15 Best Base Coat Nail Polishes For Long-Lasting, Gorgeous Nails

Written by Chaitra Krishnan
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Pretty, healthy-looking nails are something every girl aspires for, and for a good reason. Whether kept clean and clear or adorned with gorgeous nail art, nails are an expression of one’s personality and a canvas to showcase your talent and preferences. The unfortunate consequence of weekly manicures is yellowed and discolored nails due to an overuse of nail varnish. Here is where the humble and often forgotten base coat steps come to play.

Not only do they strengthen your nails and prevent nails from staining, but they also smoothen out the ridges on the surface of nail beds. It helps in the smooth and effortless application of nail polish for a beautiful and long-lasting manicure. If you’re on the search for the perfect base coat nail polish to bring home, you can breathe a heavy sigh of relief. Check our list of the 15 best base coat nail polishes in 2021 for nails that never fail to amaze.

TOP 10 PRODUCTS
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Mineral Fusion Base Coat
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Aimeili Base Coat
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Modelones Leafu Top And Base Coat Set
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OPI Natural Nail Base Coat
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UNT Ready For Takeoff Peelable Base Coat
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Seche Clear Crystal Clear Base Coat
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Essie First Base Base Coat
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Revlon Quick Dry Base Coat
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Vishine Soak-Off Gelpolish Base Coat
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Sally Hansen Ultimate Shield Base & Top Coat
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What Does A Base Coat Do?

A base coat is a step in your manicure routine that you don’t want to miss. It not only provides a shield between your delicate nail and often harsh nail paints, but it also works to nourish and strengthen your nails. The best base coat provides the ideal smooth foundation for nail paint to be applied evenly and flawlessly. A thin coat of a nail base coat followed by 2 coats of your favorite nail paint are all you need to flaunt your gorgeous nails for weeks to come. Whether used alone or under nail paint, base coats will ensure your hands are so pretty, you won’t be able to stop staring at them!

15 Best Base Coat Nail Polishes You Must Check Out In 2021

1) Mineral Fusion Base Coat

This nail polish base performs beautifully in strengthening nails, making them healthy and flawless. The custom, extra-thick brush ensures smooth and even application, making it ideal to be applied before a coat of nail polish. This product is hypoallergenic and unscented, so you can use it without worry, even if you’re sensitive to strong scents. Long-lasting and chip-resistant, this product provides a clear and glossy finish, making it a favorite for those who always like to keep their nails in top shape.

PROS

  • Long-lasting and chip-resistant
  • No artificial fragrances
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Carbon-free and gluten-free
  • Free of parabens, formaldehyde, and camphor
  • Vegan and cruelty-free

CONS

  • Some might find the texture of this product a bit thick.

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2) Aimeili Base Coat

If you love gel nails and never miss your monthly nail salon appointment like us, this is the product for you. This gel base coat provides a mirror shine finish without any chips or smudges. To use, apply a thin layer and cure under a UV light for 1 minute, followed by an LED light for 30 seconds. This small step is all you need to ensure a manicure that is both gorgeous and flawless. When properly applied, your nails will have a high-gloss finish that lasts up to 21 days.

PROS

  • Glossy, mirror-shine finish
  • Suitable for use under gel-based nail polish
  • Made with eco-friendly ingredients
  • Lasts for up to 21 days

CONS

  • May cause an allergic reaction, in rare cases. It is advisable to perform a patch test before the entire application.

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3) Modelones Leafu Top And Base Coat Set

Say hello to beautiful, glossy nails with this high performing base coat, which will ensure your nails are always the center of attention. Easy to apply, this product is compatible with other brands and is ideal for use under gel nail polish. Brittle and uneven nails are a thing of the past with this base coat that gives your nails a gorgeously smooth and polished look. Give yourself a salon-style manicure which lasts 21-45 days and always have your talons party ready.

PROS

  • Easy to apply and clean
  • Long-lasting and high-shine finish
  • Soft and neat brush for flawless application
  • Durable and compatible with most brand

CONS

  • May not be chip-resistant

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4) OPI Natural Nail Base Coat

Love nail polish but hate the staining and yellowing that accompanies it? This base coat is ideal to use under your favorite nail paint for a longer-lasting manicure while preventing natural nail discoloration. A thin coat of this product ensures your nail polish goes on smoother and without any streakiness. Quick-drying and chip-resistant, this OPI base coat will improve the texture of your nails and have you flaunt your beautiful manicure with style and confidence.

PROS

  • Prevents yellowing and discoloration
  • Quick-drying and long-lasting
  • Easy to apply and remove
  • Improves nail texture and strengths them

CONS

  • Some might find the texture of this base coat a bit thin.

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5) UNT Ready For Takeoff Peelable Base Coat

This peelable base coat is the perfect gift for every glitter-loving diva who changes her nail art with her outfit. Ideal for creating gorgeous ombre designs, this base coat protects your nails from the hassle of using damaging nail polish removers by allowing you to simply peel off your nail art when you’re ready for a change. Made without glue or latex, this product is free of harmful toxins and is designed for those who change their nail paint every 2-3 days. This peel-off base coat will ensure you don’t waste time trying to scrub off hard-to-remove glitter and can sport beautiful nails all week long.

PROS

  • Peelable clear base coat
  • Non-toxic and kid-friendly
  • Fast-drying and easy to apply
  • Free of formaldehyde, camphor, and xylene

CONS

  • Some might find that this base coat doesn’t last very long.

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6) Seche Clear Crystal Clear Base Coat

Your nails will thank you for this protecting base coat that not only prevents nail damage but also gives your nail art a glossy and polished shine that will last for days. This clear base coat adheres to the natural nail and protects it against staining, yellowing, and chipping while strengthening them. Give yourself beautiful salon-style manicures in the comfort of your home by pairing 1 coat of this product with 2 coats of your favorite nail polish and finish off with a luxurious top coat.

PROS

  • Prevents staining and yellowing of nails
  • Disguises nail imperfections
  • Fast-drying and easy to remove
  • Protects nail bed from damage

CONS

  • Some might find the scent of this product a bit overpowering.

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7) Essie First Base Base Coat

Give your nails the specialized care it deserves with this high-performing base coat that promises salon-like results. The rubber adhesive in this Essie base coat helps bond polish to the natural nail surface while preventing color wear and fading. A quick coat of this product provides a smooth surface for nail polish application and helps resist chipping for a polished, glossy finish. This base coat can be used either alone for healthy-looking nails or as part of your manicure routine for nails that never fail to amaze.

PROS

  • Provides color protection
  • Chip-resistant and long-lasting
  • Easy to apply and remove
  • Strengthens and protects nails

CONS

  • Some might find the application brush a bit thin.

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8) Revlon Quick Dry Base Coat

Here’s a nail polish base coat that glides on effortlessly to ensure your manicure looks smooth, even, and flawless. Made without toxic chemicals, this base coat is quick-drying and helps protect nails against chipping, breakage, and the much-dreaded yellowing and staining of the nail bed. A gorgeous home manicure is just a few simple steps away with this product that creates a smooth canvas for non-gel-based nail paint and promises a glossy, polished finish.

PROS

  • Quick-drying and easy to apply
  • Protects against chipping and yellowing
  • Free of formaldehyde, camphor, toluene, and DBP
  • Easy to remove

CONS

  • Some feel that the product leaves streaks on the nails.

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9) Vishine Soak-Off Gelpolish Base Coat

No one can deny that gel-based nail paints are the way to go for a super sleek and glamorous finish, but they require regular salon visits to maintain, and time is something we’re all short of. This base coat is designed for gel-based nail paints and allows you to replicate a salon-like gel manicure in the comfort of your home. Long-lasting and chip-resistant, this gel polish base coat ensures a finish that is smooth and flawless. This product is odorless, making it ideal for those sensitive to strong scents.

PROS

  • Long-lasting and wear-resistant
  • Mild and non-irritating
  • Provides UV protection
  • Free of formaldehyde and lead
  • Odorless

CONS

  • Some might find the texture of this product a bit sticky.

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10) Sally Hansen Ultimate Shield Base & Top Coat

Sally Hansen is a name synonymous with good-quality nail care, and here’s a base coat that doubles up as a top coat to provide your nails with all the nourishment and protection they need. This base and top coat nail polish features a micro-polymer formula, reinforcing brittle nails and boosting strength and flexibility for healthy-looking nails. This product can either be applied on bare nails as a base coat or over dry nail paint as a top coat for a glossy, refined finish.

PROS

  • Chip-resistant and long-lasting
  • Doubles up as a top coat
  • Repairs and strengthens nails
  • Prevents peeling and fading of nail color

CONS

  • Some might find the texture of this product a bit dense.

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11) Duri Rejuvacote Nail Growth System

This multi-purpose base coat not only doubles up as a top coat, but is also enriched with nourishing ingredients that help your beloved nails grow strong and healthy. Infused with hydrolyzed wheat protein, keratin, and calcium, this base coat promotes growth, strengthens nails, and prevents splitting and breaking. Suitable for use with or without nail polish, this moisturizing base coat seals in collagen and fatty acids produced naturally by the nail plate for nails protected and always well taken care of. We cannot think of reasons why you shouldn’t bring home this product that is considered as the best base coat nail polish by many right away!

PROS

  • Doubles up as a top coat
  • Stimulates nail growth
  • Protects nails from chipping, brittleness, and splitting
  • Free of parabens
  • Vegan and cruelty-free

CONS

  • Might not be best suited for those with very sensitive skin.

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12) Azure Beauty Dip Base

Gorgeous nails are one easy step away with this ridge-filling base coat nail polish, which ensures a smooth canvas for your favorite nail paint. Quick-drying and easy to apply, you can give yourself a stylish at-home manicure before you dash out the door. This product is chip-resistant and gives your nails an enviably glossy finish that lasts for days. The thick application brush is ideal for a smooth, even, and flawless finish that will make your nails look healthy and strong.

PROS

  • Easy to apply and quick-drying
  • Chip-resistant and long-lasting
  • Thick application brush
  • Easy to remove

CONS

  • Some might find that the brush hardens a bit, after a few uses.

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13) Butter London Horse Power Nail Rescue Basecoat

Restore, repair, and revitalize dull, brittle nails with this effective base nail polish, strengthening nails and preventing breakage while promising a polished look. Free of nasty toxins like formaldehyde and camphor, this product is infused with horsetail extract, biotin, vitamin B, and calcium, which help fortify weak nails and protect against future damage. Chip-resistant and long-lasting, this base coat ensures your manicure is wear-resistant, and the color stays fresh and bright for longer.

PROS

  • Strengthens and fortifies weak nails
  • Prevents breakage and damage
  • Infused with biotin and calcium
  • Free of formaldehyde, camphor, toluene, and DBP

CONS

  • Some might find the texture of this base coat a bit runny.

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14) Maxus Base Coat

If you’re looking for the best nail base coat without the harmful hardeners used in most other base coats, this product is ideal for you. Infused with amino acids and tea tree oil, this moisturizing and nourishing product creates a powerful foundation for a flawless and gorgeous manicure. When used on clean, dry nails before the first nail polish coat, this base coat also protects the nail paint from staining, yellowing, and discoloration.

PROS

  • Enriched with tea tree oil and amino acids
  • Prevents discoloration and yellowing
  • Free of formaldehyde, camphor, and DBP
  • Made without parabens, phthalates, and fragrances
  • Vegan and cruelty-free

CONS

  • Some might find this base coat a bit over-drying.

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15) Tenoverten The Foundation Nail Strengthening Base Coat

This non-toxic base coat strengthens nails and lays the foundation for healthier natural nails. Infused with vitamin E and horsetail grass, this base coat prevents cracking, fills ridges, and ensures a healthy buffed glow. This product can either be used alone or under a nail varnish for color that lasts long and has an even, polished finish. Free of nasty chemicals and cruelty-free ingredients, this base coat for nails is the ideal choice for the conscious consumer who wants beautiful nails without compromising on quality.

PROS

  • Repairs soft or peeling nails
  • Long-lasting polish adhesion
  • Free of dibutyl phthalate, formaldehyde, and camphor
  • Vegan and cruelty-free

CONS

  • Some might find that this base coat is a bit prone to chipping.

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Now that we have had a look at our carefully curated list of the 15 best base coat nail polishes in 2021, let us look at some things to consider when picking the right base coat for your unique requirements.

How To Choose A Base Coat

  • Type of manicure

The first step is to consider what kind of manicure you want for your nails. If you’re the kind who likes clear, healthy looking nails without any color, this relatively low maintenance style can be achieved easily with a thin coat of a nourishing base coat which strengthens nails while providing a natural glow. For those that favor a more hardcore gel manicure, pick a gel base coat designed specifically for this purpose. If you’re the kind that wants a quick pop of color before dashing out the door, pick a quick-drying base coat which doubles up as a top coat and you will have a salon-style manicure in a matter of minutes.

  • Harmful chemicals

Many nail polishes are formulated with toxic chemicals like formaldehyde, camphor, toluene, and DBP, to make the product last longer. It’s best to steer away from these ingredients as they may make nails dry and brittle in the long run and may cause irritation and cause an allergic reaction, moreover if you have sensitive skin.

  • Ingredients

While there are many ingredients, one must stay clear when it comes to nail paints, the best base coat nail polishes have nourishing ingredients that help strengthen your nails. Not only do they act as a shield between your delicate nails and harsh nail paints, but they also prevent cracking and fill ridges for a smooth and flawless application. When you pick up the best-suited products for your nails, remember to include ingredients such as vitamin E, horsetail grass, biotin, and calcium.

How To Use A Base Coat

Step 1 – Clean and file nails

The first step in any manicure, whether at home or at a salon, is to clean and file nails.

Step 2 – Apply base coat

Once your nails are prepped and ready for nail paint, apply an even layer of a base coat.

Step 3 – Apply nail polish

Once dry, apply your regular nail polish as usual.

Step 4 – For gel-based base coats, cure under a UV light

The steps are a little more complicated when it comes to gel base coats as they require to be dried under a UV lamp. Follow the directions closely on the product for best results.

Base Coat Vs Top Coat

Base coats and top coats both have essential value when it comes to a manicure that resists wear and stands the test of time. Base coats are usually thicker and stickier, providing a barrier between your nail and nail paint, whereas top coats are thinner and create a durable surface on the nail to withstand chips and breakage. Both are equally important in preventing damage and allowing color to last longer, and neither should be skipped if you want your nails to look polished and oh-so-gorgeous.

Beautiful nails are the first step in a look that is put together and polished. And what better way to showcase your personality than with gorgeous nails that speak volumes about your style, opinions, and preferences. Feeling confident? Paint your nails a fiery red. Want to show your support at a pride march? Take your artistic skills to the next level with vibrant rainbow hues. A glossy, polished manicure will give you the confidence and charisma to go on with your day with a spring in your step, and a good base coat is the first step in achieving this. Our guide of the 15 best base coat nail polishes in 2021 will be your starting guide to nails that never fail to impress.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does a base coat really help?

A base coat not only helps keep your nails pretty and polished, it also helps strengthen the nail and prevent damage and discoloration. A base coat forms a nourishing shield over your delicate nail to protect them from the potentially harmful chemicals found in most nail paints.

Can’t I use a top coat as a base coat nail polish?

While some use a top coat as a base coat, it is best to use a product for the purpose it is designed for. Top coats are normally thinner, take longer to dry, and don’t have the nourishing properties that base coats have.

How many coats of base coat should I apply?

When using alone, 2 coats of base coat help your nails look nourished and give them a natural healthy glow. When using a base coat under your favorite nail paint, it is best to apply a thin layer of base coat and allow it to dry completely.

Are base coats and top coats the same?

Both base coats and top coats are steps of your manicure that you don’t want to miss. While some products are designed to be doubled up and used for both purposes, most products are specially designed to perform one. A base coat is designed to protect your nail from damage and provide a smooth foundation for your nail paint to go on, whereas a top coat is designed to prevent chips and make your color last longer.

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