The Differences Between a Nail Polish Top Coat and Base Coat

The Differences Between a Nail Polish Top Coat and Base Coat

To ensure that your manicure or pedicure lasts as long as possible, you need to take the proper steps and apply the right products. Top coats and base coats are two essential steps, but some wonder if you can use them interchangeably. To answer that question, this article will review the differences between a nail polish top coat and a base coat.

What Is a Base Coat?

A base coat is typically thick and clear and is painted onto a clean nail, acting as a barrier between the nail and the polish. Base coats also help the nail polish better adhere to the nails and act as an adhesive. Not only does it protect your nails, but it fills in in cracks and turns your nail into the perfect blank canvas for the polish. Many base coats also include nourishing ingredients in their formula to keep your nails healthy.

What Is a Top Coat?

The main job of a top coat is to provide a barrier for the color polish, making it chip resistant and preventing water from coming into contact with the lacquer. Typically, top coats offer UV protection that prevents the polish from decaying and keeps the color looking vibrant. In addition, it can also provide a glossy or matte effect, depending on which style you prefer.

Are They Interchangeable?

Ultimately, nothing bad will happen to your nail if you interchange the two, but your overall polish won’t last as long and may not look as good. This is because the lacquer will have difficulty adhering to the nail plate and won’t have the added benefit of the top coat preventing it from fading and chipping. So, in truth, base coats and top coats are not interchangeable and are an essential part of a manicure.

While the differences between nail polish top coat and base coat may not seem very important, they make a huge difference in the overall look and longevity of your manicure and pedicure. And if you’re someone with sensitive nails and skin, or you get frequent manicures, you may want to consider using a soak-off gel top coat so you can have all the benefits of a top coat without having to use harsh chemicals to remove your polish.