Seche Vite & Out The Door purchased by me. Clearly On Top & HK Girl received previously as press samples.
I've got a (hopefully) informative post for you today! (And while you're here, did you enter my blogversary giveaway yet? There are 30 prize packs, what are you waiting for?) Awhile ago I did a review on Glisten & Glow HK Girl that was very well received. I've been meaning to introduce another top coat into the mix and do something similar, and for today's post I'll be comparing Seche Vite, INM Out The Door, Glisten & Glow HK Girl and KBShimmer Clearly On Top.
Originally I did want to include a more budget-friendly option as well but I haven't had the time to go purchase the ones I was looking at. Okay, let's be real, it was more like it's 100 damn degrees outside and I did not feel like making a run to the store. Sorry, reader. I have failed you. I will more than likely do another of these posts sometime in the future though!
As far as the style of some of the way things are done and laid out here, I'll be drawing inspiration from this post by Battle Of The Top Coats (how the smearing is tested) as well as this post by Betty's Beauty Bombs (pros & cons layout & dry time testing method).
One of the big things usually mentioned when it comes to top coats is individual body chemistry. What type of nails you have can play a big difference in your experience, so let's talk about mine. My nails are fairly strong but extremely dry, ridged (I have psoriasis) and occasionally peely.
First, we'll take a look at what is commonly said about each top coat:
SECHE VITE (SV) -Index finger-
Pros- dries very quickly, very shiny, fairly thick consistency, can be purchased locally
Cons- gets goopy partway through the bottle, causes shrinkage with a lot of polishes, not 3-free (contains Toluene), strong scent
INM OUT THE DOOR (OTD) -Ring finger-
Pros- 3-free, dries quickly, shiny, no shrinkage, can be purchased locally
Cons- thin & liquidy consistency, can sometimes smear nail art
GLISTEN & GLOW HK GIRL (HKG) -Middle Finger-
Pros- dries quickly, doesn't smear stamping/nail art, very shiny
Cons- not 3-free (contains DPB), thin, strong scent, can only be purchased online, can sometimes get goopy partway through the bottle
KBSHIMMER CLEARLY ON TOP (COT) -Pinkie-
Pros- dries quickly, very shiny
Cons- not 3-free (contains DPB), can only be purchased online, may goop up partway through bottle (I have not personally experienced this but I haven't gotten far enough into the bottle)
Test #1: DRY TIME
All nails dented but it felt like the OTD nail dented a little bit deeper/more easily than the others.
All nails still dented but again, the nail with OTD feels like it dented a bit more. No noticeable difference among the others.
Same as above. At this point I was also regretting using such a nice, shiny cream as a base, as it was hard to show you the dents in the photos, haha!
OTD still denting the easiest, SV & HKG are pretty much neck and neck but COT dented a little less easily than the rest!
Rather than adding another dent to the top, I added two to each side of the very first dent. In the end, OTD still dented the most, SV & HKG were about the same and COT was just over-so-slightly more dry.
After 30 minutes I did also press on each nail to see if the polish would wrinkle and none of them did. So, I can safely say that as long as you're not poking them directly, all of these should be dry enough to go about most of your business within 30 minutes.
WINNER: KBShimmer Clearly On Top by a tiny margin!
LOSER: INM Out The Door.
Test #2: NAIL ART SMEARING
I began with two sloppy coats of OPI Alpine Snow (ugh, whites are the woooorst!) on all fingers, and used a dotting tool to make a design using China Glaze Liquid Leather. I allowed all nails to dry for at least 2 minutes prior to applying topcoat.
|Before top coat|
I used the floating method when applying each of these- I wiped off one side of the brush and using the other side, I 'floated' the topcoat on so that there would be minimal contact with the 'nail art'. This is the method that I always use for stamping or other nail art.
|After top coat|
WINNER: Everyone! Yay! Gold stars all around!
LOSER: Everyone. You all suck. Boooo.
Test #3: GLITTER COVERAGE
This one would be harder to show in photos, so you're just going to have to trust me! On all nails, I applied a chunky glitter (Two coats of KBShimmer She Twerks Out, technically billed as a texture polish) and then applied one coat of each top coat, waited until it was dry enough to touch, and then applied a second if needed.
Consistency-wise when applying, OTD and HKG were about the same, SV was the thickest and COT was between OTD/HKG & SV.
SV- Mostly smooth on first coat, completely smooth by the second
OTD- Not completely smooth on first coat,
HKG- Not completely smooth on first coat,
COT- Mostly smooth on first coat, completely smooth by the second
WINNER: SV & COT
LOSER: OTD & HKG
Test #4: WEAR & SHINE
I used the same base coat on all fingers (Philly Loves Lacquer Penndot Sticky Base Coat) and applied two coats of A England Sleeping Palace. When I wear polish normally, I find that my thumbs always chip first and then like clockwork, the rest start, usually at the corner/edges. My nails break easily and I tend to baby them, so I don't find that any one nail chips more than the others, they all tend to get bad at the same time (other than the thumb, as mentioned).
Everything looking good!
Minor tipwear on all nails on my right hand. On my cinderella hand, tipwear on all but lots of wear on the SV and HKG nails, a bit less on the OTD nail and almost none on the COT nail.
By the end of day 3, it was as long as I could stand to wear the polish without taking it off to get back to stuff that had to be swatched. Unfortunately my swatch hand still did not have any major chips!! Just some minor tipwear, every nail was pretty equal although the COT nail had maybe just a tiny bit less.
|Different angle to see the tipwear a bit better.|
SV- Super chipped
HKG- Chipped, just a bit less than SV
OTD- Chipped a bit less than SV & HKG
COT- Still mostly just tip wear
I honestly did not notice a difference on any of the nails in shine after a few days of wear.
Overall, in every test, KBShimmer Clearly On Top outperformed the rest. However, other than the wear test, the difference between the top coats was honestly very minimal for me. So, if I needed to get long wear out of a mani or I was really pressed for dry time, I would use COT in the future.
But if I was only going to wear it a few days and had the time? I'd probably stick with OTD just due to it being 3-free. I'm not totally against using a non 3-free top coat (obviously) but I do try to limit it to the times it would really be beneficial.
Otherwise, SV did not perform nearly well enough to justify me using it for anything, especially with the shrinkage I get with it with some polishes. And HKG performed roughly the same/a bit less than OTD, so due to it not being 3-free I would always use OTD over it.
I hope this post was informative to you guys, let me know your thoughts in the comments! Is your experience the same as mine, or have these worked differently for you? I want to know!
|Mugen is...freshly groomed!|