list is not the ‘worst’, it just pales in comparison to the others.

1. SHINE

1. Seche Vite, G&G HK Girl, Rica Glossy Glam, Poshe Fast Drying TC

2. INM OTD

3. CG Fast Forward

Yes, 4 polishes all at the top! Seche Vite is an award-winning top coat and delivers an absolute high shine to your manicure. G&G HK Girl and Rica Glossy glam are comparable to Seche Vite in terms of shine. They also add a very shiny gloss, which I love! Poshe is not too bad as well, while CG really pales in comparison.

2. DRY TIME

1. Seche Vite, G&G HK Girl Poshe Fast Drying TC

2. Rica Glossy Glam,  INM OTD

3. CG Fast Forward

All the top coats are fast drying, but only some TRULY live up to their name. SV, G&G HK Girl Top coat, Poshe are dry to touch within a minute. Glossy Glam comes close too, but seems to dry a little slower. China Glaze kind of only dried within minutes instead. I stuck with it for so long though, close to finishing the bottle because at that time I did not discover other amazing top coats!

Sometimes SV dries TOO quickly which can be a bit of a trouble.

3. WEAR

1. Seche Vite, G&G HK Girl, Poshe Fast Drying TC, INM OTD, CG Fast Forward

2. Rica Glossy Glam

For this factor I felt like all the top coats had similar wear time. I have had some problems with Rica’s Glossy Glam though. It chipped my polish in a day, which I’m not too sure why! May have gotten a bad bottle but it was a little disappointing since it was so well-raved.

4. SMEAR

1. Seche Vite, G&G HK Girl, Rica Glossy Glam, Poshe Fast Drying TC

2. INM OTD

3. CG Fast Forward

Okay CG really is bad for this one, it smeared my nail art even after I made sure my polish was dry before I applied the top coat. A big fat zero for this.

5. SHRINKAGE

1. G&G HK Girl, Rica Glossy Glam, Poshe Fast Drying TC,  INM OTD, CG Fast Forward

2. Seche Vite

Edit: Seche Vite does have a bit of shrinkage but usually it does not cause much of a problem for me, since I usually cover my polish beneath with Seche Vite completely at the cuticles and seal the polish.

I understand that many people have problems using SV, and recently I *think* I found out why.

What I usually do even with fast drying top coats is that I will wait for my polish to dry first before applying my top coat. This is because in my opinion, if my polish is not fully dry, even after applying a fast drying top coat that seemingly MAY have dried my polish beneath, is actually just a facade! Should you try to dent the polish using your nail, it is most likely still wet beneath even after 20-30 minutes, which I absolutely abhor!

I recently realised that the fast drying top coats should be applied on slightly wet polish so as to make the wet polish dry faster? Correct me if I’m wrong, but this is what most people are doing. Hence, I tried doing that and then the shrinkage happened with SV much more apparently.

Thus I reverted to waiting for my polish to dry at least 3/4 before applying SV. Another way to avoid the shrinkage is by sealing your nail tips. Seal every base colour, and also seal your nails with the top coat!

So I took ages just to record a 15s video to show you how it is done, why do I do this KAY?!

PLEASE FORGIVE ME FOR THE SHITTY QUALITY because I filmed with my phone and it was optimised for the phone, and not laptop. Plus, it is my first video… you should see my ‘tripod’, which is basically a paper clip. Talk about budget 101! ;)

6. Price

1. Seche Vite SGD $10 (NailPolicious)

CG Fast Forward (I forgot how much was this.. I believe it was $10?)

2. INM OTD SGD $12 (Timtam00)

3. G&G HK Girl SGD$12.50 (Meimei),

Rica Glossy Glam $12.50 (Beautysofly)

Poshe Fast Drying TC SGD$12.50 (NailPolicious)

Ranked according to the prices I can source for in Singapore! These are the cheapest I can find. I have ordered from all sellers before so you can be rest assured that they’re all reliable. If you have any website that sells it at an even cheaper price, do leave a comment and share it with everyone! 

7. STICKINESS THROUGH THE BOTTLE (Updated*)

1. Rica Glossy Glam

2. G&G HK Girl Top Coat, Poshe Fast Drying TC

4. Seche Vite, CG Fast Forward, INM OTD

…. and I have since thrown my CG fast forward away since it was too sticky to be used.

Fast-drying top coats tend to get sticky over time and they get so horrible you might just want to chuck the whole bottle away.

*Update in Aug 2014: After several months since I wrote this post, I found that Rica Glossy Glam was a winner for this. G&G HK Girl top coat did turn sticky about half through the bottle, but not as bad as Seche Vite.

Talking about CG Fast Forward, it got so thick and disgusting I just simply threw it away. No salvaging for that. INM OTD is still in my stash. It is usable, but has since turned a little cloudy and sticky. Seche vite, infamous for the stickiness halfway through the bottle, is completely yucks! But you know, there’s Seche Restore to help restore the original viscosity of the bottle so… I still somehow stick with it because it’s easily available and cheaper than the other bottles.

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Overall, you can see that I will not repurchase CG Fast Forward and INM OTD anymore. By the way, CG Fast Forward and Seche Vite smell TERRIBLE, yikes!

Another point about the top coats in regards to whether they are 3-free, here are some information I have gathered.

G&G HK Girl: Formaldehyde, Formaldehyde resin and Toluene Free

Rica Glossy Glam: DBP, Toluene & Formaldehyde Free

Poshe Fast Drying TC: DBP, Toluene & Formaldehyde Free

Seche Vite: DBP & Formaldehyde Free

CG Fast Forward: DBP, Toluene & Formaldehyde Free

INM OTD: DBP, Toluene & Formaldehyde Free

(p.s Let me know if there is any incorrect information that I may have included)

Also, the above review is based on my own opinion and also takes into account some factors i.e. whether it is self-levelling, viscosity during application and the brush size. I prefer thicker brushes when it comes to top coats, so G&G HK Girl Top Coat, Rica Glossy Glam, and Poshe will be winners! Seche Vite has a slimmer brush that can be very tacky to use especially once the top coat gets sticky.

Overall, I use Seche Vite all the time because it is the cheapest and does everything a top coat has to. It smooths out the polish and somehow seems to cover up the flaws and mistakes I make in my manicures, which I absolutely love. G&G HK Girl and Poshe are my second favourite, but I use them much less because they are slightly more expensive. I have my reservations about Rica’s Glossy glam since it chipped my manicures one day after, but yes I may have gotten a bad bottle. Poshe is an excellent alternative to SV too, and is easier to get if you don’t do online shopping. You can get it at D.Y.O.N at *Scape level 2.

Update: I definitely use G&G HK Girl and Poshe regularly, just like Seche. I simply use Seche much more frequently because 1. I have more amounts of it at home 2. I like the thickness of Seche that creates the gel-look. Other than these two reasons, Poshe, HK Girl and Glossy Glam are really comparable IMHO.

So that’s all for my top coat review. Which is your favourite, or is there any other top coats I should try?