Unfortunately, some people don't use a base coat because no-one ever told them why they should be using one.
Or, maybe you've used a base coat before - but you didn't notice a difference. Well, my friend, you'll be happy to know that there are different types of base coats out there and it's likely you used one that didn't suit your nails.
Using a base coat should be a part of everyone's manicure regime. It horrifies me when I ask people which base coat they use and they look at me like... what?
1) Base Coats Prevent Staining
Have you ever had sickly looking yellow nails after removing a nail polish? Yep, base coat helps prevent that by providing an extra barrier of protection between the nail colour and your nail plate. In saying that, there are some colours out there that just want to stain your nails. These are usually greens, blues, and yellows. However, base coat will always lessen the damage.
2) Base Coats Smooth Out Your Ridges
You've probably noticed when you didn't use a base coat, once the nail polish had dried, the polish had 'sunk' into your nails - amplifying every nook, cranny, and ridge. Yep, base coat helps avoid that by adding an extra layer between your natural ridges and the nail polish. Buffing your nails every now and again will also be helpful in reducing the appearance of ridges and dents in your nail beds.
3) Base Coats Help Your Manicure Last
Not only do base coats help prevent staining and smooth out ridges, but they also help your manicure last longer! Base coats help with the longevity of your manicure because they provide the nail polish with a non-oily sticky area for the nail polish to 'hold on to'.
Your nails naturally contain oils and it's the oils that interfere with your manicure. Some people have nails that are more oily than others. To help with this, give your nails a wipe with nail polish remover or isopropyl alcohol before you apply your base coat. This will remove any current oils from your nail plate.
The Different Types of Base Coats
Remember how I mentioned that maybe you've tried a base coat but it didn't suit your nails? That's because there are lots of different types of base coats out there. Use our guide to find the right one for you and your nails.
Natural - these are your standard base coats, they don't claim to do anything fancy but they work. You can get these kinds of base coats in colours that compliment your natural nail colour like pink and beige. I highly recommend Nail Juice's Natural Pink milky base coat for a nice base coat that reflects your natural nail's beauty.
Strengthener or Treatment - these are the base coats that claim to strengthen, help grow, or repair your nails. They often make your fingernails feel a lot harder. Most of the time you can wear nail polish over them however, some brands say that you should only wear the base coat as you need to apply a new coat of the treatment every other day or so.
Sticky or Rubberised - these base coats are designed for you oily nailed folk like myself, especially if you experience chipping and peeling a lot sooner than you think you should. The sticky base coat provides, well, an extra sticky layer for your nail polish to hold on to. The sticky base coat bonds with your nail polish to help it last longer on your nail. I really love to wear Nail Juice's Get a Grip sticky base coat for when I'm needing my nail polish to last the distance.
Of course, it's also important that you take into account how much your nails go through in a day, as this will often influence the rate at which your polish chips off.
Ridge Filler - base coats naturally smooth out your ridges, but if you have more pronounced or stubborn ridges, a ridge filling base coat will be your new best friend! Ridge-filling base coats are often white or milky looking as they contain small particles that help fill in the gaps between your nail ridges.
So, how do I choose which base coat to use?
Are my nails pretty healthy and just need the protective layer? - Natural.
Are my nails feeling a bit weak and keep breaking? - Use a Strengthening treatment.
Does my nail polish chip at an incredible rate? - Sticky base coat will be your friend.
Are my nails needing some help with looking smooth? - Ridge filler.
It's easy to use a base coat!
- Apply a thin coat of Milky base coat
- Apply 1-3 coats of your colour
- Seal with a top coat