There are few things more heartbreaking than spending your hard-earned money on a manicure, only to have it chip after a single day of wear — which is why we rely so heavily on finding the best top coat nail polish possible.
In the endless search for a way to make our manicures worthwhile, we’ve hunted down every top coat out there to see which would last the longest, prevent chips, and keep our tips shiny.
Whether you go for an anti-chip, a quick dry, a gel, or all three in one polish, the top coat you use should be high quality — even if the polish color you use isn’t. Remember to file your nails, use a cuticle cream and a base coat, and reapply your top coat every three days or so for the longest lasting manicure possible. Take a look at our picks for the best top ones on the market.
Originally published December 2016. Updated October 2018.
Sally Hansen Insta-Dri Anti-Chip Top Coat
For a top coat that dries almost instantly and won't break the bank, this one is by far your best bet.
$5.21 at Amazon
OPI Nail Lacquer Top Coat
This one offers high gloss shine with minimal dry time—plus, it keeps your manicure from chipping for days.
$10.50 at Amazon
Deborah Lippmann Addicted to Speed Top Coat
Addicted, indeed: this top coat dries completely in the time it takes to make a snarky joke about the name.
$20 at Deborah Lippmann
CND Shellac UV Top Coat
For a tough-as-nails shellac finish without the salon treatment, make this your go-to.
$24.95 at Amazon
Essie Matte About You Matte Finisher
Matte nails are way more than just an enduring trend—they're also an easy way to look effortlessly cool. And this top coat makes scoring the flat texture even easier.
$8.89 at Target
butter LONDON Hardwear P.D. Quick Topcoat
We're obsessed with all things butter LONDON, and the brand's top coat is no exception. For a quick-drying hard finish that won't give up easily, we love this lacquer.
$18 at Amazon
Revlon Extra Life No Chip Top Coat
Drugstore beauty at its finest: behold, a top coat worth every bit of bang for your buck.
$9.88 at Amazon
Orly Sec'n Dry Top Coat
This underrated pick is a perennial favorite among editors—it does exactly as promised, and lasts for days while drying in seconds.
$7.99 at Sally Beauty
Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat
An option that's more than just a cult favorite—it's a must have among in-the-know beauty lovers.
$6.55 at Amazon
Julep Oxygen Performance Top Coat
Fast-drying, long-wearing, and packed with nail-nourishing ingredients? This one has it all.
$14 at Amazon
China Glaze Fast Forward Top Coat Nail Polish
DBP-, toluene- and formaldehyde-free for coverage that won't negatively impact your nail's health.
$8.98 at Amazon
Nails Inc. 45 Second Top Coat With Kensington Caviar
Expect a super glossy, pro-level finish that'll trick everyone into believing a pro touched your digits.
$15 at Nails Inc.
UO Iridescent Top Coat Nail Polish
If you want to add a shimmery effect to your manicure, this is a must-try.
$6 or $3/$10 at Urban Outfitters