I used to swear by Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat. And I will admit, it has some good qualities. But, the bad very much outweighs the good. First off, the top coat is incredibly shiny, but it dulls over time. Secondly, Seche gives the look of a very thick, almost acrylic nail. I like this, but if you need more than one coat, it's too thick and then your nail polish tends to peel off in sheets (ANNOYING!!). Also, Seche always, always, always causes nail polish shrinkage which is so not cute. Next, the smell is so incredibly strong, I feel like I had to have a window open to use it. Seriously, this stuff will make you high, open a window!! Probably the worst thing about this top coat is that when you get halfway through the bottle it starts getting so thick, goopy and stringy that you can't even use it unless you buy their brand of thinner. I can't find the thinner where I live, and I don't feel like I should have to buy a product to fix a product. They should fix the formula. I went through this like crazy and found I was better off to buy something else than to waste my money on 1/2 a bottle of Seche that I could use for 2-3 weeks, if that.
Gives nails a high gloss shine like the nail salon does. It dries my nails in 5 minutes.
Seche Vite is the best product I have used to achieve the quickest dry on newly manicured nails. It can be tricky to use but once you know how to circumvent some issues, it is arguably without peer in the quick-dry world. FYI, the most cost effective way to get this is in the Professional Kit size. You get a regular half ounce bottle of SV plus a 4 ounce refill. I got this kit in January 2010, paid $33 for it and still have 2/3 left. The price has probably increased by now, but I think it's better than buying one small bottle at a time.
SV can get a bit blobby/stringy when the half ounce bottle gets down to the halfway mark. You can use Seche Restore, a thinner made for SV or the thinner Sally's sells. Either one works fine. Be generous in how much you put in there but stop often to check it's not getting too watery.
SV needs to be applied to freshly polished, still tacky-to-the-touch nails. It is not meant to be used over dry polish, i.e., a shine refresher on the days following the original manicure.
For the best results, let a drop of SV almost start to drip from the brush and then very gently "ride the bubble" across your nail. This means don't press down hard because SV can sometimes pull some of the polish off, leaving bald spots. The brush bristles should not touch the nail; you just want to guide the bubble over the nail.
Now for the "elephant in the room" regarding SV's famous shrinkage problem. If it has happened to you, you know what it is. For the uninitiated, it's when one or more layers of polish seem to pull back a bit. For me this happens at the cuticle line and sidewalls but others say they see it more at the tips, despite "wrapping" them. Two ways to defeat this: before using SV, apply a coat of any non quick dry clear top coat (I prefer Barielle's Manicure Extender) to act as a buffer between your nail polish and SV. Another way is to get a drugstore item, NYC Grand Central Station (#202), which is also a clear quick dry. Mix it 50-50 with SV, either in an existing half empty SV bottle or any empty bottle you might have. This solves shrinkage. You end up with the fastest drying nails ever, as well as the shiniest.
I used to LOVE this top coat polish. I first tried it about a year ago due to the hype from all of my favorite beauty Youtubers (who all have perfect nails. Always). At first, I was so impressed. I used to use the Sally Hansen Insta-Dry top coat in the red bottle, but I was looking for something higher quality I guess. I'm a Sally's Beauty Club member, so I get can this top coat for $5-$6. My longest manicure using this top coat lasted a week, which is a record for me. Booo for thin, weak, short nails.
First off, SV dries fast. And I mean FAST. 3 minutes and it's dry. It can still dent if you're rough on it, but it really is a fast dry top coat. Secondly, it's super shiny and that shine has lasted for 2 weeks on my pedicure! I will say though, it has shrinking problems. If I apply a new coat of this a few days after I paint my nails, I can see that there's a rough edge from the nail polish pulling up near my cuticle. Not a big problem since I usually wear my nail polish for four days.
This nail polish gets thick about half way through or less. If you add some nail polish thinner though, it goes right back to normal. My big problem with this (hence the 3-rating) is that it turned yellow on me. I've had a bottle of this for a month and I spent about an hour doing a French manicure on myself, and once I applied my SV to my previously white tips with 2 coats of Essie's mademoiselle over, the tips looked almost skin-tone. It was almost heart breaking since I hadn't had a yellowing problem before. Just last night I went to Target and bought the Essie Good to Go and hopefully I can find a new favorite top coat soon.
Love it! My Holy Grail topcoat. Nails dry lickety-split, and super shiny. I don't have the shrinkage problem that others seem to have. Then again, I don't expect my manicure to last for a whole week as I am very active and hard on my manicures. I use a base coat (sometimes the SV base coat and sometimes one of the other brands), 2 coats of any polish, a coat of the Seche Vite top coat, and I can get 3 days out of that manicure. If I do the same process but add a top coat of Out The Door followed by another top coat of the SV (yes, 3 layers of top coat), I can get a full week out of a manicure even though I work with my hands, do dishes, bathe the dogs, etc. Usually I'm tired of my polish color before a week is up and I'm ready to redo it anyway.
Long story short - favorite top coat, 5 stars. The only thing I'd change is if they would make the words "top coat" on the bottle BIGGER so I can distinguish this bottle from their base coat a little easier.
Holy grail top coat. I am soooo impatient when painting my nails and this completely dries in about 2 minutes. It's very glossy and beautiful on the nails and have actually received compliments on how pretty my nails looked when wearing this (with revlon 660 divine).
It does have a strong smell though, like stronger than regular nail polish or top coat I've tried. This leads me to believe that it's not very good for you to be breathing in but >< it's so perfect and I don't paint my nails so often so I can deal. I purchased on amazon for about 4 dollars which is such a steal since at CVS it's about 10
My fave top coat of all time! Super shiny, dries in no time flat and long lasting!
I don't understand why this product is raved about so much. It is not as long lasting as other, less expensive, top coats.
I heard a lot of people rave about this so I had to try it.
My nail polish still chips really easily and its not shinier than any other top coat. Its all really thick and gluggy. Didn't like it at all
In reality I'd probably rate this 3.5 out of 5. But I rounded up simply because it's my favorite topcoat, despite its many shortcomings.
Why I like it:
Aesthetics. It's very shiny and looks like a gel coat and smooths out my polish, making even the worst, streakiest, gloopiest polish application become smooth and even, as if a professional applied it.
It dries my manicure super fast. No other topcoat I've used gives me the freedom to go to bed soon after applying my topcoat. I do not get any indentations with this topcoat after 5 minutes, I do not have to worry that my manicure will be ruined due to not being completely dry for hours and hours on end.
It significantly shortens the life of my manicure, than with other top coats. I consider myself lucky if my manicure can last 4 days with Seche Vite. But on average, 2 days is when wear begins to show, and 3 days is about when my manicure starts falling apart.
If I don't remove it before my manicure falls apart, my nails will be pretty wrecked and fragile.
It get's gloopy so the Restore is pretty much a must, and that product evaporates over time also.
It's expensive, especially so when you factor in the cost of the Restore and the fact that it evaporates.
Some other things I'll mention is that my nails are quite soft and porous naturally, and I strongly suspect the people who don't have issues with Seche Vite either have fake nails or very strong, hard nails. Because my nails are soft, I have to keep them short when I use this top coat because if they have any length and they were to bend AT ALL, my polish will crack and flake off. Also, I take a nice long bath to get that out of my system before my manicure and wait for my nails to completely dry before doing my manicure, and then only take showers, not long baths, in order to prolong the life of my manicure, because my nails are just too porous and will expand too much in a bath, and since Seche Vite has no 'give' whatsoever, my polish will just pop/lift right off my nails if my nails are exposed to water too long.
So, yeah, Seche Vite isn't perfect, but it's my favorite, and I'm not sure how they could fix the shortcomings without compromising on drying time or the finish that I love so much.