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Though we’re always game for a paint job that involves the brightest and boldest colors sitting atop our dresser or at the salon, the 2019 forecast calls for the exact opposite. Yes, vibrant shades aren’t going anywhere, but there’s also negative space to consider. We’re talking nail beds that aren’t covered in one color, but accented with lines, dots or textured accessories instead. And if there’s one non-negotiable tool for pulling off this trend, it’s without a doubt the best base coat nail brands have to offer.
We know what you’re thinking–who needs to really think about which base coat to get when they’re all practically the same? True, all of them are clear, but when you’re also combatting setbacks like chipping, pesky out-of-place ridges and stains from previous manis, we’d say they’re worth considering a bit more. Plus, the technology behind this underrated, but important part of the polish process is in the midst of a serious upgrade.
These days, there’s everything from spray-on bases to superfood-infused ones to choose from, depending on your specific needs. And as always, the ones with that deliver super glossy finishes are always in vogue. So whether you’re keeping it clean and simple with a naked manicure or prepping your nail beds for a negative space design, here are the best, top-rated base coats to choose from.
Sally Hansen No More Stains Spray-On Base Coat
Earlier this year, the staple nail care brand made dreams come true with this time-saving formula, a first of its kind. Formulated with actives that deliver nourishment to dry nail beds, prepping your digits for cool designs has never been easier…or more fun, TBH.
$8.99 at Ulta
Tenoverten The Foundation Nail Strengthening Base Coat
We love everything about this vegan nail brand, but especially the 8-free base coat, made with horsetail leaf extract, an ingredient that’ll up the strength of your nail beds.
$18 at Tenoverten
Nails Inc. NailKale Superfood Base Coat
No, you can’t eat it, but this base coat is all about feeding your nails botanical extracts and plenty of keratin so they can feel as good as they look with a fresh coat of paint.
$15 at Nails Inc.
Deborah Lippmann Hard Rock Nail Strengthening Top and Base Coat
Protein-rich to strengthen fragile nails, this starter and finisher also delivers a glossy finish so you can feel just as fab without color on your digits.
$20 at Deborah Lippmann
OPI Infinite Shine ProStay Primer & Gloss Duo
If you’re working on your at-home gel mani, this two-part system ensures that you’ll have high gloss shine that lasts, whether you’re opting for color in between or not.
$19.95 at Ulta
Londontown Kur Gel Genius Base Coat
No soaking or UV light needed to get that high shine finish on your naked or color mani, minus the chipping of course.
$20 at Ulta
essie Smooth-E Base Coat
This new formula is infused with ceramides, aka the stuff that forms your skin’s barrier, to fill uneven surfaces, strengthen the nail and deliver a sleek-looking finish.
$10 at Ulta
Zoya Naked Manicure Naked Base
Vitamins, proteins and amino acids that mimic the natural structure of the nail. What more could you want in a base coat?
$12 at Zoya
Morgan Taylor No-Light Extended Wear Base Coat
The best part about this base coat meant for gel polish is that you don’t have to soak your hands to remove it.
$11.90 at Ulta
butter LONDON Horse Power Nail Rescue Basecoat
In addition to horsetail extract for strengthening, this powerhouse base coat also includes biotin for pumping up growth and calcium for addressing chips and ridges.
$18 at butter LONDON