Today I’ll show you the list of the best gel base and top coat sets on the market, according to professional nail techs.
You have to apply most gel polishes in 3 steps. The first step is applying the base coat. The next step is adding a couple of layers of the color coat. And the last step is covering the nails with the top coat.
|Gelish||Top pick, can be used with other polish brands||CHECK ON AMAZON|
|DND||Duo pack with a no wipe top coat.||CHECK ON AMAZON|
|KUPA||Trio pack with glossy and matte top coats.||CHECK ON AMAZON|
|LeChat||Matches LeChat's color change polishes.||CHECK ON AMAZON|
|Bio Seaweed||Healthy, non-toxic, vegan, and cruelty-free||CHECK ON AMAZON|
|Orly GelFX||Gel products with vitamins. The set comes with a primer and cuticle oil.||CHECK ON AMAZON|
|MelodySusie||Professional-grade nail products for home use||CHECK ON AMAZON|
|Aimeili||Best budget set||CHECK ON AMAZON|
|Beetles||A budget trio pack with shiney and matte top coats||CHECK ON AMAZON|
|Makartt||Works with Makartt polygels||CHECK ON AMAZON|
|Born Pretty||Work great with Born Pretty's cat's eye polishes||CHECK ON AMAZON|
|Gellen||Popular product for home use||CHECK ON AMAZON|
The base coat is used as the bonding agent between the color polish and the nail.
It also protects the nail plate and prepares it for the color coat application.
And the top coat helps the color last longer and adds a gorgeous glossy shine to your nails.
The quality of the base coat and the top coat is extremely important for the longevity and the look of your manicure.
So here are the best gel nail base and top coat kits:
Best gel base and top coat sets: professional
Gelish Dynamic Duo
Gelish is one of the most popular gel nail polish brands used in salons.
In fact, it was the first LED gel polish with a brush.
Its creator is the two-time International Champion in acrylic nails Danny Haile.
Gelish makes one of the best gel base and top coat sets on the market. It is very high quality.
Gelish polishes can stay on your nails for up to three weeks without chipping or peeling.
And the top coat has a very pretty shine.
Even though normally gel base and top coat should be used with the same brand of color gel polish, many nail techs use the Gelish duo with other brands of color polishes and it works great.
Gelish products are pretty thick. Still, you should try applying them in thin layers.
Also, the top coat leaves a sticky layer and requires wiping with 99% Isopropyl Alcohol (or any rubbing alcohol).
DND is an LA-based brand of gel nail
polishes founded by a group of professional nail artists.
DND is famous for manufacturing Duo packs that contain a gel nail polish and a matching ordinary polish.
Their gel nail base and top coat are also sold as a Duo pack.
However, this duo pack doesn’t contain ordinary polish products.
Both the top coat and the base coat in this set are only gel ones.
DND top is a no-wipe one, which is a big plus. You don’t need that extra effort to finish your manicure off.
The products are smooth and easy to apply.
KUPA Gelfinity TRIO Pack
Dental technicians Robert Upshaw and Kito Ochi founded KUPA in 1984. KUPA is an acronym of their names, with the word “associates”.
In the early 1980s, Upshaw and Ochi wanted to use their dental industry experience in the emerging nail industry.
In addition to Gelfinity gel polishes, KUPA also manufactures acrylic nail products and the best professional nail e-files on the market, KUPA ManiPRO Passport and ManiPRO K-5000.
Gelfinity trio pack contains a base coat and two top coats, a glossy one and a matte one.
These top coats don’t have a sticky layer and don’t require wiping anything off.
So with KUPA Gelfinity, you can create amazing matte designs that are very trendy now.
KUPA base and top coat can help your manicure last up to 3 weeks.
You can cure KUPA gel products in an LED or UV lamp and remove them later by soaking off with acetone.
LeChat Perfect Match
Le Chat means “a cat” in French.
The company manufactures professional gel nail polishes, including glitter polishes and temperature-activated mood changing polishes.
This gel base and top combo is the best one you can use with their color change polishes because they are 100% compatible.
LeChat base and top can also be used with polishes made by other brands.
It doesn’t stay as long as Gelish and shrinks a bit more under the lamp, but it’s still a very high-quality professional product used in salons.
Unlike DND and KUPA, LeChat top coat leaves a tacky layer that you need to wipe off.
Bio Seaweed Gel
Bio Seaweed is a brand of non-toxic, vegan, and cruelty-free nail products.
This is a USA-based family-owned business that manufactures healthy professional gel nail polishes.
They have a line of gel polishes named 3STEP, with a healthy base coat and top coat pack.
Their gel top and base are free of Formaldehyde, Toluene, DBP, BHA, and Camphor.
The word “seaweed” in the company’s name is meant to indicate the healthy nature of their products. They actually contain no seaweed.
Bio Seaweed gel top coat is a no wipe one too and is very shiny.
Make sure to apply the top and the base correctly. Otherwise, Bio Seaweed manicure is prone to peeling.
Orly Gel FX Essentials
Orly is a well-known company in the beauty industry. It was founded in 1975 and is still family-owned.
They manufacture healthy, non-toxic and cruelty-free nail polishes, which are also infused with vitamins A, E, and B5.
Orly Gel FX base coat contains vitamins too and is meant to strengthen and protect your nails.
The top coat is very strong and shiny. It does leave a sticky layer that you need to wipe though.
Orly Gel FX Essentials set includes a base coat, top coat, primer, and Orly cuticle oil that has a pleasant smell of flowers and citrus.
The bonding primer is not a dehydrator, it helps with the adhesion of the polish to the nail.
MelodySusie Gel Base And Top
MelodySusie is a brand of salon-quality nail products and equipment designed for home use, founded in 2009.
Its founders are two nail technicians and cosmetologists from San Francisco named Melody and Susie.
MelodySusie manufactures nail e-files, nail drill bits, gels, nail lamps, skincare products, and even fashion wigs.
A big plus of this polish line is that MelodySusie sells a very affordable and compact LED/UV nail lamp. Which is 100% compatible with their gel base and top.
Another plus is that the top doesn’t need wiping. Just dry the top layer and you’re done.
The gel top and base combo doesn’t have the biggest longevity but this product is nice and easy to apply for the home user.
Best gel top and base coat packs: budget
Aimeili Gel Base And Top
Aimeili is a brand of nail products from Hong Kong. However, they import their materials and components from the USA, Japan, and Germany.
Their best-selling gel base and top coat are vegan and cruelty-free.
This is the best gel base and top coat combo on the market for those who are on a budget.
It lasts for over 2 weeks without chipping or peeling.
Aimeili top coat is a no wipe one too, which is great for a really affordable product.
However, it’s not too easy to apply. It’s a bit too thick, but you need to learn to apply it in very thin layers.
If you add a thick layer, it would form a bubble under the lamp. So the polish will peel off in a day or so.
Aimeili also manufactures temperature color changing gel polishes.
Beetles Gel Base And Top
Beetles gel polish is 9 toxins and cruelty-free, vegan, and has a low odor formula.
The company also manufactures other gel nail products, dipping powders, nail art accessories, and even anti-aging UV lamps.
Their best gel base and top coat package actually includes two top coats, just like KUPA Trio Pack.
One top coat is shiny and the other one is matte.
These gel base and top coats are compatible with other gel polishes.
So with this trio set, you can make a wide variety of shiny and matte nail designs.
And the top also holds rhinestones better than other polishes.
Great for at-home manicures for less!
The only downside is that it doesn’t last as long as some other brands. Less than 2 weeks.
Makartt Gel Base And Top
Makartt is a China-based manufacturer of professional manicure and pedicure tools and products.
They make all kinds of nail products. For example, large polygel kits, acrylic nail tips, foils, nail drills, gel nail polish sets, UV/LED lamps, etc.
Their top coat is very shiny and is a no wipe one. And the product stays on for at least 2 weeks.
Both the base and the top coat also work well with Makartt’s polygels and chrome/mermaid powders.
The only downside is that these products are pretty smelly.
Born Pretty Gel Base And Top Coat
Born Pretty is another Chinese manufacturer of gel nail polishes and nail art products that are also popular in the USA and Europe.
They make amazing magnetic cat’s eye chameleon nail polishes and a wide array of nail stamping pads.
So if you want to apply their cat’s eye nail polishes then you should use Born Pretty gel base and top coat for best results.
However, it doesn’t stay too well with Born Pretty’s own unicorn/mermaid powders for nail art.
The top coat is again a no wipe one and very shiny, which is good for such an affordable product.
It looks great if applied in thin layers.
Not the best lasting polish, but it’s a great budget product for beginners.
Gellen Gel Base And Top Coat
Gellen is a really popular budget brand for home use.
The company is famous for selling large, 16 or even 18-color polish sets.
Their products don’t have a strong smell, which is very good for a budget polish.
Gellen top coat needs wiping to remove the sticky residue.
The polish can stay up to 3 weeks with this gel base and top combo. However, the top coat layer gets dull with time.
You can rub the nails again with 99% Isopropyl Alcohol to give them back their shine.
How to use the best gel base and top coat sets
Gel base and top coat should only be used with gel nail polishes.
They can’t be used with ordinary nail polishes.
They are an entirely different type of product.
Unlike the ordinary top and base, gel base and top coat can’t air dry. They need to be cured in a special UV or LED lamp.
Make sure you apply the gel base and the top coat in very thin layers, thinner than the color polish. You’ll prevent peeling that way.
Can I use the gel base and top coat alone, without the color polish?
Normally gel top and base are not meant to be used as standalone products.
Nail techs use them with a couple of layers of color coat sandwiched between these two products.
However, if you want the effect of a clear coat on your nails you can use them alone.
Just apply the base in two layers.
The best gel base and top coat application method
You need to prepare your nail plate for the application of gel polish.
First, it’s a good idea to buff the shine off your natural nails with a buffer to increase gel nail polish adhesion.
But be careful!
Do not overfile your nails!
After that, you should wipe your nails with a lint-free wipe moistened in 99% Isopropyl Alcohol to clean your nails from any remaining debris.
Apply the gel base coat in one thin layer.
Make sure to cap the free edge a bit.
Try to cover the entire nail plate without painting your cuticles or the sides of your fingers. Otherwise, it would be prone to peeling off.
Cure the base coat in a LED or a UV lamp. Do it long enough for the gel to cure well, or it won’t stay.
Then apply 1- 2 thin layers of the color coat. Cure each layer separately.
Some polishes are really sheer and require 3 or even 4 coats of color.
Don’t take too much polish from the bottle or you’ll get bubbles in your color layers.
After you’re done with the color layers, apply 1 thin layer of the top coat and cure it with the lamp too.
But many top coats on this list are no wipe ones. So you don’t need to take an extra step in your gel manicure routine.
What color polish should I use with the best gel base and top coat from this list?
It’s always better to use any gel nail polish together with the gel base and top coat from the same brand. And cure it all with the brand’s own UV/LED lamp
However, if you feel that a certain gel base or top coat is underperforming or you like a certain product more, then you can try to mix and match products. The outcome can often be unpredictable though.
Should I use a UV or an LED lamp?
UV and LED lamps are two different ways to cure gel polish.
UV curing process usually takes about twice as long as the LED process.
So the LED lamp is probably the best for gel polishes.
Again, I’d recommend using the lamp that the manufacturer of your best gel base and top coat makes.
How to remove the gel polish manicure?
There is no need to file the gel polishes off like acrylics.
Gel polishes are soak-off products.
Moisten the cotton buds with the remover.
Wrap each nail with the bud in foil.
Keep it for 10-15 minutes. Remove the foil.
Push the gel polish off your nails gently.
And you’re done!