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11 Best No Wipe Gel Top Coats: Updated!

no wipe gel top coat

123rf.com (Igor Stepovik)

A no wipe gel top coat provides longevity to your manicure, protection from fading colors, a high glossy shine, and skip the annoying sticky coating of even the best gel top coat brands.

If you don’t have time for that extra step of scrubbing your fresh nails to remove the tacky layer, 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–there’s no substitute for non-wipe top coats.

Pair these with a strong gel polish base coat to make your mani last.

What Are the Best No Wipe Gel Top Coats?

Kiara Sky top coat bottle Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Easy to work with
  • Great for powders
  • Full-size bottle
Price: $14.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Bottle of Mia Secret top coat Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Trusted by professionals
  • Full-size bottle
  • Made in the USA
Price: $13.89 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Top coat bottle with red cap Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Amazing formula
  • Full-size bottle
  • Salon-grade
Price: $9.95 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Pretty Diva top coat bottle Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Quick cure
  • Works with powders
  • Gloss won't fade
Price: $8.95 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Black open bottle of top coat Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Great with holo and chrome powders
  • Low odor
  • High gloss
Price: $7.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Gotti Nails bottle of top coat Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Extremely high gloss
  • Used by professionals
  • Good for beginners
Price: $11.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Pink Aimeili gel bottle 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
DND base and top coat duo Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Top and base duo set
  • Made in America
  • Long-lasting
Price: $13.95 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Makart gel top coats Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Gloss and matte
  • Self-leveling
  • Comes with base coat
Price: $14.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
three born pretty gel polish bottles Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Comes with base and matte topper
  • Cheap
  • Self-leveling
Price: $5.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Black CHROMA Gel bottle Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Works well with powders
  • Easy to apply
  • High gloss
Price: $18.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Our Unbiased Reviews
  1. 1. EDITOR’S CHOICE: Non-Wipe Top Coat by Kiara Sky

    Pros:
    • Trusted salon-grade brand
    • Good choice for chrome powders
    • Full-size
    • Awesome formula
    Cons:
    • Has a strong smell
    • Too thick for some
    • Long curing times

    Kiara Sky’s Non-Wipe Top Coat was featured as one of the overall best gel top coats and it belongs here as well. This one is known for working well with chrome powders and providing a bright intense shine that lasts and lasts. 

    It has a slightly thicker than average formula which allows for great control and a plump finish. Because it can be thicker you want to make sure you’re curing it for a long enough time so you may need to cure it slightly longer than the box recommends.

  2. 2. Mia Secret Finish Gel Ultra Shine

    Pros:
    • American made
    • Long-lasting
    • Stain-resistant
    Cons:
    • No flexibility
    • Stronger smell
    • Can get cloudy after a while

    Mia Secret has been a trusted name in salons for years when it comes to acrylic and their Finish Gel Ultra Shine is a great pick for topping off a set of acrylics or making your gel manicures last and last. 

    This gel dries super hard. It looks and feels like glass. This is great because that strength is going to extend the length of your manicure. This makes sense on extensions but if you’re applying it to natural nails that have a lot of bend in them, this top coat will not flex with you and may lift prematurely.

  3. 3. GelFinity No Wipe Top by Kupa

    Pros:
    • Perfect formula
    • Trusted by nail techs
    • Easy to work with
    • Full-size bottle
    • No tackiness at all
    Cons:
    • Longer curing itmes
    • Not as high of a shine
    • Shines dulls with wear

    This GelFinity No Wipe Top has a great formula and cures to a smooth glossy shine with absolutely no tacky residue. It’s a brand that’s trusted by nail technicians and its just-right formula allows for precision application.

    It’s a full-sized bottle so you get a good amount of product for the price. This one has average to long cure times at 90 seconds under LED and two to three minutes under UV bulbs.

  4. 4. PrettyDiva No Wipe 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.

  5. 5. 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
  6. 6. Gotti Nails No Wipe Pro Top Coat

    Pros:
    • Full-size bottle
    • Coverage pigment
    • Animal cruelty-free
    • Thick enough to cover nail art
    Cons:
    • Too thick for some
    • Reports of chipping
    • Extra thick layers can make it lift

    If your priority is flashing, high-gloss gel nails, then Gotti Nails’ No Wipe Pro Top Coat might be for you. It cures to a glass-like shine that will catch the light and the eye of anyone around you.  This is likely why it’s the choice for a lot of nail techs. 

    One neat feature is that the gel actually had a UV reactive dye in it that’s invisible except for underneath your UV/LED light. This way you’ll be able to tell at a glance if you have proper coverage or not. Sort of like those color-changing sunblocks so you can be sure you didn’t miss a spot. 

    The formula is quite thick. This is a plus for some as it won’t flood your cuticles and it’s tall enough to fully cover nail gems and other nail art. For others, it’s just too thick. Applying a thin layer requires some effort and, depending on your other products and your prep work, a thick top coat can contract as it cures and causes the polish to lift.

  7. 7. Aimeili No Wipe 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.

  8. 8. No-Cleanse Top & Base by DND

    Pros:
    • Made in America
    • Top and base combo set
    • Salon-grade product
    • Lasts longer than some
    • Good if you don't like thick formulas
    • Affordable
    Cons:
    • Can be a little on the thin side for some
    • Bottle size not mentioned
    • Might not want the base coat

    If the most important thing to you is how long your manicure lasts, go with this Top and Base Coat Set by DND. DND’s base coat is known for superior staying power and resists lifting. The top coat is no-wipe and has a shine that won’t fade on you.

    The formula is on the thinner side so you aren’t dealing with goopy gel but it can move and shift with your hand so be sure to either cure each nail as you do them or flash cure them to prevent the gel from flooding your cuticles. 

    I like that DND products are manufactured here in America.

  9. 9. Makartt No Wipe Matte Top Coat, High Gloss Top Coat, & Base Coat Set

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

    If you love having options, this three-piece No Wipe Top Coat Set from Makartt is a good place to start. It comes with a no wipe glossy top coat, matte top coat, and matching base coat. Besides the fact that no wipe top coats are easier and faster, nail art is the 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. Makartt 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 10 milliliters each, but for the price that’s not a bad deal.

  10. 10. Born Pretty No Wipe Top, Matte Top & Base Coat

    Pros:
    • Very affordable
    • Nice gloss
    • Self-leveling
    • Won’t flood cuticles
    • Come with matching base and matte top coat
    Cons:
    • Thicker than most
    • Not great for chrome powders
    • Strong unpleasant smell
    • May not want extras

    If you’re on a tight budget, you may want the Born Pretty No Wipe Top and Base Coat Set. It’s three seven-milliliter bottles which is smaller than traditional bottles, so don’t be surprised, but for the money, it’s a good deal.

    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 that needs longer curing times, but it self-levels very well and quickly so that nothing seems uneven. It’s great for polish but 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. For all other things gel though, this is a great budget top coat that comes with a base coat to match as well as a matte top coat.

  11. 11. 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

    Chroma Gel works beautifully with chrome powders. I mean, it’s called Chroma. It’s right there in the name.

    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 do 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

Why Would You Want a No Wipe Top Coat?

When gel cures, it leaves behind what's called an inhibition layer that's sticky and unpleasant. Typically you remove this tacky layer by rubbing at your nails with isopropyl alcohol to remove it.

With no wipe top coats, you can skip that all together because there is no tacky layer.

Sure, it's just one one extra step but no-wipe top coats aren't more expensive than even the best gel top coats and they prevent you from having to douse your cuticles with drying alcohol.

What About Chrome Powders?

The other reason you'd want a no cleanse option is for working with chrome and nail powders. In order to apply and stay properly, they require a no wipe surface.

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, including polygel and solid cream gel, 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. The FDA says any risk from UV nail lamps is low. In my opinion, gel nail polish is about as 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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