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There are many types of base coats for nail polish, all of which are aimed at solving different nail dilemmas. The best base coat for you will depend on the type of nail polish look that you are hoping to achieve. More importantly, your best base coat will meet the needs of your nails specifically, whether you have soft nails, brittle nails or ridged and uneven nails. Using the appropriate base coat can help address all of these problems while contributing to the beauty and longevity of your manicure.
The first step in choosing the best base coat is to asses your nails. The base coat is applied directly over the top of the natural nails, so it has the opportunity to impart different ingredients that can address a variety of nail shortcomings. If they are soft and have the tendency to peel, you should choose a strengthening or hardening base coat. This type of base coat contains proteins that will help harden the nails over time by fortifying their natural keratin structure.
Nails that are too hard will be brittle and prone to breaking, so they will benefit from a base coat that contains moisturizing ingredients. These formulas are sometimes referred to as nail growth base coats because they will help prevent breaking and help the nails grow longer. The best base coat for brittle nails will contain ingredients such as vitamins A and E, as well as aloe to hydrate the nails.
Another nail dilemma that can be addressed with a base coat is nails that have deep ridges. The best base coat for ridged nails will be a thicker formula that can fill in the grooves and provide a smooth surface to which the colored polish can adhere. Using a ridge-filling base coat results in a manicure that is solid and smooth instead of bumpy from the colored polish settling into grooves.
If you are happy with your natural nails and do not feel the need to use one of these specialty base coats, there are normal varieties available as well. These base coats protect the natural nails from stains incurred by colored polish. They also provide a clean, smooth and somewhat tacky surface for the colored polish to grip onto so that it looks better and lasts longer. Some formulas are advertised as two-in-one base and top coats, but the best base coats usually are products that are meant to serve only one function. This is because top coats are smooth and shiny, whereas a base coat should be matte so that it can adhere securely to the polish.
Many base coats are clear and can be used underneath just about any nail polish color or texture. Some polishes, however, might require an opaque base coat. If your colored polish is very thin or is meant to dry as an opaque neon shade, you might look for a white base coat that will prevent those polishes from being transparent.