Best Nail Base Coat
Applying a base coat is an essential part of any manicure since nails require proper preparation before polish application. Without a base coat, nails are susceptible to peeling, chipping, splitting, and discoloration. Base coats can help strengthen, thicken, and fill the ridges in nails to provide an optimal surface for nail polish. Nail base coats also improve the overall health of nails and protect them from damage. Refer to the buyer’s guide to help you determine which base coat suits your personal nail needs.
Best Ridge Filling Base Coat:
Ridges in your nails are not usually serious, but they can look unsightly. Lack of moisture, certain medical conditions, aging, and acrylic nail sets can cause ridges in nails. Applying a ridge filling base coat to your nails before polish application can help minimize these pronounced ridges by providing a smooth, even finish. You can also wear these base coats alone for a chic, modern look. The following base coats were chosen because they fill the gaps in nail surfaces, prepare nails for polish, and are considered the most effective by consumers.
Essie Ridge Filling Base Coat is a high-performance base coat that delivers noticeable smoothing results on nail surfaces. This cost-efficient formula also minimizes ridges and leave nails looking more youthful. You'll never have to worry about yellowing, either, and this base coat helps keep polish in place. Read Full Review
Barielle Hydrating Ridge Filler with Silk Fiber is a hydrating base coat that replenishes lost moisture to nails. It also uses silk fibers to fills ridges and cover imperfections. Nails become smoother and more flexible, less likely to break and chip. Read Full Review
China Glaze Ridge Filler gives nails a smooth, natural appearance that looks sleek and healthy. It fills ridges and conceals any imperfections so that your manicure always looks great. This base coat also guards against peeling and chipping, allowing nail color to stay on longer. Read Full Review
Deborah Lippmann Ridge Filler Base Coat is a smoothing formula that fills and conceals ridges in nails, providing an even foundation for lacquer. It also does an excellent job of keeping polish in place, and the matte finish looks great by itself. Read Full Review
Best Strengthening Base Coat:
If you work with your hands a lot, your nails may become weaker and thinner overtime. Thin, delicate nails are often susceptible to breaking, splitting and chipping, which can prevent nail polish from adhering to nails. A strengthening base coat can help fortify your fragile nails, making them harder and better prepared for nail polish. Even without nail polish, a strengthening base coat can improve the appearance and health of your nails. The following base coats were chosen because they help strengthen delicate nails, make nails more resistant to damage, and prepare nail surfaces for polish application.
Poshe Nail Strengthening Base Coat is non-yellowing formula that dries quickly and works wonderfully on thin, delicate nails. It's formulated with protein and calcium to strengthen and harden nails to prevent chipping, peeling, and splitting. This base coat does not contain formaldehyde, so it will not dehydrate your nails. Read Full Review
Sephora 3-in-1 Perfecting Base Coat is an affordable, yet high-performance, base coat that makes nails smoother, stronger, and protected against damage. Its soft brush allows smooth application, and this formula dries very quickly. Nail polish stays on longer and resists chipping with this base coat. Read Full Review
Dior Base Coat Abricot is a luxurious base coat that makes nails hard, smooth, and nourished using high-quality ingredients. It allows your nail color to last longer and gives your nails a chic, shiny finish. Read Full Review
Sally Hansen Salon Manicure Smooth And Strong Base Coat is a gel-like formula that contains fortifying ingredients that make nails smoother, denser, and harder. Nails become less susceptible to chipping and splitting while having the ability to keep polish on longer. This base coat dries quickly, as well, and is affordable for any budget. Read Full Review
Deborah Lippmann Hard Rock is a two-in-one base and top coat formula that contain protein-rich ingredients that strengthen and harden weak nails. It also hydrates nails and prevents those ugly ridges that can develop. This formula helps keep polish on your nails, as well, and protects against chipping. Read Full Review
Best Thickening Base Coat:
Nails can become thinner overtime and prone to splitting, chipping, and peeling. Thickening base coats are formulated to strengthen and nourish nails with fortifying ingredients, which build up nail layers and protect against damage. A great base coat should also prepare an adequate foundation for polish application and help polishes adhere better. The following base coats were chosen because they make nails denser, more resistant to damage, and better prepared for lasting nail color. Consumers have also given these thickening base coats the highest ratings.
Barielle Fortifying Nail Builder usescalcium fluoride and vitamins to repair nails' layers and strengthen weak, thin nails. This formaldehyde-free formula also stays on wonderfully and helps prevent peeling, breaking, and other damage that can weaken nails. Read Full Review
Poshe Nail Strengthening Basecoat is a formaldehyde-free formula that treats weak, thin nails with calcium, proteins, and Pro Vitamin B5. It also protects nails against sun damage using UV inhibitors. This strengthening formula dries quickly and does not have a strong odor. Read Full Review
Nail Tek Foundation II is an effective formula that conceals nail imperfections, strengthens damaged nails, and protects against future damage. It contains a unique blend of natural fillers, strengtheners, micro-fibers, and conditioners that fill the gaps in nail surfaces, leaving them smoother and healthier. Read Full Review
ProTough Thickening Base Coat is a temporarily nail thickening base coat that improves the health of your nails while protecting against splitting, breaking, and chipping. It's stronger than Fluoride and provides a smooth foundation for polish to adhere. Read Full Review
Nailtiques Nail Protein Formula 1 is a salon-tested product that bonds nail layers together using fortifying ingredients like hydrolyzed keratin, protein, calcium, and gelatin. It provides a sturdy, dense base for nail polishes and keeps them looking great. Read Full Review
Nail Base Coat Buying Guide
A quality base coat forms the foundation of a lasting manicure. Base coats fortify and improve the health of your nails by preventing them from breaking and peeling. Some base coats are formulated to thicken weak, thin nails, while others fill the ridges in nails to provide a smooth foundation for nail polish. A base coat may also help promote nail growth and prevent nail polish from staining nails. Naturally, it’s best to first assess the needs of your nails and then choose an appropriate base coat.
Since base coats are usually hidden under nail polish, their performance is the most important factor to consider. Base coats perform many functions including strengthening nails, filling ridges in nails, and stimulating nail growth. The best base coats will perform their specified functions, protect nails from damage, and provide a suitable foundation for nail polish.
Base coats offer a variety of features which will benefit your nails in different ways. Certain ridge-filling base coats are infused with silk fibers to create an even base, while other options are fortified with calcium and protein to prevent chipping and peeling. Other features may include UV inhibitors which protect nails against sun damage or formaldehyde-free formulas.
In the case you end up wearing a base coat on your nails by itself, its standalone appearance is another element to consider. Most base coats don’t provide much emphasis on appearance, but most will appear translucent on nails. The finish depends on the type and brand of nail base coat with some imparting a matte finish while others offer a sleek, shiny appearance.
Types of Nail Base Coat
Ridge-filling Base Coats
Nail surfaces can develop ridges, which are often a result of wearing acrylic nails or nail dehydration. Ridge-filling base coats fill in these gaps, creating a smooth, even surface for nail polish. Using a ridge-filling base coat not only protects nails, but improves the overall appearance of your manicure as well.
Strengthening Base Coats
Weak, delicate nails are susceptible to peeling, breaking, and splitting without the use of a strengthening base coat. This type of base coat fortifies fragile nails, making them more resistant to damage. As a result, nails grow healthier and manicures will last longer.
Thickening Base Coats
Thin nails bend and split easily, shortening the duration of a manicure. Thickening base coats typically use fortifying ingredients such as calcium fluoride, calcium, and protein to build up nails and improve their health. These base coats also provide a smooth foundation for nail polish application.