A couple of people have asked me what kind of products I use to keep my nails gin a good shape. Over the years I've tried many different ones but am never truly satisfied with them, so I keep searching for more.
OPI Original Nail Envy - I think that this is my favourite one for now. It works well, keeps my nails from changing colour no matter what kind of polish I try. It also made my nails stronger I think, but mine are hard to begin with. This base coat made the biggest difference for my mum's nails. After years of having short and fragile nails from all the cooking and cleaning she managed to grow them out after using nail envy.
Revlon Nail Care Base Coat - I have had it for a few months now and I can't say anything bad about it, it's okay. One thing that bugs me is the printing on the bottle. I don't know what's up with that, but it rubbed off within days. I'm sure that eventually I won't be able to tell it apart from the top coat that looks exactly the same.
Orly Ridgefiller - I got this after I tried it at a friend of mine. It works well for me, fills the gaps and dries fairly fast. There's just one bad point, it goes thick very quickly, in a matter of weeks for me. Oh well, nothing that a thinner can't fix.
Other base coats I've tried:
Orly Bonder - well this did absolutely nothing for me. It did not prolong the wear of my polish, quite the opposite. Most of my polishes would start chipping within a day. A total fail for me.
Nailtek II - hmm, this is another base that did not work for me or my mum. It did not do anything at all, did not make the nails stronger etc.
I must admit that I am really bad at using top coats, I use them not very often or on a regular basis. Regularly I only use top coat on bright red polish. This is a habit from the time I was at school, so that I didn't leave bright red streaks on all my books, notes etc. Top coats don't really add anything to my experience with polishes, apart from yet more time needed for drying and another chance to bum into something and ruin everything. yes, I'm that clumsy :)
I actually don't even own a fast drying top coat. Shock horror, I know!
The only ones I have at the moment are:
Orly Glosser - it's perfectly adequate for what it is, it adds shine to polish when I use it, really nothing more to add here.
Revlon Nail Care Top Coat - this I really like, and it is unexpected, as my dad chose this for me on his trip to London. It says on the back that it dries completely in 60 seconds. That I thing is a bit of wishful thinking, but still. What I totally adore about this top coat is the texture it gives to the polish. Nails feel kind of slippery and wet. Great!
Nailtek Matte Top Coat - this is a rather sucky one, I have to admit, yet it is the best I can find here for now. It does make the polish rather matte. But the effect doesn't last for more than a day, and it turns the polish brittle, so in 2 or 3 days is breaks off in big pieces. I like to use this only on bare nails, then it's ok.
I've also tried Orly Flash Dry Drops. I highlights my problem with top coats in general. It does add shine, and is dry to the touch in a matter of minutes, but it still takes at least 30 minutes to be completely dry, and for me that is the same as when I just use the polish alone. For me this product also seemed to shrink the polish, so that it looks like the polish has worn off at the tips. It's fine with light polish, but sucks with dark ones.