Saturday, 16 November 2013

Quick Dry Top Coat Comparison

Hey there!  Tonight I want to show you something a little different for me.  Last weekend, out of curiosity, I decided to do a comparison of the quick dry top coats that I own.  I compared Glisten & Glow HK Girl, KBShimmer Clearly On Top, Orly Sec 'n Dry, Rica Glossy Glam and the old favorite Seche Vite for dry time, glitter smoothing and stamp streaking.  Ideally I would have compared wear time but I never keep a manicure on to test that one.

Before I show you any pictures, here's a warning.  Since I wasn't really doing a proper manicure these look TERRIBLE...dry cuticles, bad painting job, fuzzies, the works!  But hopefully that won't take away from the results.  

Dry Time

The first test was dry time.  I applied two coats of Color Club Silver Lake and then immediately applied the top coat and started the timer.  I pressed a toothpick into the polish at 3, 5, 10, 15, 20 and 30 minutes, starting towards the cuticle.  The Sharpie marks indicate the indents at the different time points.  

The way I labelled these are Glisten & Glow HK Girl = G&G, Seche Vite = SV, KBShimmer Clearly On Top = CoT, Rica Glossy Glam = Rica and Orly Sec 'n Dry = SnD.  

Results: Seche Vite dried the fasted.  It was mostly dry in 10 minutes and completely dry in 15 minutes.  Clearly On Top and Glisten & Glow were next behind.  They still dented a little at 15 minutes but were good at 20 minutes.  Sec 'n Dry still had a bit of a dent at 20 minutes but good at 30 and the Rica Glossy Glam still had a dent at 30 minutes.

Glitter Smoothing 

We all know about "hungry glitters," the pretty glitter nail polishes that dry gritty and need a good top coat to smooth them out.  For this I used two coats of Essie Toggle To The Top from the 2013 winter collection.  Here's what it looks like without top coat.

And here it is with one coat of top coat.

Results:  This test was a bit of a fail.  The results were pretty much the same for all the top coats.  Maybe I should have used a grittier glitter.  On the plus side, it only takes one coat of top coat to smooth out Toggle On Top.

Stamp Streaking

For these I used Konad White and Konad Black and an image from MoYou London's Back to the 80's  -03 plate.  I stamped and then immediate applied top coat.  

Results:  To prevent stamping from streaking it looks like Glisten & Glow HK Girl and Seche Vite are tied for first.  Neither of these show any streaking.  KBShimmer Clearly On Top is third, then Rica Glossy Glam in fourth and Orly Sec 'n Dry in fifth.  I think this is related to thickness; the thicker the top coat, the less streaking is seen.  I already knew Sec 'n Dry was streaky.  I almost always use this top coat when I'm doing gradients to streak the transition space more and make the gradient more gradual.  


At least in Canada, most of these top coats aren't available at the corner store.  I order all of them online.  Here I'll tell you at least some of the places they're available in Canada and the US and the prices.

Glisten & Glow HK Girl: 
Nail Polish Canada website  $8.75 CAD (free shipping to Canada)
Big Cartel $6.95 USD (shipping charges apply) 
Color4Nails website $7.25 USD (shipping charges apply)
Llarowe website $7.25 USD (free shipping to Canada over $100)
Overall Beauty website $7.25 USD (shipping charges apply)

KBShimmer Clearly On Top:  
Harlow & Co. website $6.00 CAD (free shipping with orders over $50 in Canada)
KBShimmer website $5.00 USD (doesn't ship to Canada)

Orly Sec 'n Dry:  
Nail Polish Canada website $12.00 CAD (free shipping to Canada)
Can be found in brick and mortar stores so I'm only listing where I personally buy it from.
Rica Glossy Glam:  
Harlow & Co. website $10.00 CAD (free shipping with orders over $50)
Color4Nails website  $7.00 USD (shipping charges apply)
JustRicarda Etsy shop $7.00 USD (doesn't ship to Canada) 

Seche Vite:  
Nail Polish Canada website $8.95 CAD (free shipping to Canada)
Can be found in brick and mortar stores so I'm only listing where I personally buy it from.

Final Thoughts

Overall, it does seem like Seche Vite wins in the areas I tested.  However I rarely use it because of it's other known problems.  I find it frequently shrinks my polish and there's the goopiness that occurs halfway through the bottle.  The bottle I used for the comparison was brand new so I didn't have the goopy problem.  

KBShimmer Clearly On Top is usually my go-to top coat.  This comparison did tell me I should be looking at HK Girl more often too. 

Sorry for the long post.  Hopefully it helps a few of you compare some of the popular top coats nowadays.  Let me know your thoughts.

'Til next time...


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