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Best Nail Base Coats

Back to Basics: The Best Base Coats

Finding the right base coat is a critical first step in creating the perfect at-home manicure. If you use one that doesn't have a decent adhesive quality, then the color you've just applied is likely to peel off quickly.

An instant peel or chip on your freshly manicured hands feels like a big waste of time. Here are three brilliant base coats that I've been using for years — and as always, if you have a favorite of your own, please tell me what it is in a comment below.

As far as base coats go, I've always considered Nailtiques Nail Protein Formula 2 ($9.50) a treat because it's fairly expensive. Also, I think it's nothing short of a miracle worker on weak, peeling nails, so if I can muster up the self-control to let some actual white tips grow in, I reward myself with a coat of this keratin enriched base coat. If you're a first-time user, it is recommended to apply one coat every other day for a week without color, and then apply it as a base coat and a top coat to your next manicure.

Borghese Brilliante Base & Top Coat ($6.74) dries quickly while providing a thin, yet adequate base for your manicure. It contains granules of gemstones for added shine, proteins to help your nails grow stronger and it seals in moisture for healthier nails. Also, it's toluene, DBP and formaldehyde free.

For one more drugstore base coat option,


Sally Hansen Hard As Nails ($2.75) is a product that I've been using since high school. It's always worked well to help strengthen my weak, bitten nails and it's so shiny that I often wear it alone. After continued use, my nails feel harder and they have less ridges. You can't beat the price or the super-long brush. If you've never tried this base coat before, I highly recommend it.

Join The Conversation
ikitty13 ikitty13 9 years
Sally Hansen Miracle Growth serum for problem nails really is a miracle. It's a blue bottle with a gold top and my nails just grow so long and strong and healthy now, it really is a miracle.
lightheaded lightheaded 9 years
I like CN Stickey... Orly Bonder is also good.
classicsugar classicsugar 9 years
Agree Marcella - Stickey is my fav!
VllyBallChck VllyBallChck 9 years
i love doing my nails and i think this would make them last longer and to stay healthier most of all.. :]
doogirl doogirl 9 years
Orly makes a couple of great basecoats! I paint my nails a lot, and use them exclusively. There are some great tips in the comments though, and I'm pretty sure I'll be trying them out!
bigestivediscuit bigestivediscuit 9 years
You can't beat SH - I've always used their products, like base coats, top coats, etc.
gigill gigill 9 years
SH works great for me too.
emalove emalove 9 years
My roommate turned me on to Nailtiques in's such a great product! A little pricey, but well worth it.
soulight soulight 9 years
I also enjoy Sally Hensen products, the hard as nails line has made even super cheap brands like Wet and Wild last a good couple days.
brittanyk brittanyk 9 years
I use the Sally Hansen base coat too. I've had tons of luck with all SH products, actually.
glam-sugar glam-sugar 9 years
I like most of the Sally Hansen products and I use that base coat all the time.
silly3 silly3 9 years
I use Sally Hansen Double Duty Strengthening Base & Top Coat (that's a mouthful) for both, duh, base and top coat with either Essie or OPI polish and it lasts for weeks and weeks with no chipping. Maybe someday I'll upgrade, but this Sally Hansen product has always worked well for me.
marcella marcella 9 years
Oh, and if you are looking for a nail strengthener, I suggest Revivanail!
marcella marcella 9 years
Seche Vite Ridge Filling Base Coat is great because it fills any indentations in your nail for a smooth polish application. Also, I love Creative Nail's base coat called Stickey. If you have problems with peeling nail polish, this is the base coat for you!
Shopaholichunny Shopaholichunny 9 years
LOL ^^^ Different experiences. Some SH prodeucts do well for me but then some don't.
terryt18 terryt18 9 years
SH nail products, in my experience, have been wonderful.
aimeeb aimeeb 9 years
SH nail products, in my experience, have been horrible!
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