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Top/Base Coats - Orly - Nail Defense Strengthening & Repairing Basecoat



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rated 4.2(27 reviews)

  • Average Rating: 4.2
  • 88% would buy again
  • Package Quality: 4.6
  • Price: $$

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rated 3 of 5 top reviewer on 8/23/2014 7:24:00 AM More reviews by tinkerrbelle

Age: 36-43 Skin: Sensitive, Fair, Warm Hair: Blond, Other, Fine Eyes: Blue

This is a protein strengthener that can be worn on its own or under nail polish. It has a high gloss shine making it great to wear alone without polish when you grow and repair your nails for a week or so. However, its not my first choice as an actual base coat as it is very slow drying, at least a full 10 - 15 minutes to dry vs 1 - 2 minutes for my other base coats. Rushing it causes bubbles for me so I always must allow that extra time.

Essie "All in One 3-Way Glaze Base + Top Coat + Strengthener" makes a better strengthening base coat as it dries fast and does not bubble (I don't recommend it as a top coat however).

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rated 5 of 5 top reviewer on 2/9/2014 1:34:00 PM More reviews by madmargeS

Age: 25-29 Skin: Combination, Fair, Cool Hair: Brown, Curly, Fine Eyes: Brown

I've been polishing my nails nearly every week lately, and my nails were showing the effects! My nails felt dry and ridged when they had nothing on them, so I bought this strengthener to use under polish or when I don't feel like doing a colored manicure. It dries very quickly and leaves a nice shine.I applied a new coat of this everyday for a week, without adding any other polish on top. After removing it at the end of the week, my nails feel stronger and the ridges are almost gone. I'll buy this again!

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rated 3 of 5 on 7/22/2013 4:56:00 PM More reviews by Trillstayovoxo13

Age: 18 & Under Skin: Normal, Medium Brown, Not Sure Hair: Black, Other, Other Eyes: Hazel

My brush was uneven and I haven't seen growth though I have seen strength and hardness and it lasts long as a base and top.

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rated 5 of 5 top reviewer on 1/14/2013 11:26:00 AM More reviews by sam23

Age: 19-24 Skin: Combination, Fair, Neutral Hair: Other, Wavy, Medium Eyes: Green

I love this stuff!! it's my base and top coat. when I bought it, I had started painting my nails so frequently they were turning yellow and peeling from the stress and chemicals and this has helped a lot. I notice a lot less pealing, my nails have a better chance of growling longer. I always do two coats of this as a base, then however much color I want and then another coat of this on top the next day. I got this like 4-5 months ago and I'm already down to like 1/3 of the bottle haha but I paint my nails like three times a week lately. I will definitely get a $3.50 off ten coupon and get another one of these at ulta when I run out. I tried essie grow stronger before this and it just did nothing at all in comparison.

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rated 3 of 5 on 1/4/2013 6:17:00 PM More reviews by ceejoy

Age: 25-29 Skin: Oily, Fair, Warm Hair: Brunette, Straight, Fine Eyes: Blue

Not bad. Does make my nails a little stronger as long as I keep applying. Doesn't do much to stop dryness or the splitting that comes from it. Not as good as OPI Nail Envy, but a decent cheaper substitute.

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rated 4 of 5 top reviewer on 12/28/2012 6:26:00 PM More reviews by mulletoftruth

Age: 36-43 Skin: Normal, Fair-Medium, Neutral Hair: Brunette, Curly, Fine Eyes: Other

I've undertaken months of experimentation before concluding that this product actually lives up to its claims. My nails are terrible, thanks to genetics. They're weak and flexible, split and peel, and tear really easily. I've been doing manicures regularly for about a year, which has wreaked further havoc, and they were really stained from always being painted.


I started using this and things seemed to improve. Then I started using it exclusively and have seen a remarkable turnaround.


It's not a great base coat (not grippy enough) nor a great top coat (doesn't dry quickly) but it's a great nail treatment and sealant. I use it under my base coat (Orly Bonder or CND Stickey) then over my top coat (Orly Sec N Dry or CND Air Dry) once my nails are fully dry (either the evening of or day after I paint my nails.) I have really seen changes in the health of my nails and longevity of my manicures.


My nails have almost entirely stopped splitting and peeling and my nail beds where there is new growth are completely unstained and healthy. My nails are stronger and where previously polish would start chipping by day 2 and be completely wrecked by day 3, I can now get a good 4 or 5 days out of a manicure.


It's not a miracle cure and I still don't have great nails, but I can see that it's made a marked difference. I would note, as well, that I think the key is to ensure that it's the first thing to go on the nail as well as the last - and that it takes months of dedicated use to fully appreciate the effects of using it.

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rated 5 of 5 on 9/9/2012 3:06:00 PM More reviews by AlbinaB

Age: 25-29 Skin: Combination, Fair-Medium, Not Sure Hair: Brunette, Other, Other Eyes: Brown

This is the perfect base and top coat. Makes my manicure last and strengthens my nails at the same time - what more could you ask for?

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rated 5 of 5 on 5/24/2012 8:23:00 PM More reviews by kristine627

Age: 19-24 Skin: Other, Tan, Not Sure Hair: Black, Other, Other Eyes: Brown

this base coat is heaven sent.i bought tough cookie before and it sucked. my nails are so prone to peeling and chipping since i have weak nails and i tend to wash my hands alot so i never used to do my nails. tough cookie made it worse. because of nail defense i've been able to put on nail polish every week and when its time for me to change it up, my nails are long and strong! i'm pretty sure there are other good base coats out there but this one i'll definitely be repurchasing.

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rated 5 of 5 on 3/2/2012 11:10:00 AM More reviews by subnotate

Age: 19-24 Skin: Combination, Fair-Medium, Not Sure Hair: Brunette, Other, Other Eyes: Hazel

Packaging: The bottle is HUGE (6oz/18ml) and has a rubberized handle which seemed silly but I actually loved it. The brush is thin, but so is the product so it works perfectly. I paid $8 at a CVS.

Product: This goes on thin,smoothly, evens out my nail texture, and dries quickly. It also dries with an amazing shine so it could easily be worn on its own. I generally put a base coat, two coats of polish, and then as a top coat also. It dries fast on top also and makes the polish shine.

BEST PART: I have thin, flexible nails. This base/top coat makes my nails so much harder and keeps them from peeling or breaking at the sides. I can now leave my polish on longer, it keeps them from staining, and my nails have grown longer. I love this stuff and will buy again.

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rated 4 of 5 top reviewer on 2/27/2012 4:35:00 AM More reviews by Muriel

Age: 44-55 Skin: Normal, Fair, Cool Hair: Blond, Straight, Fine Eyes: Blue

I use this as my base coat as darker nail colors are my mainstay - OPI Russian Navy & OPI Marooned on the Subway for example - and this keeps them from discoloring my nails. The strengthening is a bonus as my nails are pretty strong to begin with.

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