Can You Use Base Coat As Top Coat?

Can You Use Base Coat As Top Coat

Freshening up your manicure can make you feel more confident and energized. Most people agree that ruining your manicure is the worst thing. You don’t want your manicure chipped. A top and base coat is essential for nail polish that lasts weeks. But can you use base coat as top coat? Here is everything you need to know.

You can use a top coat and a base coat together, or vice versa. Although technically you can interchange them, you won’t get a perfect result. You can switch between them in an emergency, but you will quickly realize why you shouldn’t.

While top coats can be used as a base layer for manicures, they won’t provide the same benefits as a base coat. A top coat can also be used as a base coat.

What is a Base Coat?

What is a Base Coat?

  • A base coat is an essential step in nail preparation. Every manicure must have a preparation routine to ensure that nail polish lasts. This involves trimming the nails and filing them.
  • These steps will make sure your nails are ready to be painted. To remove all moisture, you will need to apply a primer, dehydrator or alcohol wipe to your nails before applying a basecoat. Moisture can cause cracking or lifting.
  • After your nails have dried, prepare them to apply your base coat. The base coat protects your nail plate from polish. It will protect your nails from being stained by the polish. Once it is applied, it will form a sticky layer.
  • Because the base coat will stick to your nails, most base coats will have tacky finishes. This will ensure your manicure lasts as long as possible.

What is a Top Coat?

What is a Top Coat?

  • You could easily damage your polish if it doesn’t have a top coat. Your polish can move, smudge or pick up lint and dust and eventually cause damage to your mani.
  • Without a top coat, your nails may look dull and unfinished. You’ll be able to see every flaw, streak, and mistake in your nail color.
  • A top coat is necessary if you want your nail polish to last longer or give it that salon shine. It will dry with a protective layer that protects it from external elements. Any streaks or imperfections will be blurred and smoothened by the top coat.
  • You can also achieve a flawless shine. Top coats come in many finishes. You can choose a matte or semi-matte finish if you prefer a subtler look.

Why do you need a top and base coat?

Why do you need a top and base coat?

  • Although you can technically apply nail lacquer with no top coat or base, it won’t be salon-quality. You can’t use nail polish by itself. It will look messy and may chip or stain the nail plate.
  • The base coat protects your nails and prevents the color from staining them. The base coat will give your paint a sticky layer to hold onto.
  • You can also use it to smoothen any bumps or ridges on your nail plate to apply the polish evenly.
  • Applying the polish will blur any minor imperfections with a top coat. The top coat will smoothen out the texture and give it a shiny finish. To prevent any chipping, smudging, or lifting, it will dry to a hardened protective shiny shield.

Are Base and Top Coats interchangeable?

  • You can use both a top coat and a base coat interchangeably, but it won’t make your manicure salon-quality. Try switching between top and base coats to create surprising results.
  • You won’t get the best results if you use these products together. Your nail polish will not last as long as you want and won’t be as flawless.
  • Avoid using a base coat as your top coat. Because it provides the perfect base for polish, most base coats dry with an opaque or sticky layer. This will catch any lint, dirt, and debris if it is applied as a topcoat.
  • A top coat may not be as good as a base coat, but it is still the best option. Follow this link to learn more about the various tips and tricks for using a topcoat as a base coat.

Base Coats Should Not Be Used as a Top Coat

You can apply base coats to your nails to provide a smooth base for your polish. Base coats can smoothen out any bumps or ridges on your nails. Why would you not want to use a basecoat as a top coat? Several reasons include not having a shiny finish, chipping easily, and creating sticky surfaces.

No Shine

No Shine

  1. Base coats are intended to be used as a layer beneath nail lacquer. They can even dry tacky or sticky to prolong the life of nail polish shades.
  2. You’ll notice a duller or more drab finish if you use a base coat instead of a top coat. You may find it looks more like a matte topcoat than a regular one. While this may be a good idea for some, most people prefer a glossy-salon finish.
  3. A base coat applied as a topcoat will not give you seamless results like a topcoat. Even after using the color, you may notice streaks and imperfections.

Prone to Smudging/Chipping

Prone to Smudging

  1. A base coat can also cause chipping, lifting, and smudging, so you should avoid it as a topcoat. Because of its tacky finish, a base coat can make things worse and be more likely to catch on to something.
  2. A base coat will not dry to a glossy and hard finish. You may achieve a more matte finish than top coats, but it will not protect or prolong your polish.

Tacky Surface

  1. We’ve already mentioned that base coats can become sticky or tacky. This is what it means if you apply it as a topcoat. You will attract dirt, lint, and other debris to your nails. Textured nails will appear, but not in an artistic way.
  2. It will be difficult to remove any nail polish stuck to your nails.
  3. You may snag your nails into fabrics and other materials.

Top Coats Should Not Be Used As A Base Coat

Top coats seal in the work that you have done to paint your nails. You can use top coats to smoothen minor imperfections such as streaks, bumps, and bubbles. Because they come in multiple finishes, top coats allow you to expand your creativity. You have to consider staining, fading, or polish chipping and creating a slippery base if you wish to interchange them.



  1. Base coats are great because they protect your nails from being stained or damaged by the nail lacquer. Top coats won’t protect your nails from staining, but they can be used to provide a protective layer.
  2. It will not provide a good base for the polish to stick. You’ll also notice that polish with a shiny, smooth finish won’t last.

Polish won’t last

  1. As we mentioned, the polish won’t last as long if it has a base coat. The top coat creates a shiny, smooth base that can make it difficult for the polish to stick to.
  2. This is not a good idea as a shiny base can cause nail chips and make it challenging to apply the nail color. This will depend on the formula of your top coat, which can be shiny, shimmery, glittery, or satin.

Difference between a top coat and a base coat

  1. File your nails and push your cuticles back. Finally, wipe them with an alcohol pad. This will allow you to get enough moisture off your nail plate so that You can apply the top coat seamlessly.
  2. After applying your top coat, please wait for it to dry completely before applying your color. To avoid staining, choose a pastel or light color.
  3. To prevent chipping, apply your chosen color to your nails along the edges and tips.
  4. You’ll end up with a poor top coat and a bad base coat. It might still be better than nothing. It can even be helpful to have on hand if you get into a nail problem.
  5. While a 2-in-1 base and top coat can help prevent nail disasters, it will not be as effective as a regular top coat and base coat. A standard top coat or base coat is still the best way to prolong nail polish.


For any manicure, both the coats are essential. A base coat protects your nails and creates a smooth base. It also prevents polish from staining. You can use top coats to cover minor imperfections and add shine. Follow up with your color and apply your topcoat. Finally, seal it in with your topcoat. Although it won’t last as long as regular mani, this can be very effective.

What can I use if I don’t have a top coat?

For maximum gloss, cuticle oil can be use as a topcoat alternative. You may use this moisturizing oil on your nails, then buff them away and apply cuticle oil once more.

Can you just use base coat or top coat?

There’s a reason why salon technicians always use both a base and top coat on your nails — each special polish plays a specific role. The main purpose of both is basically to protect your nails, although they each do so in different ways.

Can I just use base coat as clear nail polish?

A base coat is simply to help adhere the polish to the bed better and to protect it from staining. Clear polish might not work as well as a base coat polish but it will work. Just remember to buff your nail up a bit so the clear polish can “hold on” to the nail better.

What is the difference between a base coat and a top coat?

Base coats are usually thicker and stickier, which helps the nail polish adhere better. They contain more resins to give the nail added strength. Topcoats are thinner and contain more ingredients that create a durable surface on the nail.

Can I use clear nail polish as a top coat?

Clear nail polish can be worn alone or on top of colored nail polish. It can also be worn over a base coat or underneath a top coat.

Does base coat protect your nails?

A base coat helps the polish stick to the nail more easily; creates a barrier that protects nails from the damaging effects of the polish; prevents staining and peeling; and gives nails a more even texture. A base coat ultimately extends the life of your manicure.

How many coats of nail polish is too much?

We recommend up to three coats of nail polish for full color coverage and a smooth, finished look. If you apply more than three coats in one sitting, the application will be prone to clumping off in one piece, almost like a shell.

Can I use gel polish without top coat?

Yes! You should always use a Bluesky Top Coat after applying your colour gel polish. The Top Coat provides the seal for your gel manicure, and helps greatly in preventing chips and cracks to your newly manicured nails.

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