Sunday, March 24, 2013

Wear Test: OPI Top Coat (and Drip Dry) vs China Glaze Fast Forward

Hello all, I'm going to do something a bit different today and review a couple of different products that I've been using recently.

The first top coat I bought was OPI's normal top coat (previously I'd been using a clear polish because I was a nail noob, but hey, it worked) and I've been using that since then.  I did end up getting a lot of dings in my polish while it was still wet because I'd brush my hands against various things by accident - which was very annoying.

Then OPI Drip Dry came into my life, which was kind of exciting because polish drying faster could only be good.  I used it the first time on my cling wrap mani and was very impressed with how it works (though, be careful not to get any of the drip dry onto polish that hasn't been top coated - it'll make it go gloopy and stringy like some kind of weird worm.  I know this from experience).

However, I really really wanted to have a quick dry top coat.  I don't think that you can get Seche Vite easily in Australia (my friend told me that you can't ship it in, either), so I looked up some alternatives and came up with China Glaze Fast Forward top coat.  I knew a place that sold it so after some research, I went and picked it up.  As soon as I tried it, I was amazed at how quickly it dried and have loved it ever since; but was a bit worried at how quickly (within two days) my manicures chipped when I used it.

So, because I like to know things, I decided to do a wear test between the OPI top coat + drip dry and the China Glaze to see whether it really was the top coat's fault that my manis chipped, or whether it was just the polishes.

I started off with OPI Natural Nail Base Coat and two coats of Sinful Colors Feeling Great (I wanted to use a polish that wasn't OPI or China Glaze).  I then topped my pinky, middle finger and thumb with China Glaze Fast Forward Top Coat and my other two fingers with OPI Top Coat and the drip dry.  On my right hand, I reversed the order so that I could have a really thorough test going.

Results are under the break!

Wear comparison
Everything was fine on day one, no chipping or smudging or anything.  By day two, I had some tip wear on my right index finger (though, that nail was a bit of a nubbin and I didn't really wrap the tips properly) but no other signs of wear.
At the end of day 3, I had minor signs of tip wear on my left ring finger (OPI), middle finger (CG) and index finger (OPI) and on my right ring finger (CG), index finger (CG) and thumb (OPI).  I also had a chip on my left thumb.
Overall the wear on the nails with China Glaze Fast Forward is more pronounced, but it's barely visible and not noticeable from an arm's length away.  This mani could have lasted another day and still been presentable.
Thus, I come to the conclusion that my horrible chipping experiences were not due to the Fast Forward top coat, but rather the polishes themselves.  Hoorah!

OPI Top Coat + Drip Dry
 - Thicker than Fast Forward, would probably be better for glitter.
 - Better wear time than Fast Forward.
 - The drip dry has stuff in it that moisturises your cuticles nicely!
 - Easy to apply.
 - I've found that using the Drip Dry causes my top coat to bubble; I haven't heard that anyone else has had this problem, though.
 - The top coat by itself isn't a fast-dry.

China Glaze Fast Forward Top Coat
 - Fast drying to a high shine!
 - Easy to apply.
 - Wear time is worse than the OPI, but not by much.
 - After further testing, I've found that this top coat causes cracks in your polish on the side of the nail if the polish is layered on thickly (I've gotten cracks when wearing three thick coats).  This cracking hasn't damaged my natural nail, but it looks pretty crappy.

In conclusion: I like the China Glaze top coat much more than the OPI combo mainly because I can put it on and then I'm done, no faffing around with the Drip Dry, and also because I've gotten more solid results (no bubbling etc) with the China Glaze.  Other people online have had better results using the Drip Dry, while others hate the feeling of the oily cuticle moisturiser on their nails, so I guess it's a personal preference.
However, if you're wearing the China Glaze Fast Forward, I recommend only wearing it if you've got two coats of polish or three thin coats on, because I've experienced cracking.  Again, this may just be me, but keep it in mind if you're going to use this top coat.

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