Creative musings in bright colors

Top Coat Comparison

A month or so back, I was sent a top coat to review by Glisten & Glow. After a month of use, I am finally ready to report back! The top coat is called HK Girl.

Prior to receiving this top coat, I had primarily used drugstore brand top coats, mostly Revlon and NYC. Although I liked Revlon a tad better, it was $6, versus $1 for NYC, and since I go through top coat at a prodigious rate, I figured the extra $5 was just not worth it. Then entered HK Girl.

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How it stacks up:
Dry Time – HK Girl takes ~2 minutes to be dry, and ~10 to be totally dry. Yes, I mean that. If you bump your hand into something after 2 minutes, nothing shows. You can wash dishes after 10. Holy crap. In comparison, NYC and Revlon both take 10-15 to be “dry” and more like 45 to be really dry.

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Shine – HK Girl goes on a bit thin, so you might need more coats to achieve a smooth shine if you are using glitter. I found that 3 coats of HK Girl is about equal to 2 coats of NYC. Both dry to a very high gloss.

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Wear Time, Tip Wear – On me, HK Girl has lasted up to 5 days with almost no tip wear and no chipping. Average is 3-4 days. Revlon and NYC have lasted 5-6, but they show significantly more tip wear. It’s actually interesting…HK Girl has little-to-no tip wear, but actually shrinks from the base of the nail. I get top coat and the last applied layer of color pulling up from the cuticle edge of my nail! None of my other top coats do that, they tend to pull from the free edge. This means that my nails look a bit funny, but that the polish doesn’t chip as easily and I don’t break off the top of my nail as much!

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Smudging – Like all nail artists, one of my biggest fears is smudging my art when I add top coat. Sure, you always try to float on the top coat and apply it quickly, but the truth is that fails often. Both my Revlon and to a slightly lesser extent my NYC smudged polish, especially very thin lines. HK Girl does not. I don’t know why. If you try (and yes, I did, for the sake of SCIENCE), you can make it smudge lines. But the truth is, for preserving lines without smudging them, this is the best thing I’ve tried!

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Color – HK Girl does not dull holographic polish. Yes, you read that right. It might even enhance the sparkle! Both of my other top coats tend to dull holo polish down to simply silver-ish glitter. It is so bad, that if I know I plan to wear a holo polish I will forgo top coat. HK Girl is amazing here, and I feel comfortable top coating any holographic polish now! I can’t speak to how it works over foils, because I don’t own any foil. But it works great for holo polish!

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Smell – I know, Eva, what is SMELL doing here? Well, I had to add it. The truth is, HK Girl STINKS. I don’t know why. I have a few smelly polishes, but none are quite as bad as this in terms of pure chemical scent. The smell disappears when the polish dries, but while you are using it, it really does smell funny!

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Overall: I love HK Girl, primarily for nail art and holographic polish. My current uses are over any thin polish (if I didn’t put on a bunch of layers so I don’t have to worry about pulling from the cuticle revealing a different color), over delicate nail art or stamping, over anything holo, and to dry a layer fast. What this means is that whenever I need to use striping tape or stamp, I reach for HK Girl. One coat, 5 minutes, and I am ready for the next step! SO AWESOME. However, if I want to cover glitter polish and make it lie flat, or I used many layers of polish at my cuticle edge, I reach for NYC. I am really glad I own it, and I will be buying a second bottle when this one runs out. It is invaluable for speeding up nail art time, and I love that I finally own a top coat that does not dull my holographic polishes. It is worth it for the smell!

If you want to try HK Girl by Glisten & Glow for yourself, you can pick it up from Glisten & Glow for $6.99, or Llarowe for $7.25. Happy polishing!

Comments on: "Top Coat Comparison" (9)

  1. LaraLeaf said:

    HK Girl is the topcoat I am using now. I used to use Seche Vite. I find the HK Girl doesn’t smear as much as SV. However, today, I did some dots that were three (colors) deep (dot over dot over dot) and one did get smeared a bit, even though I tried to float the tc over it. I haven’t noticed any pulling but then, I never did notice that with the SV (so many people say it shrinks the polish) either. I love these fast drying polishes! I like a thick layer of it even if it means two or three coats – I just like the glassy feel it has.

  2. This sounds great! And gosh, I love all the nail looks you tried it over, especially that orange and gold one 🙂

  3. What polishes did you use in that first photo (do you have a post on it?) It is amazing! Love those colors! HK TC isn’t working for me, but this post is encouraging me to try it again.

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