Expert Advice: How to Avoid Top Coat Shrinkage

Categories: Expert Advice Nail Art Tutorials Nail Care

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You’ve just finished another nail art project, the last layer of top coat has just been applied and you’re sitting back proudly admiring your impeccable work. And then it happens…. “OH NOOOO!!!!” it shrinks! You can literally see your top coat shrinking and lifting the sides of your manicure completely ruining your hard work. Fear not my dear friends! Today our expert, Gena del Portillo, shares her tips for avoiding top coat shrinkage. Read on, guys! – Maria, xx

how to avoid to coat shrinkage

Your favourite top coat is super-fast drying, smoothes the grittiest glitter and it shines for days. But what if it’s shrinking and ruining your nail art masterpiece? Seche Vite, we’re looking at you now! Shrinkage is avoidable, just by following these simple steps:

  1. Always apply top coat to wet polish. A heavy duty top coat penetrates your polish to form one ultra-mega durable layer for a super mani.
  2. Use an angled brush dipped in pure acetone (dab off excess) to clean the sides and around the cuticle before applying your top coat.
  3. When applying a top coat, make sure that the product comes into contact with the nail plate around all edges of the polish and always wrap the free edge of the nail. You can then use an orange stick or angled brush to remove any excess top coat.

Easy, right? What are your favourite tips for avoiding top coat shrinking?

Gena del Portillo.
Photos: Maria Vlezko.

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  • mel

    Seche Vite still shrinks for me – even doing the above tips. Glisten & Glow is my HG now!!

    • Hmm… it worked for me! I noticed a significant difference in shrinkage or no shrinkage at all after I started wrapping my nails. But I also noticed same brand but different bottles behave differently. For instance, one Seche was almost perfect but the third one was shrinking like crazy. It could be the case that we got bottles from the same release?

  • Bee

    I use sally hansens insta dry top coat it’s really good and it dries super fast but you have to wait 2 minutes after applying nail polish before using the top coat otherwise if you press on nail it smudges ???? I haven’t tried other top coats as yet I’ve only use manicares top coat which was good it was nice and shiny.

    • I love Insta Dry top coat too and you’re absolutely right it doesn’t shrinks like Seche Vite but after about a month or two it starts getting bubbles. I guess, it’s something else we can look at later, how to avoid bubbles? If not bubbles Insta Dry would be perfect!

  • OMG that tip #1, blew my mind! I’ve always applied top coat to DRY polish, more specifically I’ve waited until ALL coats are completely dry then applied top coat but it totally makes sense to apply it to WET polish. I’m gonna try it!

  • I think with seche it actually also depends on it’s consistency, when it is thickening it seems to shrink more, so it’s important to have it at the right consistency.

  • Sharon

    I agree with the poster who said to watch consistency with Seche Vite. I add a few drops of OPI thinner every so often to keep it fresh. It definitely shrinks more on the nail as it thickens with exposure to air. Also, I find OPI rapid dry top coat to have the least amount of shrinkage, but it doesn’t apply as nicely as SV and it doesn’t have the nice, shiny “gel nails” look that SV has either. Plus it’s so expensive! Going to try your suggestions above! Thanks.

  • Tabitha

    I guess my question would be, what if your have short nails that aren’t long enough to “wrap”? I love Seche but it causes shrinkage everytime I use it and I can’t “wrap” my nails because they aren’t long enough. I’m trying to grow them out but that’s always been hard for me. Any tips would be great! Thanks!

    • Hi Tabitha, thanks for your question. You should be able to ‘wrap’ even the shortest nails and if any top coat gets on your finger tips just clean it up the same way you clean around your cuticle. But if you feel like your nails need a bit of length, maybe try to grow them a bit? Check this great article by Atima @NailsByNemo where she shares her best tips for growing longer nails: http://sonailicious.com/5-best-tips-long-nails/ (p.s. I agree with every tip – they really work!)

  • jenny

    Awesome!! Seche Vite is the best top coat I’ve ever used and it really started to bother me that it was shrinking. This tip has restored my faith in Seche Vite! Thank you! :D

  • Mandy

    I find that when wrapping my nail tips my top coat pulls the polish away from my tips which defeats the purpose of wrapping my tips in the first place. I always apply Seche Vite on wet polish but still it drags the polish away from my tips, what can I do?

    • Make sure that top coat comes into contact with the nail plate around all edges of the polish and ‘touches’ cuticle. You can remove (with angled brush) excess later, after your manicure has dried. Hope this helps! x

  • Msleah90

    If I clean my nails up before applying the top coat the polish is going to be dry by that time. I’m a slow cleaner. Is it necessary to clean up, first?

    • Definitely clean up before applying your top coat. Because then you can efficiently do the 3rd step (wrap the edges of your manicure with a top coat). It will help you to avoid any potential shrinkage and also make your manicure last longer.

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