The barely-there nail look is a staple for cuticle and nail-bed recovery. This is the best top coat that seems to create shine whilst nourishing.
For me, downtime means almost always one thing for me – organising as many beauty treatments for myself and by myself in the shortest amount of time at home. Trust me, there’s a lot to get through on a self-care day. Striking the balance between pampering and juggling important adulting admin is something I’ve always struggled with. But the easiest place to start? My nails.
Now, I’ll be the first person to admit that I’m not so adventurous when it comes to polish and design. There won’t be any Cardi B-style works of art, or encrusted emblematic designs like Jennifer Lopez’s appearing on my nails anytime soon. Instead, I usually keep it safe with a nude or clear finish. Barely-there nails with just a light lick of polish.
The best type of polish for barely-there, bright-looking nails falls onto the mighty top coat. As top coats go, they’re usually clear in colour and have a similar consistency to the beloved gel-coloured polish. But one important factor to consider is the thickness of the top coat. Our hands and nails go through a lot during the day, and a durable top coat can help protect nails against chipping, splitting and shine-reduction.
Having encountered a few top coats throughout the years, I can safely say one has stood out: Perfect Formula’s Ruby Pink Gel Coat, £26. It’s a thicker-than-normal formula, enriched with keratin to help nails grow longer and feel stronger after a few weeks – all the while looking like a fresh French manicure.
Perfect Formula Ruby Pink Gel Coat, £26
When I use this top coat, not only do my nails look stronger, but once I’ve removed the polish after a week, they feel less brittle and less prone to breaking. The gel coat’s thick, keratin-infused formula means that it protects and nourishes the cuticle from too much physical damage, but it also contains a mild pink tint to bring out skin’s naturally pink undertone behind nails. It’s just enough colour to look like nails have been professionally prepped and primed.
When a stripped-back nail is on the cards, this is always my go-to product.
Main image: courtesy of brand.