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Acrylic nails get their name from the chemical, methacrylate, which is created when monomer liquid is mixed with polymer powder. When the chemicals combine they form long fibers that harden into a coating resembling the natural fingernail. Acrylic nails are strong, can be fixed at home if they break and soak off. But they can damage your natural nails.
The Top Coat
The top coat is the final layer of protection applied to your nails. It helps prevent breaks, chips and splitting by sealing the polish and protecting the nail. It's usually the slowest drying coat; however, a UV top coat and lamp can speed up drying time. The top coat can be applied throughout the weeks between manicures to keep your nails looking good and prevent polish from chipping.
Top Coats that Harden Without a UV Light
There are several top coats that harden without the use of a UV light. ELFA No Chip Acrylic Sealer works with both painted and airbrushed acrylic nails. When dry, this top coat is a super hard sealer that will protect polish from chipping. Artisan UltraShine Super Gloss Top Coat will dry without a UV light and give you a high-gloss, mirror-like shine. With Artisan UltraShine you get shine as well as durable protection against chips and peeling.
Top Coats that Set with Any UV Light
If you need fast drying and a hard finish, the top coats cured with a UV lamp are the way to go. Artisan Touch N Seal UV Dry Topcoat brushes on easily and has no odor. This top coat works on both natural and artificial nails and penetrates through the layers of nail polish to create a protective coating that's guaranteed to extend the life of your manicure, be non-yellowing and prevent chipping. It cures under any UV light source. 3x UV Sina Topcoat is new on the market. It can be applied to acrylic, gel or natural nails and dries to a durable, shiny finish that won't yellow when cured under any UV light.
Top Coats that Set with a 9 Volt UV Light
Top coats set with a 9 volt UV lamp have the advantage of being quick drying products that harden and protect. Nailite offers several versions. Seal It is a top coat UV gel sealer that cures to a high shine with a durable finish. It can be applied to acrylic as well as gel nails. Seal It dries in about two minutes under UV light. High Gloss Tackless Sealer is a thin gel that's used over acrylic or gel nails needing to be resistant to chemicals. It's perfect for nail techs and hair dressers and dries tack free with a hard, high shine in two minutes under a 9 volt UV. Thin Gel Coat dries to a high shine in 60 seconds under the UV light and can be applied over polished acrylic nails, soak off UV gel and natural nails. Gentle Gloss, a newly reformulated soak off UV top coat, provides a high gloss finish that lasts four to six weeks. Gentle Gloss is only found in professional salons and can be used as sealer for acrylic nails. It will soak off in less than two minutes.