23. August 2012

Base Coats

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

CND Stickey

Essence Pro White Effect

P2 Ridgefiller
Dries Fast
Prevents Staining
5/54/5not reallynot really4/5
Fortifies Nails
yes!yesa bit--a bit, I think
Prolongs Manicure
not sureno! on the contrary
Overall Comments: 
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 ;)


  1. I have used Nail Tek Foundation I (ridgefiller for normal nails) since December, and I have stronger nails than ever, I'm never going to switch to another...

    1. Ah, so Nail Tek works also for other people - great news! I'm still into trying new stuff, but very possibly after all the experiments Nail Tek will remain the best for me. We'll see :)

  2. I've tried a lot of base coats and haven't really found the perfect one yet. I do like Nail Tek Foundation II and I have used two bottles of it and just ordered third one. It is really good and does everything I want, but somehow I just think there might be a product that's even better out there.. Don't really know if there is though.. I've tried Seche, Misa, Orly, Mavala, Nubar and several others but I always go back to Nail Tek. But I keep trying and maybe I'll find the perfect one for me sometime. :D

    1. I follow exactly the same logic: I like Nail Tek a lot, but I'm also into trying new stuff and searching for perfection :)

  3. My nails are thick, dry and split easy. Nail polish won't last very long on me. I am happy with anything that will keep my nails without chipping for 2 days.

    I do love Nail Tek III. It has all the properties I want from a base coat including ridge filling. Only minor: Bottles will thickened on me when 2/3 finished. Have not tried the Nail Tek thinner, but normal thinner is not recommended. It will become streaky and less long lasting.

    In the past I have used the OPI Nail Envy matte. My favourite polishes are from OPI, and I realy tried to like this base, but I don't. At least not on me. Unfortunatelly it makes my nails split more (even worse combined with OPI's Chip Skip). I do use the Envy now to do manicures on my boyfriend. It makes his nails look a lot better. I like it, he doesn't: "Polish (and anything that looks like it in a bottle) is for girls... "

    About proplonging and prevent nails splitting also a winner: Orly Nailtrition. Although this is not official a base coat, I do like what it does for the condition of my nails. At the moment it is my underwair (2 coats) for OPI Be a dahlia won't you (also 2 coats) without a top coat it did last for three full days before the first chip.

    The "new" Essence base coat called the 24/7 base seems to work great also. I only tried this a few times but I like it so far. Seems to keep my nail polish last nice in place.

    Jessica (CH)

    1. Thanks for your comment!
      I have same nails as you do - thick, but dry and splittering. My Nail Tek gets thick in the end too, but oh well, many other nail treatments do the same. I heard a lot of bad stuff about OPI and China Glaze base and top coats, so I'm not planning to try them in the nearest future, but Orly Nailtrition sounds interesting!

  4. Я пользовалась первыми 4ми из твоего обзора. Про Эсси тоже сказала бы, что она на четверку, заметных минусов не обнаружила. Может, только то, что она ничего особо не выравнивает и не маскирует желтизну, хотя и обещает. Стики мне нравится, так долго как на ней, ни один лак на на одной базе на мне не сидит. Вот так все по-разному

    1. Эсси какая-то никакая, имхо. Вроде и ок, а вроде что с ней, что без нее.. Стики я не поняла, мне риджфиллеры ближе :) Было бы скучно наверное, если бы всем что-то одно подходило или не подходило))

  5. Как же я люблю такие основательные посты, с таблицами и проделанной работой ))) в тебе умер (или еще жив и здравствует? )) аналитик, ты это знаешь? )))
    И теперь я очень хочу Nail Tek, ибо ногти-то у меня совершенно другие и мне необходимо укрепление как воздух. И ридж от Эсси, раз говоришь, с их лаками хорошо идет, а я их люблю
    Надо тоже заняться этой темой, люди с ногтями как пергамент должны сказать спасибо ))

    1. Чойта умер, живет припеваючи) По работе постоянно аналитические обзоры пишу, "с табличечками и картиночками") Попробуй Нейл Тек, он правда того стоит! А Эсси от него мало отличается, она просто немного ниочемнее.

  6. I love Nailtek Foundation II. My nails suffer peeling a lot, and they tend to break at the corners. Nailtek completely solved the peeling issue. Right now I am using OPI Nail Envy (original formula) and my nails are growing faster than ever! And the peeling didn't come back so it obviously help that, too. Next one I'm gonna try is OPI Nail Envy (brittle and peeling formula). I couldn't speak about them for prolonging the manicure because I change my polish way too often to have an opinion about that!

    1. Nail Tek works the best for me so far, but I'm always itching to try new products :) OPIs are not on the first list, but if I do try any care from OPI it will be OPI Nail Envy for brittle and peeling nails.