Nail Basics: How And Why To Use A Base Coat

Before applying colored polish, always use a base coat. Not only does a base coat provide a smooth surface for color, but it can promote healthier nails.

Base coats are necessary for promoting healthier nails, and ensuring easier application.

What is a base coat?

A base coat is a clear coat that can double as a top coat, which is applied on top of the color. In most cases it is a basic clear nail polish, though some brands offer base coats with protein, aloe vera, vitamin E, and/or calcium. These featured ingredients add strength to the nail.

How should you use a base coat?

The base coat is applied before any nail polish. However, it is recommended that you use a cotton ball soaked in nail polish remover (preferably non-acetone) to ensure that the oily residue is removed from the nail bed. The recommended application follows three steps. Three strokes are used to apply base and polish to your nail: one stroke from the base of the nail to the tip, following along the center of the nail, and then around the base and up each side. Always make sure to let it dry before applying any other coats of polish, otherwise it will chip easily.

Why should you use a base coat?

There are several reasons why you should always use a base coat, and never put colored polish on without one.

Base coats including protein, aloe vera, vitamin e, and/or calcium can replenish nails that are brittle and dry, restoring the moisture that nails need in order to be healthy. This in turn promotes healthier nails, and prevents breakage and other damage, including splitting and peeling.

Dark colors of nail polish can stain the nail, as well as seep into the nail bed and discolor your nails. This is especially true of experimenting with blue, black, or bright red nail polishes. Applying a base coat can prevent this from occurring. The base coat is a shield of protection from such damage. Darker-colored nail polish can also cause more serious chemical reactions. This occurs when the nail plate has a bad reaction to the coloring agent in the polish, and as a result, the nails will take on a yellowish appearance. This does not always happen immediately; for some it may take days or weeks for the reaction to show itself. If your nails are already yellowed because of this, there are several home-remedies you can try. You can try soaking your nails in a mixture of water and lemon juice once a week for 15 minutes, or soaking your nails in denture-cleaning tablets for a few moments. If neither of these options seems to help, there are several cosmetics companies which offer products to help dissolve the discoloration. If nothing works, don’t despair! Your nails will eventually grow out and they will look good as new.

The base coat ensures that the polish will last longer. It provides a smoother, more receptive surface for the colored polish to adhere to, while filling in the lines and creases in the nail. You will truly notice a difference in the ease of the application.

A base coat provides a hint of shine, and when used properly in the “sandwich” order (base coat, color coat, top coat), the shine lasts much longer. It also provides a natural shine if applied by itself, for a natural healthy buff.

Some nail polish companies provide colored nail polish that guarantees to be a three-in-one, including the base, color, and top coat, but in the end, the base provided is not much in the way of protection, let alone shine.

There are countless cosmetic brands that manufacture base coats, so next time you are out shopping, be sure to purchase one. You will see the difference. Your nails will be much happier and healthier, and so will you!

By: Julia Temlyn

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