Normally, I don’t like painting my nails. It’s not that it’s not aesthetically pleasing, just that I like my nails to be a certain length and a certain shape before I paint them. I hate the way my nails look with polish if they’re not long enough, since I don’t have naturally slim, oval-shaped nails without growing them out. It takes time and effort to grow out my nails and shape them accordingly, so I just end up trimming them regularly and skipping the polish. Besides, long nails get in the way and slow down my typing and interfere with taking notes. And they look icky without polish or proper shaping.
Every so often, I would go on a nail polish rampage and paint my nails constantly for a couple of weeks. I’m constantly re-applying polish because I hate the old nail polish look. You know what I’m talking about, where all that’s left of your polish is an unsightly irregular patch in the center of each nail. Drives me crazy – I have to either mend the chipped polish or to take it off completely. Or sometimes I just want to wear another colour. This happens consistently until my nails start to protest by breaking off from the side, or splitting into thinner layers. When that happens, I would remove my polish, trim my nails back down, wait for the split parts to grow out, and forget about polishes again for another few weeks. Or months, usually. And my nails are consistently weak until almost the entire nail has been regrown.
I leave my nails alone, mostly. I don’t use growth enhancers or any special moisturizers or treatments. I usually enjoy seeing the luminescence of the natural reflection off healthy nails. But it is lovely to glam up once in a while with beautiful polish.
The last time I went through a slew of nail polish, I noticed that my nails were slightly yellow. It turns out my nails were being stained by my nail polish. I have never used a base coat before. So I’ve been looking into getting a quality base coat for when I get the urge to paint my nails relentlessly. I’m considering trying Essie’s base coats, but I’m clueless as to which I should be using, as I don’t really know how to classify my own nails. Why are there so many options? And this is only one brand we’re talking about, here!
Essie’s base coats (top to bottom by category):
- for healthy, normal nails: all in one base multi-treatment base coat
- for healthy, normal nails: grow faster protecting treatment base coat
- for soft, weak nails: rock solid strength treatment base coat
- for soft, weak nails: grow stronger fortifying treatment base coat
- for dry, brittle nails: feed me hydrating treatment base coat
It would be ideal to get a base coat that would prevent the breakage and splitting of my nails, as well as the staining. I currently own the Sally Hansen New Lengths Ceramics Base & Top Coat, which I use only as a top coat. I’m not sure if it’s even manufactures anymore, as all I could find online were pictures of the Sally Hansen Double Duty Strengthening Base & Top Coat, which is clear with a blue cap. Here is the only picture I can find of the New Lengths top coat, as I don’t have mine on me right now:
It is a clear polish, but not colourless – it has a peachy-pink colour to it, which is not clearly visible in this picture. The reason I’ve never used it as a base coat is that firstly, I didn’t think a base coat was as important as a top coat. The benefits of using a base coat is less immediately obvious than are the benefits of using a top coat. Additionally, I figured that base coats and top coats should be different, because they are supposed to do different things – it didn’t make sense to me that the same product could perform both functions just as well. And lastly, because I hardly wore polishes that were deep enough to leave visible colour remnant on my nails (except the occasional red), I didn’t think that staining would be a problem.
What makes a base coat a good base coat? Does a base coat have to be from a reputable high-end brand to be effective and beneficial? Should a base coat be just a base coat, or do “base & top coat” polishes work just as well?
(Image source: http://www.essie.com; msrubyscarlet.blogspot.com)