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A good clear or top coat nail polish is crucial for making your manicure last. It seals in color, adds glossy shine, and protects against chips and smudges. But not all top coats deliver salon-quality results. After testing countless clear polishes, I’ve rounded up the 10 best high-end top coats available on Amazon that impart a gorgeous, long-lasting finish.
Below I’ve highlighted the pros and cons of each top coat along with direct links to Amazon for easy shopping. A flawless natural mani is just a click away!
|Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat||Dries extremely fast, high gloss finish, prevents smudges||Gets thick quickly||Check on Amazon|
|Essie Gel Couture Top Coat||Long-wearing, glossy gel-like shine, doesn’t yellow||Pricey for quantity||Check on Amazon|
|Butter London Patent Shine 10x Nail Lacquer||Salon-quality shine, prevents chipping and scratching||Can cause bubbles if applied too thick||Check on Amazon|
|INM Out The Door Top Coat||Dries fast to a hard finish, prevents chips and smudges, glossy||Can feel thick on brush||Check on Amazon|
|Sally Hansen Insta-Dri||Lightning fast drying, high shine, chip resistant||Can feel thick after one use||Check on Amazon|
|Orly Sec ‘N Dry Topcoat||Dries fast, glossy hard finish, breathable for good adherence||Not as durable as some gel polishes||Check on Amazon|
|Ella + Mila First Aid Kiss Nail Therapy||Nourishing formula, quick dry, shiny finish||Not as glossy as traditional top coat||Check on Amazon|
|Deborah Lippmann Gel Lab Pro Top Coat||Chip-proof, high gloss, extends wear of polish||Learning curve with application||Check on Amazon|
|Dior Nail Lisse Abricot Smoothing||Sheer pink tint for natural glow, smooths nails||Not a quick-dry topcoat||Check on Amazon|
|Smith & Cult Shining Top Coat Lacquer||Ultra glossy wet-look finish, quick dry, durable||Expensive for quantity||Check on Amazon|
Top 3 Salon-Quality Clear Polishes for At-Home Manicures
If I had to pick only three top coats to use for flawless at-home manicures, these would be my top recommendations:
1. Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat
This top coat dries polished nails incredibly fast – I’m talking 10 minutes or less. It leaves an incredibly glossy, smooth finish that really makes colors pop. Seche Vite prevents smudges, chips, and tip wear for long-lasting manicures. One downside is it does get thicker as the bottle is used but the ultra fast drying time is worth it.
2. Essie Gel Couture Top Coat
For a glossy gel-like shine that lasts over 1 week without dulling or yellowing, nothing beats Essie’s Gel Couture top coat. It evenly smooths onto polish and cures to an ultra glossy, flexible finish that wears like iron. True to its name, it gives regular polish the durability and shine of gel. It is a splurge but gives salon results.
3. Butter London Patent Shine
Butter London Patent Shine 10x Nail Lacquer is a brilliant high-shine topcoat that helps prevent chipping and scratching for a flawless, salon-quality finish. It goes on evenly for maximum shine and protection.
10 Best Clear Nail Polishes for Salon Results
Achieving perfectly polished nails from home can be tricky. The wrong top coat leaves you with chips, smudges, and a dull color that starts to fade almost immediately.
To help you get flawless, lasting results without the salon price tag, here are my reviews of the 10 best clear nail polishes for at-home manicures:
1. Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat
Hands down one of the most popular top coats for its incredibly quick dry time. We’re talking nails that are smudge-proof in as little as 5 minutes. It leaves nails ultra glossy and prevents tip wear or peeling.
However, some report Seche Vite does get thicker and goopier with repeated use as solvents evaporate. But the fast drying is unrivaled. For long-lasting shine and color protection, it can’t be beat.
2. Essie Gel Couture Top Coat
For upgraded durability and shine, Essie’s Gel Couture top coat gives you salon-perfect nails for over a week – no smudges, chips or dullness. The glossy gel-like finish really maximizes color vibrancy too.
True to its name, it helps regular polish wear just like a gel manicure. It is expensive for the amount but one coat alone extends polish wear for 10+ days for me. Worth the premium price.
3. Butter London Patent Shine 10x Nail Lacquer
Butter London Patent Shine 10x Nail Lacquer is a brilliant high-shine topcoat that helps prevent chipping and scratching for a flawless, salon-quality finish.
It goes on evenly for maximum shine and protection. 10 Best Clear Nail Polishes for Salon Results
4. INM Out The Door Top Coat
This top coat dries to an incredibly hard, chip-proof finish fairly quickly. The consistency applies smoothly without dragging. Out The Door leaves nails with a beautiful salon-like shine.
Some find the brush to be on the thick side, making application trickier. But the durable, glossy finish resists chips and smudging for days. Great for extending your manicure’s lifespan.
5. Sally Hansen Insta-Dri
Sally Hansen’s Insta-Dri has a light, quick-drying formula that gives you a shiny, hardened finish in 60 seconds flat. The patented speed-dry polymers create a protective layer that blocks smudges and chips.
While not as rock-hard as some gel polishes, Insta-Dri resists tip wear and dents remarkably well. Multiple coats can get thicker but the fast-drying time is unmatched.
6. Orly Sec ‘N Dry Topcoat
This topcoat dries quickly into a glossy, durable finish. The flexible formula hugs the curves of your nails to prevent peeling or breakage. Sec ‘N Dry resists chips and dulling while allowing nails to breathe.
It may not last quite as long as gel polish but provides impressive shine and protection. Avoid thick coats which can cause bubbling. A great choice for breathable durability.
7. Ella + Mila First Aid Kiss Nail Therapy
If you suffer from dry, brittle nails, Ella + Mila’s First Aid Kiss Treatment makes an excellent nourishing top coat. The reparative formula contains nourishing oils, antioxidants, and vitamins to condition nails and cuticles.
While it’s not as shiny as some polishes, the quick dry formula provides a healthy dose of nutrients while imparting protection and a subtle glossy sheen. Strengthens nails over time.
8. Deborah Lippmann Gel Lab Pro Top Coat
This gel-like top coat nourishes nails while achieving a rock-hard, glossy finish for extended wear without chips or dullness. It contains 10 active ingredients that care for nails.
It can have a learning curve, requiring careful thin coats. But when applied properly, Gel Lab Pro makes regular polish ultra-durable, lasting 2 weeks or longer chip-free. Truly flawless results.
9. Dior Lisse Abricot Smoothing
Less of a topcoat, and more of a nourishing treatment. Dior Lisse Abricot Smoothing contains a sheer pink tint that flatters nails along with keratin, vitamins, and oils to hydrate and strengthen.
It helps smooth ridges and prevent brittleness and peeling. The natural, healthy finish is great alone or under polish. Subtle pink brightens nail beds instantly. Not quick-drying though.
10. Smith & Cult Shining Top Coat Lacquer
With its super wet-looking shine, Smith & Cult’s top coat finish looks freshly polished for days. The long-wearing formula prevents dulling, oxidation, and yellowing for ultra-glossy manicures that really last.
It applies smoothly without dragging and dries relatively fast. The luxe glass-like finish makes it a splurge, but your nails will shine like never before.
Tips for Making Nail Polish Last
To get the most wear out of your manicure using these top coats:
- Apply thin, even coats to avoid bubbling
- Let each layer dry fully before adding the next
- Cap the tips of your nails to prevent peeling
- Use thinner coats of fast-drying top coats
- Apply top coat every 2 days to refresh shine
- Keep nails short to avoid cracks and breaks
- Moisturize cuticles and nails between polishes
With the right top coat and care, you can achieve salon-perfect nails for 7 to 14 days or more at home. Just remember that less is more when applying.
Say goodbye to chips and enjoy ultra-shiny, lasting manicures with these top clear nail polishes!