I'll let you in on a secret: I haven't paid for a manicure in years. And it's not because I'm a beauty editor and get my nails done on the regular for free (nope!). I haven't paid for a professional manicure because I've completely and utterly mastered them myself. My salon-worthy manicures aren't a product of spending hours trying to perfect my craft, either. The secret to really nailing (excuse the pun) my at-home mani all comes down to a humble gel topcoat that costs less than £10.
Working in the beauty industry means I've had access to many a nail technician in my life. Whether it's on a shoot, backstage at fashion week or within an actual nail salon. But there's one product I started to notice all the best nail artists use: Seche Vite Topcoat.
For years I'd avoided painting my own nails because no matter how long I left them to dry before going to bed (we're talking hours; not minutes), I'd wake up the next morning with crease marks, air bubbles and fingerprints in my previously perfect polish.
But around five years ago, after finishing up on a photo shoot, I was heading to a brand dinner and realised my nails were a mess. I had a spare bottle of nail varnish lying around in my bag and asked the nail artist on the shoot if she had a topcoat I could use. That's when she handed me Seche Vite Topcoat. Since then, I haven't painted my nails without it.
Five minutes after locking in the colour with a thick coat of the gel-like polish, my nails were dry to the touch. Anyone who paints their nails will know that for the first hour (at least) after painting your nails, you have to walk around like a T. rex, avoiding any kind of contact—but not with Seche Vite. Of course, you have to be careful (opening a can for example, probably wouldn't be advisable), but in general, your nails are completely dry in 10 minutes.
Not only that, but once your nails are dry, they look perfect. No lines, no fingerprints, no dreaded bubbles. People often ask me where I get my nails done, and even now—years later—I still feel smug when I tell them I painted them myself. It's foolproof.
Since its launch in the UK, over a million bottles of Seche Vite have been sold, and it's won countless beauty awards. It's used by practically every nail technician on celebrity shoots, on the red carpet and during fashion week. Plus, it was used to keep Kate Middleton's manicure long-lasting on the day of her wedding.
But what is it that actually makes the topcoat so good? Well, the patented formaldehyde-free formula allows the polish to actually penetrate through the nail lacquer down to the base coat, forming a single solid coating over the nail plate for a much more durable finish. It features a UV protection barrier, meaning your polish won't fade or discolour and it doesn't contain nitrocellulose, an ingredient that can cause yellowing.
Celebrity manicurist Michelle Class, who created this beautiful burgundy mani for Lupita Nyong'o, swears by this topcoat. "The go-to in my kit is my trustworthy Seche Vite," she says. "You can't beat it—super shiny, super quick-drying and it doesn't streak the colour when you use it."
Nail technician Maddy Rooke, who works on the manicures for shows like Dancing on Ice, is also a dan. "I swear by Seche Vite," she tells us. "It makes your manicure dry really quickly! It adds an unbelievable gloss and ensures your mani lasts and lasts."
Nail artist and celebrity manicurist Lucy Tucker has created manis for everyone from Jourdan Dunn and Sienna Miller to the Spice Girls and Lady Gaga. "I always advise using a really good topcoat over nail varnish," she says. "I recommend Seche Vite. The patented formula allows it to penetrate through the nail lacquer to the base coat, forming a single solid coating over the nail plate for a much more durable finish."
Working backstage at fashion week (and with clients like Kate Winslet and Cate Blanchett) means that nail expert Jessica Hoffman knows how important is to get nails looking good, fast. "Seche Vite is the quickest, glossiest finish topcoat I know. I wouldn't dare be without it," she says.
Whether you're a nail painting novice or a gel-mani addict, I urge you to try doing your own nails with a slick of Seche Vite on top. Trust me—you won't regret it. Keep scrolling to shop the cult topcoat and other products from the Seche Vite range.