The best nail polish bases in the UK 2023

To enjoy a beautiful manicure with a long lasting effect, it is important to have a good top coat, a quality nail polish and of course... an excellent nail polish base. Also called "base coat", the latter prevents the yellowing of nails and the appearance of stains caused by the pigmentation of colored polishes. Thus, its formula will strengthen, accelerate the growth or smooth the nail. But which base coat to choose? Read this buying guide to learn more.

Herôme extra strong nail hardener 1

The best

Herôme extra strong nail hardener

The best nail polish base in 2021

This Herome Extra Strength Nail Hardener is a hardener that will strengthen your soft, thin and split nails. The first signs of results will be visible from your first week of use.

11,19 £ on Marionnaud

By using this product, Hérôme guarantees you longer and harder nails for a one-month treatment to be repeated twice a year. It is a nail hardener enriched with amino acid and its shiny effect is ideal for women who are particularly fond of it. And thanks to its quick-drying properties, you can apply it as a base for your regular nail polish without a long application time.

The tip of its cap can be used as a cuticle pusher, which is pretty handy for maintaining that protective thin skin on your nails. If you are allergic, you should know that this product would be perfect for you, as it does not contain toluene or formaldehyde resin. In any case, with this hardener, you can be sure that your nails will be repaired, because it is really effective.

Rimmel 5-in-1 Base and Top Coat 2


Rimmel 5-in-1 Base and Top Coat

The best entry-level nail polish base

Rimmel Top Coat 5-in-1 brings you solutions to the problem of chipping polish. In one product, it offers 5 features, hence the name "5-in-1". It also makes your nails shinier than ever!

3,95 £ on Amazon

Women stand out for the role that every part of their body plays, especially their nails. Taking good care of them requires the use of a product with quick results, as in the case of Rimmel Top Coat 5-in-1. In just three days, your nails will be shinier, more moisturized, flexible and even healthy. Base and 5-in-1 Top Coat are two color ranges to choose from.

Let's mention the 5 wonders that Rimmel Top Coat presents. First of all, it can be applied alone or in the foreground as a protection for your favorite nail polish. Its liquid volume of 12 ml will allow its repeated use over time. Small and light, you can take it everywhere. This top coat provides a soft feeling and accelerates nail growth.

Alessandro Spa Sensitive 3

Top of the line

Alessandro Spa Sensitive

The best high-end nail polish base

Alessandro Spa Sensitive Nail Hardener features a gentle formulation with no added formaldehyde, which is a compound that could increase the risk of cancer. It is therefore the perfect solution to treat your damaged nails.

18,85 £ on Amazon

The nail hardener enriched with formaldehyde-free coconut oil visibly improves the condition of the nails thanks to hexanal and contributes to their strength. In addition to its subtle fragrance, this coconut oil also improves their growth.

Multifunctional, this glossy product can be used alone or as a base for nail polish. In addition, you can apply one or two thin coats to a carefully cleaned nail. Alessandro Spa recommends strengthening your nails with an effective treatment that should last 6-8 weeks, up to 12 weeks. After that, you can apply it once or twice a week as a maintenance treatment. It is a nail hardener made for all skin types and will revive your brittle nails.

Rimmel London stronger 4


Rimmel London stronger

A great choice

Rimmel is a nail polish containing ingredients that will protect and strengthen your brittle nails. With this nail polish, your nails will be more resistant and will regain their normal appearance.

6,32 £ on Nocibé

Stronger Nail, Nail Nurse by Rimmel is an ultra complete care for your nails. A 5-in-1 action, this top coat treats, strengthens, protects, stimulates regrowth and guarantees long-lasting nails. Based on keratin and calcium, it protects nails and makes them stronger and more resistant to shocks.

It is best used like a classic base coat that dries out quickly, except that it provides an additional effect, namely strengthening the nails. It also improves the appearance of nails that become visibly smoother and shinier. With Rimmel stronger nail polish, you will have beautiful and healthy nails.

Base coat Korres 5

A great choice

Base coat Korres


Want to pamper your nails with an ultra-nourishing base coat made with natural active ingredients? Opt for this protective vegan base coat from Korres that promises you beautiful, strong and well-groomed nails.

7,99 £ on Marionnaud

This vegan nail polish base is both hardening and strengthening for healthier nails and a long-lasting polish. Enriched with natural active ingredients, it is made up of 18 amino acids, sweet almond oil and silicon to pamper the nails and protect their surface. An ingenious combination of nutrients that are essential to the proper growth of nails and the maintenance of their health.

This formula is highly recommended for streaked, brittle, soft and weakened nails. Thanks to this product, your nail polish is more resistant to chipping and its application will be done in no time. We also appreciate the absence of potentially allergenic and toxic ingredients (silicones, acetone, paraben, phthalate, formaldehyde, camphor, xylene, toluene, mineral oil and ethanolamines), making this base safe for your nails.

Buying guide • November 2023

Best nail polish base

Any specific needs?

The best nail polish base in 2021

The best entry-level nail polish base

The best high-end nail polish base

A great choice


Your guide : Samuel

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Comparison table of the best nail polish bases

The best Inexpensive High end Excellent Excellent
Herôme extra strong nail hardener 6
Rimmel 5-in-1 Base and Top Coat 7
Alessandro Spa Sensitive 8
Rimmel London stronger 9
Base coat Korres 10
Herôme extra strong nail hardener
Rimmel 5-in-1 Base and Top Coat
Alessandro Spa Sensitive
Rimmel London stronger
Base coat Korres
This Herome Extra Strength Nail Hardener is a hardener that will strengthen your soft, thin and split nails. The first signs of results will be visible from your first week of use.
Rimmel Top Coat 5-in-1 brings you solutions to the problem of chipping polish. In one product, it offers 5 features, hence the name "5-in-1". It also makes your nails shinier than ever!
Alessandro Spa Sensitive Nail Hardener features a gentle formulation with no added formaldehyde, which is a compound that could increase the risk of cancer. It is therefore the perfect solution to treat your damaged nails.
Rimmel is a nail polish containing ingredients that will protect and strengthen your brittle nails. With this nail polish, your nails will be more resistant and will regain their normal appearance.
Want to pamper your nails with an ultra-nourishing base coat made with natural active ingredients? Opt for this protective vegan base coat from Korres that promises you beautiful, strong and well-groomed nails.
10 mL
12 mL
10 mL
12 mL
11 mL
Finish type
Brightening agent
Lights nails
Does not contain toluene or formaldehyde resin
5-in-1 care, base and top coat, polish
Nail base and hardener, fixes and stabilizes natural nails, no formaldehyde
Based double action nail strength and protection, nourishing care
Vegan, nourishing action, strengthens nails
Quick drying
Not reported
Key ingredients
Vitamin C, Magnesium, hexanal, seed extract, protein
Vitamin C, calcium, protein
Coconut oil, hexanal
Vitamin C, calcium and keratin
Sweet almond oil, combination of 18 animate acids, silicon trace element

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Buying guide - nail polish base

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How to choose your nail polish base

Essential for the success of your French manicure, the nail polish base also protects the nails from yellowing and possible aggression of certain components of the nail polish. Here are the criteria to consider when choosing this protective product.

#1 - Drying time

If you are the type of person who is in a hurry, this parameter is very important for you. For this purpose, turn to a nail polish base that can provide good adhesion and is quick to dry under a UV lamp (drying in less than 30 seconds).

#2 - Toxic components

Many nail polishes are formulated with toxic chemicals such as formaldehyde, camphor, toluene, paraben or even DBP, to extend the life of the product. It's best to avoid these ingredients because they can make nails dry and brittle in the long run and can even cause irritation and all sorts of allergic reactions, especially for people with sensitive skin.

#3 - Preferred ingredients

Opt for a nail polish base with nourishing ingredients that help strengthen your nails. Not only do these ingredients act as a shield between your delicate nails and the nail polish, but they also prevent cracking and fill in ridges on ridged nails for a smooth, flawless application. Also, look for nail polish bases enriched with vitamin E, biotin, castor oil, soy protein, or calcium. Products formulated with many natural ingredients are also popular.

#4 - Versatility

For people who prefer to avoid having multiple products in their bathroom or on their dressing table, all-in-one nail polish bases are a great choice. That's because they can both prep the nail and seal in a colorful manicure. A much appreciated versatility that allows you to enjoy all the benefits of two products (or even more) in one purchase.

#5 - Smell

Some bases are quite painful to bear as their chemical smell is persistent. If you have a sensitive nose, make sure the smell of the base coat you're considering doesn't bother you. Indeed, this will guarantee you more pleasant manicure sessions.

Foods to eat for beautiful nails

  • Foods rich in iron: eggs, fish, offal, dried vegetables, meat.
  • Foods rich in magnesium: whole grains, green vegetables, fish and seafood.
  • Vitamin-rich foods: red and orange fruits and vegetables such as strawberries, carrots, pumpkins, apricots, mangoes, tomatoes, etc.

Good to know

From the age of 20, it is strongly recommended to use marine collagen products (preferably organic) to protect the skin, nails and hair from aging. You should also know that taking food supplements(anti-aging food supplements, magnesium, multivitamin supplements, brewer 's yeast, etc.) helps to provide or compensate for vitamin C needs in the diet so as to stimulate collagen production by the body.

Some recipes to enhance nails

Nail scrub


  • one tablespoon of brown sugar
  • a tablespoon of olive oil
  • a teaspoon of honey
  • a teaspoon of lemon juice

The benefits of each ingredient

  • Honey cleanses the skin and heals small wounds,
  • the lemon is very appreciated for its whitening power. It will give back to the nails all their brightness and make them shiny,
  • Olive oil has a powerful moisturizing power that will soften the cuticles while contributing to the health of the skin of hands and nails,
  • and the brown sugar allows to detach gently the dead skins.


In a container, mix your ingredients until they are well blended. Then gently rub your nails with this paste.

Recipe to restore strength and vitality to soft and brittle nails


  • A few drops of lemon essential oil
  • A vegetable oil of your choice (castor, olive or sweet almond)


Mix your ingredients in a small container and massage your nails and hands with this preparation. Do this regularly and you will notice that after only one week, your skin is smoother and more hydrated, and your nails stronger.

The different types of nail polish bases

Let's sift through the different types of nail polish bases with their share of pros and cons so you can determine which base coat you need most.

Nourishing bases

Applied regularly on the nails alone or as a base before applying nail polish, the nourishing nail polish base is usually enriched with vitamin E. This is to provide the nails with all the essential nutrients they need to face external aggressions and the test of time. After application, the nourishing base will moisturize and protect the nails to make them more beautiful and resistant. This is thanks to the fact that the product contains agents that strengthen, smooth and take care of the structure of the nails. This will significantly reduce the risk of breakage and splitting of the nail. Thus, this base is suitable for all types of nails.

Nail hardeners

The nail hardener is a product that can be used as a base coat, hardener, clear lacquer and fixative. Thanks to it, your nails are stronger and shinier. This type of nail polish base is the ideal solution for soft, brittle nails that tend to split. It is also highly recommended for people who are constantly in contact with water (swimmers and water sports enthusiasts, housework, etc.).

However, nail hardeners have been criticized for their potentially allergenic and toxic composition. Indeed, nail hardeners contain formaldehyde or formaldehyde which can be dangerous to health in the long term. They even sting the eyes when applied if the product's instructions are not followed. Finally, nail hardeners should also not be applied on the skin, under the nail or on the cuticles at the risk of hardening them too.

Dejaunifying bases

As their name clearly suggests, de-yellowing bases have the function of preventing and fighting nail yellowing under the effect of nail polish. In fact, the anti-yellowing base coat is going to act as a shield to protect the nail while preventing the nail polish from rubbing off on the nail surface. This type of base coat is especially suitable for people whose nails have yellowed for various reasons (Onychomycosis, yellow fever, prolonged or excessive use of nail polish, etc.). The use of a dejaunizing base coupled with a good nail care routine will allow you to have beautiful, shiny, strong and healthy nails.

Smoothing bases

Specially formulated for streaked nails, damaged by time and external aggressions, the role of the smoothing bases is to strengthen and smooth the asperities of the nail surface. This product does not only mask these asperities, but will act in depth to treat the problem at the source. This type of nail polish base allows you to enhance your nails while giving them a natural look when applied alone. Used as a nail polish base, the smoothing base makes nail polish application easier while enveloping the nail surface with a protective anti-yellowing barrier that will protect this surface against nail polish pigmentation.

Nail polish base or top coat?

Nail polish base

The nail polish base or base coat is used at the beginning of the manicure. It smoothes the surface of the nails in order to make the application of the colored varnish easier. It is the first layer of nail polish that serves to protect, strengthen and nourish the nail. Thus, applied before the polish application, the base coat will keep your nails healthy. However, the nail polish base cannot replace the functions of a top coat and vice versa.

The top coat

The top coat is used at the end of the manicure. Its application on top of the colored nail polish gives the nails a nice shiny look and also allows the nail polish to last longer. Some top coats also allow the nail polish to dry more quickly. Thus, thanks to the top coat, your nails will keep their shine and homogeneity longer (up to one week). However, the components and the fine texture of the top coat do not allow it to preserve your nails against the aggressions of the polish.


In short, the base coat and the top coat are two products that provide very different functions. If the first one creates a protective barrier on the nails, the second one offers a beautiful finish that guarantees the long lasting of your manicure. Thus, these two products must be used in complementarity.

Why buy a nail polish base?

1- To have beautiful and well-groomed nails

Having beautiful nails gives a better impression of yourself. They reflect your personality, your look, and above all, your hygiene. Wearing a nice nail polish that is well applied and not chipped shows that you pay special attention to your body. This way, people will have a certain esteem for you thanks to your elegance and neat appearance.

2-To guarantee a long lasting nail polish

Depending on the type of nail polish you choose, applying a base coat will ensure that your manicure stays intact and flawless for up to a week or more. So, if you don't want your nail polish to peel off when you go away for the weekend, just apply a base coat on your nails before applying your nail polish.

3-To correct and end nail imperfections

As mentioned above, there are various types of nail polish bases specially formulated to pamper nails and especially problematic nails (ridged, soft, brittle, damaged, etc.). Therefore, the application of a base coat alone or as a base for nail polish will nourish, strengthen, smooth and protect the nails as well as the long lasting nail polish.

4-To take advantage of a targeted treatment for problem nails

There are all kinds of nail polish bases formulated to treat various nail problems. For example, an anti-yellowing base coat will prevent yellowing of the nails for healthy nail growth. Some will strengthen soft and brittle nails while others will prevent splitting or smooth out ridged nails. In any case, base coats generally have a common goal: to care for nails and keep them healthy.

5-To make nail polish application easier

The application of a base coat before applying nail polish will facilitate the application of the polish. This is due to the smoothing effect of the base coat on the ridged nails. Once the application of the nail polish is facilitated, your manicure sessions will take you little time. As you do your manicure by yourself, you will no longer need to go to a nail salon to have beautiful nails in all circumstances. You just need to have all the products and accessories you need among your manicure equipment.

The best brands of nail polish bases

In our opinion, the best brands of nail polish bases in 2022 are :


Founded in 1915 in the United States and more precisely in Chicago, this brand of cosmetic products is part of the L'Oréal group. With its rich experience, it is now considered a world leader in makeup. Foundation, lip gloss, lipsticks, mascara, nail polish... it offers a wide variety of products whose quality has managed to convince women around the world.

This American brand founded in the early 80s is a giant in the nail industry. It has built a solid reputation thanks to its colorful nail polishes with unique names. The quality of its products makes O.P.I. nail polishes suitable for both professionals and amateurs. Efficiency and innovation are the key words of this brand that never ceases to surprise.

In the world of cosmetics, Rimmel is among the oldest brands. Indeed, it was born in 1834 in England. Very famous in the world, this brand is very popular with the ladies. Its partnership with the star Kate Moss is surely for something! Nowadays, Rimmel offers a very varied choice of colors when it comes to nail polishes.

Specialist in manicure since its creation in 1981, the Essie brand proves to be an icon in the fashion world. Offering a vast choice of nail polishes available in various colors and shades, it is especially appreciated for its perfect shine and coverage.

Since its creation in 1932, Revlon has well and truly revolutionized the world of manicure. A high performance formula, long wear, a plethora of shades, these are some of the terms that best define the famous firm.

What is the price for a nail polish base

The diagram below will help you to get an idea of the typical prices for each price range (entry-level, mid-range and high-end).

However, more expensive does not necessarily mean better.

We therefore advise you to always consult our ranking before deciding, rather than blindly relying on price ranges.

5 £ to 7 £
7 £ to 10 £
more than 10 £
Price range diagram


Use a natural nail polish remover

Take a container and mix the juice of a lemon and a little vinegar to make a homemade nail polish remover. Mix it well and then soak your fingers in it for fifteen minutes. It is the high acidity of these two ingredients that will make it easy to remove the nail polish.

Let your nails breathe

It is not good for your nails to "smother" them by wearing nail polish all the time. Therefore, only wear polish occasionally. And even if your varnish is "long-lasting", it is better not to keep it for more than ten days. Also, space out your nail polish applications by three or four days every two weeks.

Protect your skin from nail polish spills

Sometimes our nail polish spills out during application. For this purpose, to easily and more quickly clean the skin of excess polish, put craft glue all around the nail. At the end of the manicure, you just have to remove it for a successful and neat application. You can also use a cotton swab dipped in nail polish remover to remove the spilled nail polish. Don't forget to first return your cotton swab the pYou can also apply your nail polish as thinly as possible by pressing it with your fingers.

Alter the types of nail polish you apply

Did you know that erasing your semi-permanent nail polish frequently can damage your nails? It is therefore recommended to alternate semi-permanent nail polish and classic nail polish to less aggress the nails.

Eat a healthy, balanced diet

To keep beautiful nails strong and healthy, and limit their breakage, it is essential to eat well. Therefore, favor foods rich in iron, magnesium and vitamin A that maintain the strength of nails. Apart from these, you can also take collagen powder or food supplements from time to time.


What is the nail polish base?

The nail polish base is a product to be applied before the nail polish application to serve as a base. It is often transparent or slightly tinted depending on its properties and creates a protective film on the nails to keep them healthy. This protective film also prevents the direct contact of the brittle components of the nail polish with the nail. This is to avoid yellowing or aggression of the nails.

How to properly apply a nail polish base?

The nail polish base is always to be applied before the application of the nail polish, on clean nails, that is, previously filed and washed. A single coat of the base is enough to protect the nail. Apply a nail polish base containing the right ingredients (essential oils, amino acids or vitamins) to your nails to quickly achieve your goals and for a targeted treatment of your nails. This includes soft, brittle or damaged nails. Give the base a minute to dry well or dry them under a UV nail lamp before applying your nail polish.

Is the application of a nail polish base mandatory?

Not necessarily, but it is always better to use a nail polish base to avoid ending up with weakened and damaged nails from the nail polishes you use. Note that the direct and permanent contact of the nail surface with the nail polish will promote the yellowing of your nails.

How to care for nails that tend to split?

To effectively treat nail splitting, consider eating healthier. So eat more fiber, focus on the right foods in your plate that contribute to healthy nails. It is also possible for you to consider taking brewer's yeast.


Note: Below are some of the sources we have consulted in writing this article. Links to other sites are not continuously updated. It is therefore possible that a link may not be found. Please use a search engine to find the desired information. See more


March 2022 : Translation of this buying guide from our partner

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Our selection
Herôme extra strong nail hardener 11
Herôme extra strong nail hardener
Rimmel 5-in-1 Base and Top Coat 12
Rimmel 5-in-1 Base and Top Coat
Alessandro Spa Sensitive 13
Alessandro Spa Sensitive
Rimmel London stronger 14
Rimmel London stronger
Base coat Korres 15
Base coat Korres


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