9 Best No Wipe Gel Top Coats: Your Buyer’s Guide

no wipe gel top coat, no wipe top coat, gel nails at home, UV top coat

No wipe gel top coats provide longevity to your manicure, protection from fading colors, and a high glossy shine–and skip the typical sticky coating of traditional gel top coat after it’s cured that you normally have to remove with rubbing alcohol.

If you don’t have time for that extra step, want to avoid the drying effects of alcohol, or are working with chrome nail powders that aren’t compatible with old tacky gel top coats–these non-wipe top coats are for you.

What Are the Best No Wipe Gel Top Coats?

chroma gel topper Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Works well with powders
  • Easy to apply
  • High gloss
Price: $18.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Aimeili top gel polish Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Durable if you cure it long enough
  • Lasting shine
  • Self-leveling
Price: $6.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
pretty diva gel polish Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Quick cure
  • Works with powders
  • Gloss won't fade
Price: $8.97 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
onedor gel topper Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Great with holo and chrome powders
  • Low odor
  • High gloss
Price: $9.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Gellen Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Gloss and matte
  • Self-leveling
  • Long-lasting gloss
Price: $9.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
elite top gel Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Works well with powders
  • Full-size bottle
  • Glossy finish
Price: $6.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
born pretty gel Amazon Customer Reviews
  • High gloss
  • Cheap
  • Self-leveling
Price: $11.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
belen gel top coat Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Long-lasting
  • Claims to be non-toxic
  • Full-size bottle
Price: $6.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
get top and base coat from azure beauty Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Top and base set
  • Lower smell
  • Claims to be non-toxic
Price: $8.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Our Unbiased Reviews
  1. 1. Chroma Gel No Wipe Top Coat

    Pros:
    • High glossy finish
    • Works with chrome and holo powders
    • Works with all gel polishes
    • Good formula
    • Full-size bottle
    Cons:
    • Curing times a smidge longer than some
    • Cap shorter to hold
    • Too thick for some

    This is another no wipe top coat that works great with chrome powders. I mean, it’s called Chroma. It’s right there. Beyond the name, this top coat is no wipe and good to go as soon as you’re cured. While curing times have a lot to do with the power of your lamp, the lacquers you choose does also have an effect.

    This one has slightly longer curing times, which means they’re around at industry average (one minute for LED and 1.5 to two minutes for UV) and not in the bracket of ultra-rapid 15-second curing.

    It’s easy to apply, works with all gel polishes and powders, and has a high glassy shine that makes any nail color pop. Chroma has staying power too and is great for preventing edge chipping at the tips of your nails.

    VideoVideo related to chroma gel no wipe top coat2018-10-22T15:05:48-04:00

  2. 2. Aimeili No Wipe Gel Top Coat

    Pros:
    • Super hard and durable
    • Lasting high glossy shine
    • Long-lasting
    Cons:
    • Thicker than some
    • Strong unpleasant smell
    • Brush is too thin

    The Aimeili No Wipe Gel Top Coat is hard, long-lasting, and adds a glass-like shine that’s popular with those who do nail art. The high gloss really showcases your polish. I do some nail stamping and when you’ve finished a design that you’ve put a lot of effort into, you don’t want it chipping right away so I like that Aimeli is one of the longer-lasting top coats on the list.

    It is also one of the top coats with the longest curing times. If you don’t cure this one for the full 60 seconds under LED or two minutes under UV light, it’ll have a tacky or rubbery feeling to it which means it’s not done. No one loves sitting longer under lights, but with how hard and durable this top coat gets, it’s worth it.

  3. 3. PrettyDiva No Wipe Gel Top Coat

    Pros:
    • Works great with chrome powders
    • Won’t dull or yellow over time
    • Formaldehyde free
    • Cures fast
    Cons:
    • Doesn’t smell great while wet
    • Not as high of a gloss as others
    • Not self-leveling

    The PrettyDiva No Wipe Gel Top Coat is one of the top choices of nail artists for doing chrome, mirror, or powder holographic nails. It works well with nail powders and won’t dull their shine when applied over them which tends to happen with some top coats.

    It’s truly no wipe. You won’t have any residue or tackiness to contend with. The formula is easy to work with and goes on well. I see this, and a lot of other top coat brands, bragging that they have such a large bottle, but at 15 milliliters, they’re basically on par with standard nail polish bottles. Sorry, friend, but that’s the average size.

    That said, it’s a good size and will last you a long time. It cures very quickly under both UV and LED, with curing times around 30 seconds, depending on your lamp, and won’t yellow as you wear it. If you’ve been struggling to get chrome or holo powders to work, you might want to give this one a shot.

  4. 4. OneDor No Wipe Top Coat

    Pros:
    • High gloss finish
    • Works with chrome and holo powders
    • Formaldehyde free
    • No overbearing chemical smell
    Cons:
    • Long curing times
    • Not as long-lasting as some
    • Best for nail art

    The No Wipe Top Coat from OneDor is another top coat that works well with chrome and holo nail powders. I featured this is my best gel top coat brands article. It’s formaldehyde-free and has a much less offensive odor than a lot of the other top coats on here.

    The formula is easy to work with and finishes with a very high gloss. It says to cure one minute under LED and two minutes under UV, but depending on your light, you may need to go longer to really get that rock hard surface you’re looking for. The OneDor No Wipe Top Coat won’t leave a tacky film, but if you don’t cure it long enough it will have a rubbery feeling. So if UV light exposure is a concern, stick to a top coat with faster curing times. This is the no wipe top coat used in this raindrop effect video.

    VideoVideo related to onedor no wipe top coat2018-10-22T14:51:52-04:00

  5. 5. Gellen No Wipe Matte Top Coat & High Gloss Shiny Top Coat Set

    Pros:
    • You get both matte and high gloss top coats
    • Long-lasting
    • Easy to work with formula
    Cons:
    • Smaller bottles
    • Strong smell that fades quickly
    • Matte top coats chip faster than others

    If you love having options, this package set of no wipe top coats is a good place to start. You get both the Gellen No Wipe High Gloss Shiny Top Coat and Gellen No Wipe Matte Top Coat. Besides the fact that no wipe top coats are easier and faster, nail art is the a perfect reason to get these two no wipe top coats together.

    You can do some really incredible things when you use glossy and matte top coats on the same nail, like a raindrop effect for example. Check out this YouTube video of Simply Nailogical applying multi-chrome raindrop nails. Another interesting look is creating a French manicure look by using either the contrasting matte or gloss on your tips.

    And when you’re doing nail art like this, you really don’t want to be messing with that tacky residue. Gellen top coats are a thicker formula that prevents it from running into your cuticles, but you just want to keep an eye on the thickness of your layers. They have fairly standard curing times and good staying power. The bottles are smaller at eight milliliters each, but for the price that’s not a bad deal.

  6. 6. Elite99 No Wipe Gel Top Coat

    Pros:
    • Works great with chrome
    • Nice glossy finish
    • Formula is easy to work with
    Cons:
    • Slow shipping
    • Longer curing times
    • Thin formula

    If you love chrome powders, this No Wipe Gel Top Coat from Elite99 is a good option for you. This is another top coat with longer curing times at 60 seconds for LED and two minutes for UV.

    If you skimp on the cure times, you’re more likely to get dents and scratches on your polish which we really don’t want. It has a long-lasting shine to and it layers on thin which is nice when if you’re building up several layers beneath it.

    The 15-milliliter bottle will last you a long time, but do be aware that shipping times have been known to also be longer than others.

     

  7. 7. Born Pretty No Wipe Top Coat

    Pros:
    • Very affordable
    • Nice gloss
    • Self-leveling
    • Won’t flood cuticles
    Cons:
    • Thicker than most
    • Not great for chrome powders
    • Strong unpleasant smell
    • Shipping can be slow

    If you’re on a tight budget, you may want the Born Pretty No Wipe Top Coat. It’s a 10 milliliter bottle which is a little smaller than an Essie polish bottle, but not a sample size. This top coat is definitely no wipe so you won’t find any residue when curing and it has average curing times.

    Born Pretty’s top coat is very thick, as all their top coats tend to be, edging over into almost gooey. A heads up, when you look at it on the brush, it doesn’t look crystal clear. It has a foggy, cloudiness to it that is going to make you nervous.

    Don’t fret. On your nail after being cured, this top coat is clear and glossy. It does tend to create a slightly thicker layer, but it self-levels very well and quickly so that nothing seems uneven. I wouldn’t recommend this one for chrome or mirror powders, however, as that normally invisible cloudiness tend to make chromes look a little dull under the Born Pretty No Wipe Top Coat. For all other things gel though, this is a great budget top coat.

  8. 8. Belen Gel Polish No Clean Top Coat

    Pros:
    • Long-lasting
    • Easy to work with
    • Free of formaldehyde, toluene, and DBP
    • Claims to be non-toxic
    Cons:
    • Loses its shine quicker than others
    • Average cure times
    • Formula a little thick

    Belen Top Coat claims to be non-toxic and made with harmless natural resins. 

    Unlike standard nail polish, you don’t often see ingredients list with gel polishes, which I don’t love because I like to be able to see what exactly I’m putting on my body. So I can’t tell you what exactly is in this no wipe top coat when the brand claims to be non-toxic.

    I can say that it is three free–it does not contain formaldehyde, toluene, or DBP which is really good and something I look for in my nail polishes. It’s a good sized bottle at 15 milliliters and the formula isn’t too thick or too thin.

    Cure times on this seem to be heavily dependent on the power of your lamp so let’s call this one around average for curing time. It’s durable and has a nice gloss, but that shiny finish tends to fade faster on this top coat than on others.

  9. 9. Azure Beauty No Wipe Top & Base Coat

    Pros:
    • Includes top coat and base coat
    • Claims to be non-toxic
    • Easy to work with
    • Smell isn’t overpowering
    Cons:
    • Longer curing itmes
    • Can show brushstrokes
    • Won't self-level

    This Azure Beauty package of top coat and base coat is affordable, has a great formula, and cures to a smooth glossy shine with no tacky residue. The base has average to long cure times at one minute under LED and two to three minutes under UV bulbs and the top coat may take a tiny bit longer.

    It isn’t the most self-leveling of all the top coats so try to be mindful of your brushstrokes, but as long as you’re not digging into your nails with the brush you should be fine. They’re full-sized gel bottles so they should last you a good while. Azure gel uses a natural resin and claims to be non-toxic, so if the smell normally bothers you, this might be a top coat to try.

How do gel nails work?

Regular polish works in the same way that most paints work: pigments that are normally solid are dissolved in a solvent and become liquid. When liquid nail lacquer is exposed to air those solvents evaporate, returning the pigments to their natural hard state.

It generally takes up to 24 hours for regular nail polish to be completely dry which is why you can still dent your polish after it feels try to the touch.

But that's regular nail polish. Gel works differently. Gel polishes are made such that they will never air dry completely. It's like if you put out a cup of tea and a cup of olive oil--they're both liquids but one of them is going to eventually evaporate into nothing and one won't.

Gel polishes contain pigments and photoinitiators which are chemicals that react to UV light. When UV light hits liquid gel nail polish, it begins a "curing" process.

The photoinitiators react by breaking open which causes a chemical reaction to begin inside the polish that converts the liquid resins into hard polymers. Examples of other polymers, to give you an idea of what all that jargon means, would be shellac or amber.

The liquid actually becomes rock hard. That's why regular nail polish bottles are see-through, but gel polish bottles are opaque. If they were transparent, the polish would harden in the bottle and become useless little paperweights.

But you need the UV light to trigger this process and while in theory sticking your wet gel nails in the sun will cure it, it's going to take a long, long time. Specialized nail lamps utilize UV and LED bulbs that can cure your nails in under a minute.

Can you really do them at home?

For a while gel was only accessible at a salon where they had special lamps to cure your nails under. These days, UV and LED nail lamps are not only affordable, but some of them are even small enough to fit in your purse.

These days, home gel manicures are very doable and will save you hundreds of dollars by avoiding salon prices.

It's important to note when doing a gel manicure at home, that a salon manicure may still last longer. Think of it this way, if you're at home with all the tools and ingredients to make a cheeseburger, you can make a killer cheeseburger. But give a trained chef those same materials and they can probably make a better one.

How do you take them off?

For polish to be able to stick to your nails for two to three weeks, it's got to be really stuck on there. It's going to take some deep soaking in acetone or gel remover for 10 to 20 minutes for those polymers to loosen enough that you can remove the polish. 

The temptation to pick at peeling nails is strong. Please try to resist. Picking can rip up layers of your nails, weakening them. It can also create little pockets for water to seep under your nail polish and become a breeding ground for bacteria or even fungus. Once they start to peel, soak them off. Also, a salon can also do this for you if you don't want to mess with it.

Aren't they bad for your nails?

There's loads of debate on this. Here's my take: putting on gel nail polish is equally bad for your nails as regular polish. It's chemicals, your body would be happier if you didn't, but it's pretty and I'm not going to stop.

A big however: removing gel nail polish is way harsher on your nails compared to regular polish. Soaking in acetone is drying to your skin and nails and the removal process can weaken or thin your nail bed.

Gel polish isn't quite as rough on your nails as having acrylic nails, but it's in the same ballpark. For some, that's totally worth it for a chip-free two-week manicure and for others it isn't. It's totally your call.

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