I can think of at least a dozen times when I’ve thought my manicure was dry, only to find out that it wasn’t when it became adhered to the glass, article of clothing or magazine I tried to pick up. Cleaning whatever item I inadvertently polished is about the only thing less fun than starting over on a manicure. It stands to reason, then, that a top coat that dries hard as rocks in minutes would be welcome in my bathroom cabinet.
I bought my first bottle of Seche Vite after InStyle named it one of its Best Beauty Buys in May. No top coat has ever dried my nails so quickly. It probably takes about two minutes before nails are dry and hard. It’s not the kind of dry that feels dry then slips around when you pick up your phone. It’s dry, dry. It’s also very glossy. I can almost see my reflection in my nails when I use this top coat.
As far as preventing chips goes, I don’t think it’s much better than any other good top coat. If you spend the day scrubbing your kitchen, your nails are going to chip. A chipped manicure is usually more about habits than it is product. If your nails aren’t wiped with remover before you apply polish, they’ll chip. If you apply too many coats, the polish will chip. If you reapply a top coat throughout the week, the polish is less likely to chip. A manicure is also less likely to chip if you get all the way to the edges and tip of your nails. This top coat “shrinks” a little as it dries, so if you don’t reach the edges, you can end up with a little bubble line, which can lead to chipping.
The real beef that I have with Seche Vite is that halfway through the bottle, the polish begins to get thick, which makes application a little more difficult, but I can deal. When there’s only one quarter left, it gets stringy and so thick that getting the brush saturated with top coat is difficult, and getting it on my nails and keeping the spider-web like strands off my possessions is nearly impossible. Perhaps it’s an inconvenient side effect of the thick and quick-dry formula, because after poking around a bit, I discovered that this seems to be a pretty common problem. Seche Vite sells a thinner to combat this, but I haven’t tried it. Instead, I dumped polish remover in it, which, though it’s often recommended, it’s generally not a good plan. It won’t achieve the original consistency, and this practice almost always clouds the polish. That said, I was ready to toss this one, so I decided to give it a shot. It became cloudy but still provided amazing shine and dried just as quickly.
Because I could salvage what was left in the $10 bottle, I’ll be buying this again, and I’d recommend it because I’ve never used a top coat that looks glossier or dries all layers of polish faster. Even if I couldn’t find a way to use the last quarter of product, I’d probably still buy this. It’s that good.