Recently I feel like sharing my experience and discussing what's best for hand&nail care. So today I'll tell you about the base coats I've tried, since for many of us they are an inevitable part of the manicure process.
Before I switch to the base coats themselves, I'd like to share some details. My nails are: fast growing, thick, splittering and stain easily. So, from a top coat I expect 2 things: to prolong my manicure and to prevent staining. I don't really need any fortifying effect, as I achieve it by other means.
In search of my first base coat I explored the whole internet and read thousands of feedbacks and comments before I choose which could work best for me. So I bought Nail Tek Foundation II.
Generally, I was very satisfied. Nail Tek Foundation II did everything what it promised plus I felt that my nails became even harder. To put it in a perceivable form, the "+" are:
~ it dries very fast and becomes somewhat matte when it's dry, so you can see it;
~ prevents staining. With especially 'suspicious' colours I use 2 coats and it works fine;
~ strengthens the nails and makes them grow faster - that was my impression.
The only "-" feature I noticed is that when you use 1 coat of polish, the 'thready' formula of the base coat will be visible underneath. But oh well, I rarely layer just 1 coat, even if the polish is completely opaque.
The next base I bought was Nail Tek Foundation III. Obviously, because I liked Foundation II, but I noticed that the product description of the IIId suits my nails better. By effect, II and III are similar, only maybe II makes nails grow faster, but they both fortify the nails pretty well. So, I equally liked Nail Tek Foundation II and III.
One more base coat of a similar type that I've tried is Essie Fill The Gap. Also a ridgefiller, also dries pretty fast and matte. I didn't really notice any effect on nails, otherwise this base coat is almost a dupe of Nail Teks.
A completely different base coat - CND Stickey - I bought it after reading many positive reviews and also because one of the nail bloggers I read recommended it very much. So, its name describes it exactly as it is: it's green and sticky. My impression of it... is pretty mixed. The fact that it's sticky makes it hard to apply the first layer of nail polish over it - so I felt at least. Otherwise this base coat had no additional super effects. Dries ok, but remains sticky, so you are always confused if it dried or not...
One more product I use as a base now and then is Essence Pro White Effect. Actually it's something else than a base, but I can't think of any other application. Despite the name on the sticker, it does not whiten anything. As a base coat it also sucks: after some days you can just peel it off together with the polish. Hm. But hey, works perfect for glitters, just like a peel-off base coat :D
Last, but not the least, is P2 Ridgefiller, which I bought because all above-listed ones simply finished. It's a nice product which you can find in any drug store in Germany, it works similar to Nail Teks, maybe it dries a bit more slowly and doesn't harden your nails that much. Overall: good one.
To add some illustrative effect for this post, I compiled a simple comparative table. I hope it will be useful.
Nail Tek II
Nail Tek III
Essie Fill The Gap
Essence Pro White Effect
|5/5||4/5||not really||not really||4/5|
|yes!||yes||a bit||-||-||a bit, I think|
|not sure||no! on the contrary|
|Nice one!||Same here: nice one!||Also not bad. Works well with Essie polishes.||Hmm.. I don't think I'll buy it again.||Seriously weird stuff. Never again.||Nice one and really affordable.|
That's pretty much my experience with base coats. Not extensive, I know, but I'm planning to try more new ones. "Short list candidates" are Zoya Anchor, INM Milky Bond and CND Toughen Up. I also crave for Essie Protein Base, but I think it's discontinued... :( If you have any nice base coat in mind, I'll be glad to hear your recommendations :)
What about you, girls? What's your favourite base coat so far? Which one would you never ever recommend? I'm very curious ;)