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For my recent manicure I brought back the crackle trend to combine it with gel polish from Gelish. I used China Glaze Crackle Glaze in Cracked Medallion, thinking it would look nice with Gelish Gardenia My Heart. The final look is pretty cool, but I think a bigger difference in the base color and the crackle color would have been more eye-catching.
Either way this design is easy to do on a gel base. After applying and curing all my color layers and top coat, I buffed the nail I wanted to put the crackle polish on. Then I applied a traditional polish base coat. After it dried, I proceeded with the crackle polish as usual. After that had dried for a few minutes, I used a traditional polish top coat, but you could also use another layer of gel top coat.
In response to a co-worker’s question about 1) using gel top coat on RNP and 2) the wear time of that vs. RNP top coat, I conducted a wear test on these products for one week. Here are the results, and they’re pretty much what you would have expected…
On my right hand (left hand in the above pic)-
- Beauty Secrets base coat (Sally Beauty Brand)
- OPI “You’re A Doll” on pink, ring and pointer fingers, stamped (I can’t remember what I used to stamp)
- OPI “Brand New Skates” on the middle finger
- Kiss Colors “Soft Gray” topped with China Glaze “Haute Metal” on the thumbs
- Gelish Top it Off
On my left hand-
I gave myself a manicure with RNP per the above and allowed it to dry overnight. Approximately 10-12 hours after the manicure I applied RNP top coat to the nails on my left hand and gel top coat to the right. As you can see, I experienced no crinkling or warping of the RNP under the gel top coat. I believe application was successful because I allowed the RNP to cure sufficiently before applying gel top coat. I did not do any maintenance to the manicure for 1 week. Note that, early on in the week, I had an unfortunate run-in with a Tupperware container and bent but did not break the pointer and middle finger nails on the right hand. This caused some chipping on the right middle fingernail that otherwise would not have been so pronounced. Also, I broke the Tupperware container lid!
As you can see, wear was slightly worse on the nail tips on my right hand, though there was tip wear on both hands. This was to be expected since I am right-handed. Overall both manicures were durable with minimal tip wear for the 7 day test period. Gel top coat appears to have performed only slightly better than regular top coat would over RNP.
To answer the questions posed at the beginning of this post: 1) Yes, you can apply gel top coat over and RNP manicure, provided that you allow the RNP to cure for several hours first. 2) Gel top coat performed slightly better than regular top coat did (especially if you take into consideration the Tupperware container incident). Gel top coat is also more flexible than RNP top coat. I wonder if the chipping caused by the incident would have been as bad if the whole manicure on my right hand had been gel.
If you don’t want to stop using RNP or are interested in getting slightly longer wear with your RNP, I would recommend trying a gel top coat with it. However, you can’t expect it to be as good as the wear time you would get with a gel manicure. For that reason I would suggest that, if you’re not heavily invested in RNP, start transitioning to gel polish… unless you like changing your RNP every couple days to match your outfit, mood, occasion, etc. If you’re looking for 1 week+ wear time, gel is the way to go.