The Nail Wardrobe: Top Coats and Treatments

I alluded to this in my last post, but I absolutely adore nail polish. As a small child, it was the first makeup item I zoned in on, and while it has taken me years to pluck up the courage to add various products to my routine (I am still working on lipstick and blush), nail polish has been a constant since about age 5. I own more nail polish than any other type of product, and it’s my favourite and in my opinion, easiest product to buy.

Being such a lover and constant wearer of nail polish, it is a very depressing fact of my life that I have extremely weak, thin, flimsy and flaky nails. I’ve tried to figure out why for ages–and my mother has very thick, strong nails that have always been long. I’ve resigned myself to the fact that I’ll never have long nails, but at least I can prevent the constant flaking and peeling. I’ve tried many products, base coats, moisture treatments, over the years, but these are the ones that I’ve found work the best:

Sally Hansen VitaSurge Strength Gel
This is my second bottle of the stuff and it’s the first step for me in trying to infuse as much moisture and strengthening-power into my nails as possible. What’s great is it can be massaged into bare nails or nails with polish on them. There are beads inside that burst as they are worked into the nails. I’ve found that once this is out of my life, my nails suffer as a result.

OPI Original Nail Envy Nail Strengthener
What I used as my base coat for the past 6 months or so – after hearing rave reviews about this stuff I had to get my hands on a bottle. While I have tried OPI base and top coats and hated both, this stuff seriously works. And it dries almost instantly.

OPI Soft & Thin Nail Envy Nail Strengthener
A super recent purchase, as recently I was finding that my original Nail Envy didn’t seem to be working anymore. I decided to try the Nail Envy that was formulated specifically for nails like mine, and found that it works the same. I’m not sure if my nails just plateaued or what, but I think switching up the two works really well, as both work really well as base coats.

Nails Inc. Caviar Top Coat
I’ve lost count of how many bottles I’ve gone through. This is the best top coat ever. Hands down. One caveat to that – one my main priorities in any base coat, top coat and nail polish are that they dry fast. Obviously minimizing chipping is important, but as I change my nail polish colour at least once a week, usually twice, I am much more concerned with quick-drying, and this one does that, faster than I’ve ever experienced. It also makes your nails feel incredible, I can’t explain it, but it does. Another note is that they seem to have repackaged this product – it used to come in a clear bottle and was pink-looking (painted on clear), but now it’s in a black bottle, and on they seem to have a big square bottle of it now that’s more expensive. I haven’t tried that version yet, but it may be next on the list!

I should also quickly mention that I buy the Sally Hansen and Nails Inc. products from Shoppers Drug Mart, whereas the Nail Envy incarnations I get from Trade Secrets.

What products do you use to strengthen your nails and/or improve your manicure?