Which Top Coat Should You Use?

Some may argue that the most noticeable part of a manicure is how it looks when it is finished.  Ideally, you’d like your work to shine, draw attention and to confidently know that your work is going to last long enough to be enjoyed. Here at DeEnterprises, we manufacture 4 different Top Coats (and one bonus product for Dip Systems) to put the final touches on your work. While these are all high-quality formulations, it is important to know which product to use on which enhancements. These varying options for top coats have some intricate differences affecting their compatibility with certain enhancements and services, but they are all formulated to produce a durable, long-lasting and shiny finish. Choosing the wrong product as your top coat can lead to many various unexpected results.
The differences between our top coats are primarily in curing catalysts and curing time. If your product is not fully cured or cured incorrectly it can adversely affect your final result. Top Coats that need lights to initiate the curing process are activated by photoinitiators, a compound that undergoes a reaction upon absorption of light. These are capable of initiating or catalyzing chemical reactions that result in significant changes in the solubility and physical properties. It is important to note that products formulated with a UV specific photoinitiator are not necessarily going to cure under an LED light and vice-versa.
All products will eventually wear down over time. Knowing how long a product should last in normal conditions allows you to identify what may be regular wear and tear, if the customer has caused any chipping on their own, or if you may have a possible contamination issue that needs to be addressed. No matter which top coat you prefer to use, all of them should be closed tightly when not in use.  Frequent exposure to air (and in some cases light) can leave product contaminated and/or not provide expected results. Note: Technicians have attempted to add other products (like polish thinner) to these top coats to alter their viscosity.  This does not work and only leads to a damaged and contaminated product. If you are noticing that your top coats are not curing, are not smooth when cured or they appear cloudy, the first thing to suspect and address is contamination.


Quick Dry Top Coat

– Regular Nail Polish

Quick Dry Top Coat is our number 1 top selling Top Coat. This fast-drying top coat is formulated in a higher viscosity to ensure a smooth and durable finish. Apply a thin coat to your finished enhancements (can be applied to wet polish as well) and it will be dry in less than 3 minutes.  This Top Coat is expected to last 2 weeks and can be easily removed with a simple wipe of acetone. When storing any outside of the gallon tin, we recommend using an amber glass bottle (as pictured).



UV Top Coat

– Regular Nail Polish

This ultra-shiny top coat is formulated to cure under UV lights without yellowing.  It is capable of curing completely without using a light, but allowing the photoinitiators to actively cure the product leads to much faster curing times. (LED light will not act upon the photoinitiator used in formulation.) UV Top Coat is designed to seal and protect the nail while retaining flexibility to reduce cracking or chips. It is expected to last 2 weeks and can be easily removed with acetone. When storing outside of the gallon tin we recommend using an amber glass bottle away from any lights that may activate the curing process.



Dual Sealer

– Regular Nail Polish
– Traditional Liquid & Powder Acrylics
– Pink and White Acrylics
– Dip Acrylics
– Hard Gel manicures
– Gel Polish manicures

This is the most universal choice available when determining which of the various types of top coat you could or should use.  Dual Sealer contains photoinitiators for both UV and LED lights.  Dual Sealer will cure under a UV light in 1-2 minutes and cures under an LED light in 30 seconds or less. This is a full cure gel top coat that does not require being wiped with alcohol after curing.  Our Dual Sealer is not affected by acetone and must be filed off.  Careful storage is extremely important.  Since the level of photoinitiator utilized in formulation is so high (to effectively cut curing speeds) they must be stored in black plastic, black glass or a container that will not allow light to penetrate through to the product.  It has happened before when a salon owner tried to store these products in transparent glass nail polish bottles and the product cured while in storage simply because light was able to contact the product.


Almighty Gel Polish Top Coat 

– Gel Polish

Our entire AnGelic® Gel Polish collection is extremely universal, and the Almighty Top Coat is no exception.   Almighty is a light cured product that applies easily, cures under UV light in 1-2 minutes or an LED light in 30 seconds or less and lasts 2-3 weeks. This simple to use product is also easy to remove; file the top layer with a medium grit file to break the seal and remove the shine, then soak in 100% acetone for 5 minutes.   Much like the sealers, this product is sensitive to light and must be stored with care in a container that will block light from reaching the product. Recently, some technicians have used this for a top coat after a dip acrylic service because other brands refer to their dip system as “Gel Base” and “Gel Top.” We understand the source of this confusion and would like to clarify that neither of those products are actually “Gel” products; they are a cyanoacrylate based product, comparable to our Dip Resin. The Almighty Gel Polish Top Coat was not formulated for and has not been tested for this use, and is not something we recommend.


And as a nice bonus option for Dip Acrylics:

Dip Resin

– Dip Acrylics

When performing a Dip system acrylic enhancement, you would have already used this same product as the base of your Dip acrylic enhancements, but you can come right back to it at the end of the service to use as your choice of a top coat.  Brush a thin layer of our universal Dip Resin atop your completed enhancements and allow it to dry in the air for approximately 4-5 minutes.  Do not use Activator on this top coat layer; using activator after applying powder will not affect the top coat layer, but applying activator to the top coat layer directly may result in a cloudy or dull finish instead of the regularly anticipated shiny finish. While re-using dip resin is a suitable option for completing a Dip service, it is not recommended as a top coat for other types of enhancements.  In the absence of outside circumstances, this product will not naturally deteriorate or break down and it is expected to last beyond when the customer returns for their regular fills.   Dip Resin must be filed off and is unaffected by acetone.  Storing Dip Resin is very similar to storing super glue; you always want to be sure your container is securely closed when not in use and it must be kept in a safe container like an HDPE or glass bottle.