Seche Vite Topcoat - Because I'm Still Obsessing About My Manicure

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I've been paying for manicures for years, because I was never able to replicate what the women in the nail salon did to my hands. I don't just mean the massage and the hot wax treatment, although those are easily my favorite parts of the manicure -- I couldn't get my polish to look as good, or last as long, as the manicurist did.

Until now. 

My weekly manicures were starting to add up, both in terms of cost and time. The time factor was the real issue; finding an hour during my workday to go have my nails done was becoming more and more difficult. But I wasn't willing to give up my pretty nails -- there had to be a solution!

What had always daunted me the most about the at-home manicure was how fast my polish wore off, or chipped. No matter what top coat I tried, my mani only lasted about two days, and then it looked horrible. And if I don't have time to go to the salon once a week, I certainly don't have time for a DIY mani every 48 hours.

The last time I went to the salon, I asked the manicurist what she was using, and she showed me: Seche Vite topcoat. "It's the best," she told me, and the Internet agrees. Bella Sugar reader Nicole815 had the same experience that I had: "It glides on nicely and sets quickly. What I like most about the product is that it really does a great job of keeping nicks and chips away." Posey agrees: "This stuff makes my nails hard as rocks. On top of that, dries SUPER fast. You put it on after a minute or so of polishing, not right away, but once its tacky, and it dries within just a few minutes to a rock hard finish." 

Jamie at Nail Art Tuesday isn't a fan, though.

Seche was on sale, and since everyone online simply raves about how wonderful the base coat is, I decided to try both base and top coat. So far, I’m really not sure what all the fuss is about. They both stink – the top coat smells like epoxy, and considering I used three coats (one to set the stones in, two to seal them on), I felt like I was asphyxiating myself. I already have tip wear (seriously, with a base coat, three coats of polish and three coats of top coat), which doesn’t thrill me, and the top coat is positively impossible to get off skin (ie, cuticles) once it dries (which is very fast). I’m finding that the parts I can get off are very brittle, and I’m hoping that’s not what it does to my nail polish (chips, anyone?). So we’ll see, and I’ll use these for now (because I have them), but I’m going back to Zoya base/top coat once these bottles are done.

 Actually, Jamie made two mistakes: one was using more than one coat of Seche Vite (she was embellishing her manicure with little heart-shaped stones), and the other was not cleaning up the edges immediately. Seche Vite is thicker and stronger than normal topcoats, and really does dry fast and hard. One coat is plenty to protect your color and your nails, but more than that is overkill. And any slips or slops need to be cleaned up immediately, particularly on cuticles. 

What's your favorite top coat? And what are you using under it? I'm combining an OPI basecoat with either Essie or OPI polish, and topping it off with the Seche Vite; my DIY at home mani is lasting nearly 7 days now, which is saying quite a lot. I bought my topcoat at Target for about $7.00, but is also available at Ulta and Sephora (and possibly at your local nail salon).

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