The best top coats in the UK 2023

Applying nail polish that doesn't last long is both a waste of time and money. In order for your nail polish to last, it needs protection, hence the interest of the top coat. All-in-one, shiny, perfumed or glittering, the top coat comes in several models. It's hard to choose if you don't have any reference to target the best products. That's why we've put together this little guide to help you find that rare gem.

Maybelline Top Coat 3D gel effect 1

Best value for money

Maybelline Top Coat 3D gel effect

The best top coat in 2021

Give your nail polish more shine by applying a 3D effect gel. For your greatest satisfaction, Maybelline Top Coat keeps the color of your nail polish intact for a long time. The effect is spectacular!

6,54 £ on Amazon

This transparent nail polish protector is applied to the surface as a finish. Once clean and well filed according to the desired shape, your nails are ready to receive the base coat. This one is also transparent and its application is essential to guarantee a better fixation of the future layers of nail polish. After these steps, apply your Maybelline Top Coat 3D effect gel.

It does not require the intervention of a specialist. You will be provided with a technological "just right" brush to ensure that the gel is applied evenly and without spilling. Through this product, you will benefit from a protection of at least 7 days for your nail polish. Not to mention the fact that this 3D gel can be removed very easily, with a simple stroke of nail polish remover.

Rimmel 5-in-1 Base and Top Coat 2

Best value for money

Rimmel 5-in-1 Base and Top Coat

The best entry-level top coat

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.

Opi Top Coat protective varnish 3

Best value for money

Opi Top Coat protective varnish

The best high-end top coat

If you sometimes want to keep the same polish on your nails for different events, try OPI Top Coat. It's very practical and offers you the possibility to protect your nail polish through a transparent solution.

12,80 £ on Amazon

OPI Top Coat Protective Nail Polish comes in a cream form. It gives a nice finishing touch to your manicure. Its particularity lies in its ability to make any nail polish color shine. This result remains visible during the 7 days following the application of this product on your nails. It is applied with the OPI ProWide Brush, a specialized brush that comes with the item.

OPI Top Coat is a very economical choice due to its correct capacity of 15 ml, which is far from the case for other similar cosmetic products. In addition, OPI Top Coat has a healing effect on brittle nails. The nails will be made more resistant by the effect of its non-toxic and nourishing components.

Revlon Top Coat Quick Dry 4


Revlon Top Coat Quick Dry

The best top coat with UV filter

For those who are confronted with the problem of nail polish that comes off very easily, Revlon Top Coat is the solution. Besides the fact that it guarantees a strong shine to your nail polish, it also ensures that it dries quickly.

7,89 £ on Amazon

Revlon Top Coat is designed to make your nail polish stay on more securely. Cosmetically, the sun's rays could compromise the shine of your nails. That's why Revlon Top Coat has UV filters in it. The idea is to prevent the color of your polish from fading over time.

As for its fixing character, Revlon Top Coat draws its singularity from the absence of toluene; a substance that easily dissolves nail polish. Its absence is observed by a remarkable drying speed of 30 seconds. For an even brighter effect, it is preferable to apply a colored nail polish before applying a coat of Revlon Top Coat.

Buying guide • November 2023

Best top coat

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The best top coat in 2021

The best entry-level top coat

The best high-end top coat

The best top coat with UV filter

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Comparison table of the best top coats

Top Inexpensive High-end Excellent
Maybelline Top Coat 3D gel effect 5
Rimmel 5-in-1 Base and Top Coat 6
Opi Top Coat protective varnish 7
Revlon Top Coat Quick Dry 8
Maybelline Top Coat 3D gel effect
Rimmel 5-in-1 Base and Top Coat
Opi Top Coat protective varnish
Revlon Top Coat Quick Dry
Give your nail polish more shine by applying a 3D effect gel. For your greatest satisfaction, Maybelline Top Coat keeps the color of your nail polish intact for a long time. The effect is spectacular!
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!
If you sometimes want to keep the same polish on your nails for different events, try OPI Top Coat. It's very practical and offers you the possibility to protect your nail polish through a transparent solution.
For those who are confronted with the problem of nail polish that comes off very easily, Revlon Top Coat is the solution. Besides the fact that it guarantees a strong shine to your nail polish, it also ensures that it dries quickly.
10 ml
12 mL
15 ml
14.7 ml
7 days
Long lasting
7 days
Long lasting
Anti-aging, even, no-spill, comes with right-dose brush
5-in-1 care, base and top coat, polish
With OPI ProWide Brush, optimal protection
UV filters, quick drying

Help us improve this table:
Report an error, request the addition of a feature to the table, or suggest another product. Thank you for your kindness!

Buying guide - top coat

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How to choose your top coat

Buying a top coat, yes, but which one? Here are some criteria to help you make the right decision.

#1 - The expected result

There are several types of top coat that produce different effects. Want a matte effect? Go for the frosted effect top coat! If you want a little originality, opt for a holographic product. There are also "glitter", "shine" and even "3D" top coats for those who like all kinds of decorations.

#2 - The components

The composition of the top coat includes a significant amount of solvents. The latter has the role of stabilizing the formula in the container but also during the application. Most top coats available on the market contain in general butyl acetate or ethyl acetate and polyester resin. The latter offers a good protection against UV.

#3 - The efficiency

One of the problems when it comes to the application of nail polish is that it can chip too quickly. In this case, top coat is the most effective solution! Don't hesitate to choose a long-lasting top coat that can last up to a week after application. During this time, your nails will be shinier than ever!

#4 - The drying time

It is important to know that the drying time depends on how long the solvent evaporates. In most cases, it only takes a few minutes. But depending on the model, there are top coats that dry extremely fast. Indeed, it is possible to find for example a top coat with a drying time of only 45 seconds.

#5 - The smell

This is a criterion not to be neglected when buying a top coat. The smell that emanates from this product can be a source of stress. So choose a model that does not have too strong an odor especially if you are the "sensitive" type. There are models whose smell is much more tolerable than others.

What is a top coat and how to use it?

A top coat can be defined as a transparent varnish whose purpose is to offer adequate protection to the main varnish. It is therefore a coating to be applied to the enamel that will protect the varnish against possible shocks or scratches.

But its role is not only limited to protection since it is also used for aesthetic purposes. It prevents, for example, the appearance of small balls in your manicure. As you can see, a top coat is applied like a finisher. It will give your nail polish a very nice finish. Depending on the model, you can also add effects to your nail polish to make them more original.

Finally, some top coats are able to take care of your nails in an efficient way. In this way, the small imperfections are repaired and the nails are well nourished thanks to rare oils contained in the top coat.

How to apply a top coat?

To correctly apply this type of product, there are different steps that you must follow scrupulously.

  • The first thing to do is to completely remove all traces of a previous varnish.
  • Then, the second step is to apply a base coat. Do not neglect this step!
  • Once this is done, it is now time to apply your varnish. You must do it in two coats with each application spaced 2 minutes apart.
  • When you have finished applying the second coat, that is when you can apply the top coat of your choice.

A little tip

Don't forget to drain the brush properly before applying and proceed gently with a thin layer. All you have to do is wait a few minutes before going out.

The different types of top coats

Even if the top coat comes in many varieties, depending on the taste and color of the person who will use it, there are three main types that you should know in order to better refine your choice.

The nail care top coat

As the name suggests, the nail care top coat is able to provide care to your nails. In addition to keeping your nails shiny, this type of product contains special oils that nourish and repair them if needed. In addition, the nail care top coat helps to promote healthy nail growth.

If we were to find a small flaw in it, it is just the fact that its use is limited to giving shine and care to the nails. It's not really suitable if you want to add effects or show some originality to your nails.

The effect top coat

The biggest advantage of effect top coats is that they allow you to add a touch of originality and a bit of craziness to your nails. Nowadays, several variations are available and offer different effects. We can mention, for example, models suggesting floral patterns, but also glitter effects, shiny.... The least we can say is that the choice is very wide.

The effect top coats just add a little fantasy to your nails while protecting them. Other than that, they don't have the ability to take care of your nails. If your nails are in need of repair, this type of top coat is not the best choice! In this case, you should turn to the nail care top coat.

The all-in-one top coat

The "all-in-one" top coat gathers the assets of several products in one. So you don't have to switch from one product to another! Being able to be used as nail polish and base coat, this kind of item allows you to take care of your nails and add effects at the same time.

The all-in-one top coat is a real "must-have" for women. However, depending on the model, the application may be meticulous and therefore require more time. Moreover, it is not impossible to find products that give off strong odors when applied to the nails.

Top coat or base coat?

Top coat

Compared to a base coat, the advantages of a top coat are numerous. For example, it gives the possibility to embellish the nails as you wish. Thus, you can easily personalize your manicure by achieving matte and shiny effects! That's not all, you can also turn to the top coat "glitter" or "3D".

A top coat can in no way replace a base coat. For example, it is not intended to facilitate the application of nail polish, because it does not have the necessary properties to smooth the roughness that may be on the nails. This means that the two products (top coat and base coat) are complementary and one cannot be used without the other.

Base Coat

Unlike the top coat which protects the main polish, the base coat is a protective film that will effectively protect your nails. By using it, you will no longer find yourself with brittle nails or nails that tend to yellow! Moreover, the application of a base coat will help you to smooth the surface of the nail. This will greatly facilitate the application of your polish.

Despite its advantages, the base coat has its limits. It cannot replace the functions of a top coat and vice versa. This means that it will not be of much use if you want to get a nice finish or have an embellishing effect on your polishes. It should only be applied in order to "prepare the ground" for the application of the varnish.


Top coat or base coat? Each product has its own properties. Under no circumstances should one of these products be used improperly, as this could lead to poor results and bruised nails. However, there are products that combine both and are able to provide a protective and fixing effect to your nails.

Why buy a top coat?

To provide effective protection for nail polish

The main role of the top coat is to act as a "bodyguard" for your polish. In everyday life, nails are never safe from many small shocks that are likely to cause damage to your main polish. As the days go by, your nail polish also tends to "age" and the fact that you put on top coat will prevent it from chipping prematurely.

To fix nail polish and make it last longer

Without top coat, your nail polish will not last long! It will only last a few days at most. With a top coat, you can be sure it will last up to 7 days. In other words, your nails will retain their shine and evenness for a full week. So you can go about your business without worrying about your nails.

To care for your nails

As mentioned above, there are top coats designed specifically to care for nails. To do this, they include in their composition ingredients (serum for example) capable not only of repairing the nails, but also of nourishing them properly. As a result, you get healthy nail growth and excellent health after regular use of the product!

To embellish nails according to your desires

There's nothing better than an effect top coat to embellish your nails according to your desires! With this type of product, you can choose all sorts of effects and adopt your own style. For example, you can choose a glossy and plasticky finish, milky or smoky effect, glitter effects and many others.

To speed up the drying time of nail polishes

Sometimes you need to be patient when it comes to drying nail polishes. With the top coat, say goodbye to the interminable drying time that must be respected or else the nail polish will peel. This product has the advantage of considerably reducing the drying time of your nail polish. Yes, a few seconds can be more than enough if you choose the right model.

The best brands of top coats

In our opinion, the best brands of top coats 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 all over the world.

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 wide range of colors for nail polishes.

Since its creation, the Tomicca brand has been able to make a place for itself among the best brands in the world of cosmetics. Considering the numerous praises coming from users, the quality of its products is no longer in doubt. Tomicca stands out especially by its willingness to suggest nail polishes that are healthy, environmentally friendly and odorless.

This American brand founded in the early 80s is a giant in the nail care 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.

Are born in 1932, the brand Revlon is devoted rather quickly in the high-end cosmetics. It made a name for itself in the design of long-lasting nail polish, which at the time was something revolutionary! Always in search of innovation, her main objective was to make all women look good. It is therefore no coincidence that they make this brand a real "must".

What is the price for a top coat

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.

3 £ to 5 £
5 £ to 10 £
more than 10 £
Price range diagram


Opt for an all-in-one top coat

In addition to protecting your manicure, an all-in-one top coat usually combines the properties of a strengthening treatment and those of a nail polish base. You can therefore apply it alone and directly on your nails to make them more resistant and shiny. And by using it as a base coat, it will prevent your nails from yellowing because of the pigments in the nail polish.

Clean your nails well

It is important to always clean your nails before applying the nail polish. To do this, you can use modified alcohol or a hygienic spray. Next, you should also push back the cuticles. These two steps will ensure that your manicure will last longer. In addition, you should always degrease the top coat to prevent your manicure from remaining sticky.

Never use the top coat as a base coat

The top coat should never be used at the base of the polish. Indeed, the base coat and the top coat are two products that have their own functions. Thus, the first coat protects the nails while the top coat ensures the long lasting of the manicure. The components and the fine texture of the top coat do not allow it to protect your nails against the aggressions of the nail polish.

Choose a low-toxicity top coat

Certain components of top coat can harm the health of your nails, your cuticles or your skin. You should then make sure that the top coat you use has a low toxicity. You can also opt for an organic top coat which, thanks to its natural vitaminized active ingredients, will take care of your nails.

Wait for your polish to dry before applying a top coat

The top coat must be used exclusively on a dry polish. Indeed, if the latter is still fresh, the top coat may cause bubbles or irregularities to appear. On the other hand, if your top coat is a drying gas pedal, you can apply it on a soft polish. In this case, it is still advisable to space the application of the varnish and the top coat by one minute.


When to put on a top coat?

Also called top coat, the top coat is to be applied after the last coat of main varnish. In principle, you should wait until the nail polish is perfectly dry beforeapplying the top coat unless it is a drying gas pedal. You can also add a new coat a few days after your manicure to revive its shine.

How to choose a top coat?

The choice of your top coat depends entirely on the finish you want to give to your manicure. If you want a clean look with a finished look, glossy top coat is still ideal. However, you can opt for an effect top coat to bring originality to your polish. In this case, it would be interesting to turn to a matte, glitter or even crackle effect top coat.

How to use a top coat?

The top coat is characterized by a more fluid texture than that of polishes. It is therefore easy to apply and spreads evenly over the entire surface of the nail. However, it is important to make sure that this top coat is neither too thin nor too thick. A thin coat will reveal brush marks while a thick coat may harm your manicure by creating bubbles.

What is a top coat really for?

The top coat is a must-have for a perfect manicure. Most often presented as a transparent varnish, the first role of the top coat is to increase the resistance of your manicure. Indeed, without it, the varnish would easily flake. The top coat is also used to give the nail polish color an intense shine or an original effect.


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.
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  2. Why to use a Base and a Top Coat?,
  3. Primer Base Coat & Top Coat: long lasting!?,
  4. Top coat: when and how to use it?,
  5. Top coat: the solution to make your polish last!,
  6. The Best Top Coats for a Gorgeous Finish,
  7. The best nail polish top coats,
  8. A decent top coat can completely level up your mani game so here are the absolute best ones to buy,
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  20. V1 3D MATRIX COATING - TOP COAT 50ml - Addict Auto,
  21. Gel Effect Top Coat - Gel Effect Top Coat - KIKO MILANO,
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  24. Top Coat | Hilton Herbs | Skin and coat care for dogs,
  25. Top coat - Bases & Top coats - Nail polish - Nails ....,
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  27. Base & Top Coat - Yves Rocher,
  28. Top Coat Shine - Aroma-Zone,
  29. TOP COAT - 2 in 1 Base + Top Coat - AVRIL - Marionnaud,
  30. Top Coat Semi-Permanent - Green Flash | Manicurist,
  31. Top Coat Soak Off Nailish,
  32. Base Coat Top Coat Manicure Essentials ...,
See more


March 2022 : Translation of this buying guide from our partner

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Our selection
Maybelline Top Coat 3D gel effect 9
Maybelline Top Coat 3D gel effect
Rimmel 5-in-1 Base and Top Coat 10
Rimmel 5-in-1 Base and Top Coat
Opi Top Coat protective varnish 11
Opi Top Coat protective varnish
Revlon Top Coat Quick Dry 12
Revlon Top Coat Quick Dry


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