There’s an unconventional approach that a top coat can serve as a base coat, while a base coat can also work as a top coat.
However, the top coats and base coats are different things when comes to their functionality.
The base coat is a softer and stickier adhesive that bonds with the natural nail. In contrast, the Top coat is a harder and glossier substance with the purpose to seal the regular polish in place.
If you use the incorrect coating, you won’t get the same level of performance as if you applied the correct one.
Sometimes, using the incorrect coat can reduce your manicure’s lifespan and make it more prone to peeling and chipping.
Related Article: How to use and apply Nail Primer
What Can I Use Instead of a Top Coat
Though it’s best to use a top coat to seal your nail polish and extend the wear time, here are a few top coat alternatives that can be used if you do not have access to a top coat.
- Top coat spray
- cuticle oil
- clear nail polish
- hair spray
- petroleum jelly
Let’s discuss them in detail.
Use Top Coat Spray
If you don’t want to use a top coat, fast-drying top coat sprays are the best alternate option. They will speed up the drying process and give your nail polish a more gleaming finish, similar to a top coat. Fast-drying top coats are ideal if you or your clients are in a hurry.
However, the disadvantage of these sprays is that they provide less long-term protection for your manicure than top coats in their regular form.
Fast Drying Top Coat Spray
OPI RapiDry Nail Polish Dryer
- Developed with best anti-stain technology
- Fast dry formula that dries nail polish to give a smooth smudge free glossy look
For maximum gloss, cuticle oil can be used as alternate of top coat.
· Start by Applying a small amount of cuticle oil to your nails.
· Then buff them away using a high-quality finest and apply cuticle oil again.
· Cuticle oil is basically a treatment for your cuticles and nails to keep them hydrated and protect them from dryness or damage. However, you can use it to provide extra protection and get more days between manicures.
Modelones 4Pcs set
Gel Base & Top Coat and Nail Primer Set with Cuticle Oil
- Best quality Base and Top coat
- Nail Primer to provide optimum smoothness
- One cuticle oil for nails nourishment
- Healthy and no-lifting top and base gel
- Goes well with any Brand
Clear Nail Polish
If you have clear nail polish, you can use it as an alternative to top coat. Only a thin layer of clear nail polish can help to seal the nail polish and get a glossy finish.
Make sure to use a very thin layer on your nails. Otherwise, a thick layer can smudge and ruin your nails look.
If a top coat isn’t at hand, try using Hair spray. It’s a super handy substitute to top coat that quickly dries nail polish harder. Hold the bottle about 10 inches away and spray a light mist over your nails.
Believe it or not, Petroleum jelly can be used as a homemade top coat nail polish hack. Though it’s not the best substitute for a professional top coat, it can protect and act as a barrier to moisture in your freshly painted nails.
Apply a small amount of jelly around the edges, then gently rub on your nails to prevent smudging and chipping.
What can I use instead of a Base Coat?
The best thing you can use as a substitute for a base coat is using clear nail polish that instantly provides a transparent and polished look. Apply a thin layer of clear nail polish to get a flawless look.
But remember, the purpose of a Base coat is to provide an extra protective layer over your natural nails from stains.
First, it helps the nail paint to spread out evenly.
Next, It also smooths out the edges and keeps nails hard so they won’t chip while applying the nail polish.
A Good base coat will protect your nails from pigments of coloured polish. However, if you are not having access to base coat, try using these alternatives of base coats for polygel.
White Solid Color nail Polish
Clear White Coat
Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Nail Coat
- Top coat in clear white form
- Alcohol free, glossy finish
A white solid colour nail polish can be a great substitute for a base coat. Because if you want to highlight the colour of your nail polish, it’ll keep your nails’ natural hue from showing.
Though it’s technically possible to apply white solid color nail polish as an alternative to a base coat, it’s not as effective as any professional base coat. It can be used as a color-correcting base for pure or pastel shades but cannot provide the best results as any traditional base coat.
The base coat is specially designed to improve nail adhesiveness, prevent staining and create a clear base for the nail polish.
A Good base coat may contain some extra ingredients to strengthen the natural nails, which the white colour polish may lack.
So, if you want to try the white color polish as a base coat substitute, remember that it won’t provide the protection and longevity as an original base coat.
Clear or Transparent Nail Polish
Using clear or transparent nail polish as a base coat is a common practice and an easy alternative to any standard base coat. Clear paint polish can act as a protective barrier between nail paints and natural nails and helps prevent stains.
Remember to apply a thin and consistent coat of clear nail polish to obtain a polished appearance, leaving a space between the polish and your cuticles at both ends of your nails. And make sure it’s completely dried before applying nail polish.
Can you paint nails without top coat?
Yes, it can be done, but not recommended by experts. A top coat is a protective layer over your natural nails, making your nail polish last longer without chipping. If you avoid using a top coat altogether, it’ll affect the longevity of your manicure.
Can I skip top coat?
Skipping the top coat means skipping a protective shield on your nails, which will affect the appearance and wear. It allows the polish to stick to the nail and gives the polished nails a uniform surface.
Can I use a top coat as a base coat?
While the top coat and base coat look alike, both have been designed differently. Therefore, the experts don’t recommend using a top coat as base coat though they both use similar materials, however, in different proportions. For instance, a base coat would contain more plasticizers and sticky resins, whereas a topcoat would include more film formers.
Conversely, a top coat as a base coat isn’t recommended because it’s thicker, takes longer to dry, and lacks the properties of a basecoat to hinder the oils from your natural nails fully.
Should I use a nail polish remover before applying Base coat?
Yes, you can use nail polish remover before a base coat, as both work together to prepare your nails for the next manicure.
Can I apply gel polish without a base coat?
Base coats are essential for a long manicure. Applying a thinner basecoat should be done with gel polish. The base coat also helps the gel polish remain on the nail to avoid premature shedding. or you can also apply a nail primer before gel polish if you do not having a base coat as a substitute.
Is there any 2 in 1 base and top coat available for nail polishes?
As a professional, I don’t endorse any specific brands, but it’s quite certain that 2-in-1 base and top coat products aren’t hard to be found in the market.
However, considering the functionalities of both top and base coats, the base coat tends to be softer and stickier, allowing them to bond with the nail properly.
In contrast, the top coats are bit harder and glossier than base coats and act as a protective barrier on nail polishes.
Combining them both in a single product might result in compromising on any of their individual properties
Is the top coat and Clear polish the same?
The top coat and clear polish may look as same but they are differently formulated. The top coat is chemically composed to provide superior shine, protection, and longevity to a manicure, In contrast, clear nail polish is a basic transparent polish with minimal additional features.
is top coat and base coat the same?
Base coat and top coats serve different purposes and have different textures. Base coat comes in thicker and sticker density that help the nail polish to stick better with the nails, they also have extra quantity of resin to provide strength to nails. whereas top coat’s function is to provide a protective shield to the nail polish and therefore they come in thinner consistency to maintain a smoother and durable layer on top of the nails.
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Passionate about the artistry of nails and dedicated to enhancing the beauty of hands, I am Elina Yael, a skilled Nail Tech and Manicurist based in the vibrant city of New Orleans. With a strong foundation of knowledge acquired from the prestigious AVEDA Art and Science Institute, I bring a unique blend of creativity, precision, and expertise to every client.