Beauty Battle of the Topcoats: Seche Vite vs. Beauty Secrets

There's nothing more annoying those smudges, nicks, and dents that ruin a perfect manicure. The solution to this predicament can only be answered through a good topcoat. Seche Vite is available at beauty supply stores like Ulta and Sally Beauty, but it’s also slowly popping up in drugstores and Target stores around the country. A bottle costs between $9 and $11, depending on where you purchase it. Beauty Secrets Fast Finish 60-Second Polish Dryer is a great alternative to Seche Vite and is cheaper at just $3 a bottle from Sally Club.

Application

Seche Vite works best when applied over really wet nail polish. For example, I'll do one hand of nail polish and topcoat before moving to the second hand. That way, the Seche Vite dries with the nail polish rather than just on top of it, which can sometimes lead to the topcoat peeling off. On the other hand, it's better to wait until the base nail polish is at least partially dry with Beauty Secrets; I do both hands of nail polish before applying top coat. I've found that applying Beauty Secrets on very wet polish results in a less glossy finish. Nonetheless, both nail polishes are similar in consistency--they are very thin, which means they can be applied on wet nail polish without smearing it. But both are prone to thickening, so buying thinner nail polish for either topcoat is a worth investment. For thinner or quick-drying nail polishes, waiting a few minutes might be enough for your nails to dry. But for thicker formulas like Zoya or Ulta brand, your nail polish might still dent after a few minutes.

Topcoat Quality

Both topcoats hold up evenly. Wear time depends a lot on the brand of the base nail polish, and with Essie nail polish I experienced chips after about half a week for both top coats. The only difference between the two brands was that Seche Vite is noticeably more glossy and looks like a thicker topcoat than Beauty Secrets. Seche Vite also tends to peel off more—I've had all the nail polish on one finger disappear while washing the dishes.

Resolution

Seche Vite might have a few bonus points over Beauty Secrets—the gloss and the thicker brush—but those advantages aren't worth the price tag. A 0.5 oz bottle of Beauty Secrets is only $3, and they have a jumbo 2.5 oz size for $6. Just a warning: be sure the bottle you buy has a white cap and is labeled "Fast Finish Polish Dryer." There are different types of Beauty Secrets topcoat that can be easily confused.