12 Nail Polish Top Coats That Deliver A Chip-Free, Salon-Level Look Every Time

The Best Nail Polish Top. Coats



Until the pandemic, I had a standing appointment at my nail salon for a manicure and pedicure every two weeks. I would pick between three pink-based neutral colors, settle into an extra-plush pedicure chair, and put all my trust in the hands of those with years of nail expertise. Months of lock-down encouraged me to step out of the self-care routines I so heavily relied on and dedicate time an attention to learning how to create high-performance, salon-quality results without ever stepping out of the house. It wasn't easy, but through trial and error, I determined the nail polish top coats I could depend on to deliver from those that fell flat accompanied by wasted time and energy.

If you've been struggling to accomplish the perfect at home manicure and pedicure, you're in luck— in no particular order, I've compiled all my findings into a list accompanied by glowing customer reviews, pro tips, and my own findings over the past few years. Sure, you could comb through your own beauty cabinet and test out the top coats you've tried in the past, but what's the fun in that? Instead sit back, relax, and read on to see which one's this nail polish loving beauty editor swears by.

1. Butter London Hardwear Shine UV Topcoat

If you give me a chance to gush over any of Butter London's nail polish, I'll take you up on it. One of my favorite's from its line of high-performance products is the Hardwear Shine UV Topcoat that's smudge-free, goes on smoothly, prevents chipping, and leaves my nails with an eye-catching high shine. It also prevents color from fading over time, making every manicure last longer (I've been able to go up to two weeks without any wear or tear).

Promising Review: "I love this topcoat, my nail color lasts an incredibly long time with this as my last step. I reapply about every 8-10 days for good measure."

2. Londontown Kur Flash Dry Top Coat

This ultra-fast drying top coat delivers the Londontown signature high-gloss shine finish for a speedy, smudge-free manicure. It's the first one I reach for when painting my nails at home with any shade from the brand's line of nail polish. For best results, apply a thin, even layer over your polish of choice. At the first sign of wear, re-apply to extend the life of your manicure or pedicure.

Promising Review: "I use this almost exclusively. It spreads nicely and dries quickly. It also leaves a great shine. I follow it up with a drop of Accelerating Drying Oil and it really speeds things up. If I keep the same polish on beyond five days I use another coat just to refresh it."

3. Static Nails Liquid Glass Lacquer

One of my favorite aspects of my job as a beauty editor is that I'm always on-the-go. Whether I'm sliding into the backseat of a cab on my way to an event, or writing a story from the comfort of my home, I expect my nail polish to perform. The Liquid Glass Lacquer keeps my manicure looking fresh with a breakthrough formula that lock in color, prevents chipping, strengthens my nails, and adds a high-gloss finish.

Promising Review: "This is a holy grail for me. It instantly protects my nails and gives a beautiful shine to my color. It makes the color last AGES! It works with all nail polishes but static nail lacquers are unmatched overall."

4. Essie Stay Longer Top Coat

I expect a lot from my at home manicures, and longevity is among one of the biggest things I look out for when selecting which polish I'd like to wear. Essie's Stay Longer Top Coat keeps my nails chip-free and vibrant for days after initial application. I highly recommend pairing this one with any of the brand's base coat polishes for expert-level results.

Promising Review: "Goes on easy, comes off easy, and protects the color underneath for a long time! I use Essie nail polish as well and my nails still look good after a week! They don't chip easy or anything. I did one bottom and one top coat with two color coats between." 

5. OPI Brilliant High-Shine Top Coat

This OPI top coat has been the cornerstone of my nail polish collection since my manicurist attested to keep nails looking brand new for days on end. It seals in color to prevent scratches while creating a beautiful shiny finish in just one coat. Expect up to seven days of chip-free wear that can be easily removed with the brand's Expert Touch Lacquer Remover.

Promising Review: "I use this when my nail polish chips or I don't have time to get to the salon. Sometimes I'll just give my nails a break from the salon and just put this clear top coat on all of my nails to give them a rest. Another great feature is it dries almost instantly! This stuff doesn't chip and keeps the shine. Great product."

6. Manicurist Paris Green Top Coat

Mark my words—Manicurist Paris is one of the biggest brands beauty editors gatekeep. I've been using its Green Top Coat (part of the brand's Green Natural Nail Polish line), since it was first launched and haven't been let down. It works wonders for keeping my nails looking new using a uniquely powerful formula featuring 84% natural plant-based ingredients.

Promising Review: "A shiny top coat that is easy to spread, doesn’t drag the color under it and dries quickly. Recommended!"

7. Dior Vernis Top Coat

I'm a huge believer in investing in little luxuries to add a touch of elegance to my self care routine, including this nail polish top coat by Dior. Made in France, this fast-drying setting lacquer protects nail polish and boosts shine in a single step. Use it with Dior's Base Vernis and Crème Abricot for an extra boost of protection and shine.

Promising Review: "Excellent top coat! Adds shine and helps nail polish dry faster. Absolute 5/5."

8. Essie Platinum Grade Finish Top Coat

Essie's quick drying top coat is a must for helping to protect the longevity of your nail polish while magnifying shine for an ultra-glossy, flawless finish. I love how its swirl-stem and curve-hugging brush works to create even color and precise application with every swipe without having to go under the UV lamp for lasting results. To remove it, simply wipe away with a non-acetone nail polish remover (no soaking or scrubbing needed).

Promising Review: "I bought this product several months ago and it is absolutely wonderful! I use it on top of all brands and kinds of polishes. The top coat creates a smoothing effect completely eliminating all brush strokes. I’ll never use a different top coat!"

The Best Nail Polish Top Coats



9. CND Vinylux Long Wear Shine Top Coat

CND is one of those brands every Who What Wear beauty editor knows always delivers high-quality, cost-effective nail looks. The brand's Vinylux Long Wear Shine Top Coat continues to tradition by creating long-lasting wear and durability with exposure to natural light over time. Part of a 2-polish system for 7+ days of wear, the top coat is designed to be used with Vinylux color.

Promising Review: "This top coat is amazing! I do not use this brand of nail polish and it worked just fine with the variety that I have on hand. The shine lasts forever which is what I was looking for. I also think it helped with keeping the manicure longer."

10. Ella+Mila Nail Care Top Coat

Giving your nails the care they deserve shouldn't require making a manicure or pedicure appointment every time. Get salon-level results in minutes with the help of In a Rush Quick Dry Top Coat. It can dry up to four coats of enamel in just three minutes, delivering a high, glossy shine that hides any imperfections in the application of your pigmented shade. What's more, its formula contains a UV inhibitor which prevents yellowing.

Promising Review: "I just received and used for the first time and I am impressed. I still allow more time than 3 minutes to dry, but my nails are not smudged, etc. This Fast drying top coat definitely is a game changer and certainly helps and works! I will continue to buy and use! Highly recommend."

11. Orly Won't Chip Top Coat

Here's another top coat that's been in my nail polish collection for as long as I can remember. The Won't Chip Top Coat instantly glides onto the nails for long lasting wear, leaving a sparkling finish. Its flexible brush allows for smooth application while its powerful formula provides vibrant color intensity and a perfect, salon-quality finish.

Promising Review: "This top coat in nice and shiny. I used Orly base coat and the Orly Won't Chip as a top coat and I did not get any chipping, just minimal wear on my nail tips. My manicures now last 5-7 days."

12. Olive & June Nail Polish

There will never be a day when I don't recommend Olive & June's top coat. A single layer of the Nail Polish Top Coat applies smoothly with a super-shiny finish to keep your manicure and pedicure chip-free for 7+ days. It's also completely streak-free, making this one easy to use and a must for nail new comers and experts alike.

Promising Review: "My nails were so weak and brittle and they would split. I started using this polish and top coat and my nails are getting stronger and growing out. I will definitely buy more."