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DIY manicures sure do have their perks. You get to skip the crowded salon, choose your own formula, and, most importantly, do it all from your own home. However, if you opt to do your very own manicure, a lot can go wrong. Messy dominant hands, poorly shaped nails, polish smudged from bedsheets—you get the picture. While perfect right hands and expertly shaped tips can only be improved with practice and time, a high-quality top coat can help mask those little mistakes in the meantime and increase your mani's longevity and shine in the process. And on top of sealing in color and vibrancy, a great top coat will ensure your polish is less prone to chipping, cracking, and fading, and many of them can even give you an ultra-fast dry time.
Our point? You don't need a salon to achieve a manicure that you're proud of—just a good top coat. To ensure that you don't miss out on the cheaper, low-stress, relaxing ritual that is a DIY mani, we've rounded up a list of the absolute best top coats on the internet. From matte and gel finishes to formulas that strengthen while they protect, there's a top coat on the list for every mani preference and budget.
Our Method For Finding The Best Top Coats
Whether you're a seasoned pro or new to nails, the 10 top coats that follow will ensure your manicures and pedicures last through it all. We found these formulas with the help of our algorithm, which factors in data from user reviews, best-seller lists, editor recommendations, and more to rank the best products on the web. Ahead, shop the data-backed picks that made the cut.
Next up, check out the 10 Best Nude Nail Polishes. Opening image: @OPIproducts
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.
Deborah Lippmann Hard Rock Nail Strengthening Top And Base Coat
WHO IT'S FOR: Formulated for those struggling with peeling, brittle, or weak nails, this protein-rich formula works to strengthen and protect the nails and encourage healthy growth.
THINGS TO KNOW: You can use this top coat as a daily treatment, base, or top coat. It's also ultra-gentle, so you can apply it every day.
ella+mila In A Rush Quick Dry Top Coat
WHAT IT DOES: Made without harsh ingredients like acetone, camphor, and formaldehyde, this quick-drying top coat delivers a high-gloss shine in as little as three minutes.
THINGS TO KNOW: Painting your non-dominant hand can be a struggle, but fret not—this top coat can conceal any imperfections that might occur during the application of your polish.
Seche Vive Instant Gel Effect Top Coats
BEST GEL EFFECT
WHAT IT DOES: If you can't get a gel manicure at the salon, this top coat is your next best option. It boasts a durable gel-like finish, long-lasting shine, and a fast-drying formula—no UV lamp required.
USER REVIEW: "I use this top coat on a weekly basis. It fully dries within five minutes and gives a nice, plush, gel-like coat. Take care to apply it to the edge of your nail, and it will make your color last through the workweek."
Olive & June Nail Polish Topcoat
BEST SHINY FINISH
WHY YOU NEED IT: Long-lasting, salon-quality manicures at home are possible with the right top coat, and Olive & June is here to prove it. Formulated to apply smooth and streak-free in three strokes or less, this high-gloss top coat will ensure your manicure (or pedicure) lasts for days.
BEAUTY HACK: For flawless application, apply it with Olive & June's patented Poppy painting tool.
OPI Nail Polish Fast Drying Top Coat
WHO IT'S FOR: When you're pushed for time but desperately need to do your nails, turn to this top coat. It seals, shines, and protects with just one layer—all while speeding up the dry time of your polish.
THINGS TO KNOW: Swipe this top coat over the tips of the nails to seal in your color. Since it's made with OPI's proven Extended Wear Technology, the formula ensures a tough, long-lasting, non-yellowing mani.
OPI Nail Lacquer Top Coat
BEST SMUDGE SMOOTHING
WHY YOU NEED IT: Formulated to prevent smudges and dry into a smooth, high-gloss shine, this fail-safe formula protects your manicure and seals in color for up to seven days.
USER REVIEW: "This has been my go-to top coat for years. It keeps polish from chipping for a pretty long time. I also like OPI because it has fewer harmful chemicals than other brands."
OPI Matte Top Coat
BEST MATTE FINISH
WHY YOU NEED IT: Matte nails never go out of style. Whether you pair this top coat with an edgy, dark shade, an understated nude, or your boldest red, it'll give your polish a cool and modern look.
THINGS TO KNOW: Seven days of perfectly polished nails without a scratch or chip in sight? We'll be buying this one in bulk.
Sally Hansen Insta-Dri Anti-Chip Top Coat
BEST FADE RESISTANT
WHO IT'S FOR: If you're meticulous about doing your nails, we highly recommend this top coat polish from Sally Hansen. Featuring a precision application brush, you'll be able to fully coat your nails with just the right amount of product.
THINGS TO KNOW: If you spend a lot of time in the sun, this top coat is a must. It's made with double UV filters that work to shield your manicure from the fading, discoloring effects of the sun.
Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Nail Coat
WHY YOU NEED IT: This professional favorite leaves the nails with an ultra-shiny finish fast, speeds up dry time, and prevents yellowing, chipping, and peeling for days. Once you try it, you'll wonder how you ever lived without it.
USER REVIEW: "This stuff is AMAZING! It dries and sets nail polish in just minutes. It has a nice gloss to it. No more having to be careful for hours after painting my nails."
Essie Gel Couture Top Coat
WHAT IT DOES: With coverage that lasts up to 14 days, this top coat boasts the longest wear time on this list. Thanks to Essie's unique formula, it delivers a gel-like finish that plumps the nails, protects color, magnifies shine, and prevents chipping.
USER REVIEW: “I love this top coat because it makes your polish last! I like to change my manicure on a weekly basis, and with this top coat, my manicure will last seven days without chipping and my pedicures even longer. It's the best! I highly recommend this product."