Top 10 Base Coats

Dealing With Chipped Manicures? These 10 Reviewer-Favorite Base Coats Can Help

Dealing With Chipped Manicures? These 10 Reviewer-Favorite Base Coats Can Help

The list of all-too-common beauty pet peeves—at least according to us—includes a manicure without a base coat. Going without this crucial product seems harmless at first, especially when you’re going the DIY route and low on time. However, when the time comes to remove colored polish and your nail beds remain discolored after many rounds of acetone, you wish you made time to protect them. That’s the simplistic beauty of base coat: it’s literally a barrier between your nail beds and nail polish that doesn’t just prevent color stains. The best base coats also address other small but important concerns like brittleness, dryness, and chipping. In short, the base coat is a small product that packs a heavy punch.

Choosing a base coat for your individual needs shouldn’t be rocket science. Generally speaking, you’ll want a formula that's quick-drying and infused with nail-loving ingredients. The finish is also a matter of personal preference; some prefer a high-gloss option to elevate the shine of a color coat while others prefer a toned-down matte finish. There are also brands who prioritize convenience and affordability with polish that can be used as a base and top coat. Lucky for you, we’ve already gathered the most talked-about base coats so you can choose from the best options.

How We Found The Best Base Coats

As always, we put together this list with the help of our tried-and-true, ultra-smart algorithm. The proprietary tool chooses products by analyzing a diverse range of data, including beauty editor product reviews, expert recommendations, and social media word-of-mouth. Keep scrolling for the must-know details on each pick.

Next up, check out the 10 Best Top Coats. Opening image: @deborahlippmann

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March 10, 2022

Words:Rank & Style

Product Expert:Georgia Jones

Top 10 Lists serve as unbiased shopping guides to the most trusted product recommendations on the internet. Products are scored and ranked using an algorithm backed by data consumers find most valuable when making a purchase. We are reader-supported and may earn a commission when you shop through our links.

The Rankings

Dermelect Cosmeceuticals Launchpad Nail Strengthenerdermstore.com

Dermelect Cosmeceuticals Launchpad Nail Strengthener

Our Score4.2

WHY IT’S A STANDOUT: Dermelect Cosmeceuticals’ science-first approach extends to its strengthening base coat. The formula is protein-rich, infused with peptides and keratin proteins to make the nail bed harder and to promote faster growth.

OTHER THINGS TO KNOW: This formula is also infused with antioxidants, which protect against free radicals and bacteria.

Cruelty free

Cruelty Free

Dior Crème Abricot Base Coat

Our Score4.25

WHY IT’S A STANDOUT: A chipped nail is the quickest way to ruin a manicure. Dior’s luxe base coat addresses that concern with a fragrant formula that hardens the nail beds without drying them out, thanks to isopropyl alcohol and apricot kernel oil.

OTHER THINGS TO KNOW: Polymers also smooth out uneven surfaces by filling in chips along the nail bed surface. 

Nails Inc. Nailkale Superfood Base Coat

Our Score4.3

WHY IT’S A STANDOUT: If you’re looking for an all-in-one base coat, look no further. Nails Inc.’s Nailkale is a super-powered green salad for your nails, enriched with botanical extracts that hydrate, strengthen, grow, and more.

OTHER THINGS TO KNOW: Keratin also strengthens the nail to protect against splitting and chipping. 

Cruelty free

Cruelty Free

Butter London Horse Power Nail Rescue Basecoat

Our Score4.35

WHY IT’S A STANDOUT: Butter London’s base coat is an award-winning top-seller that lives up to its name. With continued use, it’s clinically proven to repair damage around the nail, in addition to providing a protective barrier on the nail bed.

USER REVIEW: “I cannot sing this product's praises enough! A complete turnaround for the health and the condition of my nails since I started using it a few months ago. It is very durable and long lasting and it dries in lightning fast speed.”

Cruelty free

Cruelty Free

Smith & Cult Basis Of Everything

Our Score4.35

WHY IT’S A STANDOUT: Don’t be fooled by the pink shade of this polish. “Basis of Everything” is an ultra-hard and long-lasting base coat best for extending the life of a mani-pedi.

OTHER THINGS TO KNOW: The formula is vegan and free of eight harmful ingredients.

Cruelty free

Cruelty Free

Deborah Lippmann Hard Rock Nail Strengthening Top And Base Coat

Our Score4.4

WHY IT’S A STANDOUT: Deborah Lippmann is a pioneering celebrity nail artist. and her expertise is reflected in this namesake product line. The two-in-one base and top coat is known for its strengthening benefits and comes especially recommended for those with weak or artificial nails.

OTHER THINGS TO KNOW: This standout polish is also enriched with biotin to encourage growth. 

Cruelty free

Cruelty Free

Olive & June Nail Primer

Our Score4.5

WHY IT’S A STANDOUT: Olive & June calls this nail primer a “bonus step,” but we’d say it’s a non-negotiable. The vegan and cruelty-free base coat extends the life of manicures by up to three days and increases nail durability.

OTHER THINGS TO KNOW: Olive & June is known for its affordable nail kits, so we recommend any of the “shop systems” for a complete experience. 

Cruelty free

Cruelty Free

Sally Hansen Double Duty Base & Top Coat

Our Score4.55

WHY IT’S A STANDOUT: Sally Hansen’s affordable but effective nail care products continue to top best-of lists. This top and base coat combo is a patented formula—nylon and vitamin B5 included—that pulls double duty by smoothing and strengthening the nail surface.

USER REVIEW: “I used this for the first time three weeks ago, and WOW. I still have a shiny and completely chip-free pedicure that looks brand new. I'm fairly new to painting my nails and not great at it, but this made it easy and professional looking.”

Cruelty free

Cruelty Free

Essie First Base Base Coat

Our Score4.75

WHY IT’S A STANDOUT: Essie’s base coat is like scotch tape for your nail beds, acting as an adhesive that holds color longer than your average manicure.

OTHER THINGS TO KNOW: Multiple reviewers rave about how quickly it dries, too.

OPI Nail Lacquer Natural Nail Base Coat

Our Score4.75

WHY IT’S A STANDOUT: OPI is the mother of all nail polish brand, known for its iconic nail color shades and equally impressive nail treatments. The Natural Nail Base Coat acts as both protector and strengthener, providing a glossy barrier between the nail beds and color polish as well as hardening the nail for less chipping.

USER REVIEW: "I've used this base for years now, and it's my absolute favorite. It dries so quickly and makes polish last so long without any staining and minimal chipping."

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