A friend from work asked me about what kind of top coat I used to preserve my manicure, and that gave me the idea to write this post with mini reviews of the clear polish I’m currently using.

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I like that it’s light and thin, so it’s great for the first layer of top coat. If you’re using acrylic paint, you won’t want to disturb the paint with a polish that’s too strong, as it can cause it to run. A thin coat of this will protect the paint from washing off and from becoming runny from the stronger second coat.

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Some people don’t like mixing top coats. I say be careful, as some brands mix better than others and could leave you with opaque instead of shiny nails if they don’t go well together. I use I slightly thicker (but not too thick!) coat of this once the first one dries. It’s heavier than the first, less watery, and gives the manicure the extra protection it needs. It’s important not to make the coat overly thick, as it will take longer to dry and that increases that risk of damaging it. It’s also important to wait for the first coat to be fairly dry before applying the second, to reduce the risk of forming bubbles. When it comes to fast drying top coat the risk of opaque nails increases, as the Ingres diners used to cool it faster can give it a white tint if the coat is too thick.

In the unfortunate event that you do get a bubble, you can fix it with another coat of clear gently pressing the brush against your nail. Don’t do this with fast drying polish though. By the time the bubble forms the polish will be transitioning from a liquid to a soft plastic texture before finally becoming solid and interacting with it in an way at this point can make a big mess. Let the bubble dry and if you’re feeling confident cover your nail with a thick layer of soap and very gently and carefully rub the bubble away with your clean smooth fingertip. I should warn you though, not everyone can do this without ruining the manicure so be careful, gentle, use plenty of soap and don’t rub too much. The soap not only helps garden the polish faster but it makes the surface slippery which makes your touch more gentle. If your manicure is completely dry and hardened, (it’s been at least 24 hours) and you notice a bubble you missed before, at this point, if you have 2 layers of top coat, you can use a nail file to gently pop the bubble, smooth the area and add a third full coat of clear to finish smoothing it.

Though I know top coat and clear are not the same thing, they can be used for many of the same things. The only significant difference is that first coat that directly touch the acrylic paint. I suggest using actual top coat for that’s not fast drying, and is thin. The thinness will make it dry at a decent speed anyway and it will be more gentle than clear polish, which tends to be thicker, similar to fast drying top coat.

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