Sunday, February 6, 2011

A Tale Of Two Top Coats

When R.E.I.T. and I first got into the nail blogging world, we were using just one type of topcoat. Okay, to be honest, R.E.I.T. never uses a top coat. It's enough of a challenge for her to keep her nails from smearing with just the color on them (she's perfected her own technique of holding both hands straight up in the air and whispering "don't touch don't touch don't touch" over and over for a few minutes). So, for her, one or two coats of nail color are all she can stand to sit through, at least where drying time is concerned.

So, we got started, I was using Sally Hansen "Hard as Nails" in clear as my top coat. Why? Because it's two bucks at Dollar General, always in stock, and it really does make your polish super hard, which I do like. Ever since they took the cancer-causing stuff out of nail polish, it always feels gummy and not quite dry to me, and I cherish the old formula stuff I have that does dry to a really hard finish.

However, if you've ever used Sally Hansen "Hard as Nails", you know it's thick, takes a while to dry, and dents in a stiff breeze while it's drying. Nail blogs introduced me to what I was pretty sure was the second coming: Seche Vite.

Seche Vite seems to be the preferred topcoat among nail bloggers and nail blog readers. It really is spectacular stuff. It dries fast, the finish is hard, and it's super shiny. Yes, bubbling and shrinking can be a problem, but I'll get back to that later. You see, I had an altogether different problem with Seche Vite: when the bottle got down to about half-full, it turned into glue. Where at first it was easy to apply, it became a nightmare of stringy things and gloopy, wavy finishes. I bought another bottle, but at $7.99 for a single bottle, I wasn't really all that happy about getting just half of the product. When the second bottle also turned into Gluey McGee, I went back to Sally's to get yet another-- what can I say, I was hooked on having a decent top coat. But I complained as the woman at the register was ringing it up. "Do you think polish thinner would work?"
She blinked at me. "Why don't you just buy the good stuff?"
"The good stuff," which she promptly directed me to, was INM Out The Door. Look at that picture up top again. For $7.99, I got .5 fl oz of Seche Vite. For $10.99 I got 2.5 fl oz of Out The Door. And you know what? Out The Door is the superior product.

First of all, Out The Door doesn't cause the dreaded tip shrinkage that Seche Vite does. No matter how I applied Seche Vite, either immediately after apply the nail color or waiting five minutes to do it, Seche Vite always caused my polish to shrink. Out The Door doesn't dull the way Seche Vite does after a few days of wear, even when I'm using hand cream like I'm trying to win a contest for most hand cream used in a single day. It's far more durable, as well. I can wash dishes, clean the house, lug laundry around without my polish chipping.

Most importantly, I've been using it for months now and it hasn't thickened. At all. So, rather than continually thinning your Seche Vite, maybe give Out The Door a try. You can get it in a smaller quantity, but if you do your nails as much as I do, you might want to spring for the larger bottle.

In other news, I found the perfect place to take nail and nail polish photos: my upstairs hallway. That's where the top coat photo was taken. I'd been bemoaning the lack of good light for picture taking in the house, when it dawned on me that the blank wall behind our stairs makes the perfect backdrop to replace the canvas we used to use... before R.E.I.T. decorated it with crayons.


  1. nice post! ive never tried either brand

  2. I hear you! Even beyond the irritating, manicure-ruining shrinkage, my bottles of Seche seize up halfway through as well!

    I bought the giant bottle of Out the Door, and I'm never going back! I'm half way through that huge 2.5 ounce orb, and it hasn't thickened a bit! I also love that it makes my manicures sufficiently shiny without making me feel like I'm globbing a ton of polish on my tips. :)