Topcoat battle! HK Girl VS Pro-FX quick dry!

I'm sure that every polish geek has a half a handful (or plenty more) topcoats - I myself have my go-to quick dry, a thicker one for chunky or unsmooth finishes, some back-up "lesser" quick drys, and a matte.  Having that many, though, honestly means we're all still looking for MORE!

For a couple of years now, my holy grail TC has been HK Girl.  I'd been pretty happy with INM Out the Door for a year or so, but HKG dries much faster to a harder (aka more chip-resistant) finish, so I made that switch around the time we started blogging here.  I've never had the love affair with Seche that plenty do - it seems more stinky to me and I get shrinkage often enough to have never bought more after my first 99 cent mini of it.  I've seen a few blog posts mentioned some behemoth from WalMart, and remembered to pick up a bottle when driven to the commercial den of iniquity by a wild goose chase for multichrome notebooks, which brings us to...

Topcoat Battle!!!!

The reigning champ - fave of many nailistas - is HK Girl!

The too-good-to-be-true contender - Pro FX quick-dry in a whopping 75ml round bottle!  Seriously folks, if this stuff works, it's $5 for the equivalent of FIVE full-size bottles, absolutely worth giving a whirl to.


The experiment - my last mani had plenty of test factors.  I used 2 extremely different polishes - one shimmer/metallic OCW and one 3-coat jelly, from 2 different makers.  All nails had the same base coat, one layer of topcoat over the base polish, one stamp in white, then a final layer of the same topcoat.  HK Girl went on my ring & index fingers, while Pro-FX was the thumb, middle, and pinky on both hands (i.e., switch every other nail).  This meant that both of the 2 different base polishes had some nails done with each topcoat.  Also, my thumb and index, the 2 "hardest working" (most likely to chip) nails, took a turn with the both topcoats.

HK Girl is of medium thickness, flows nicely and dries shiny, and dries very very fast.  It does get goopy about 2/3 of the way through the bottle, but can be thinned with regular Sally's polish thinner and continues to work at least 75% as well thereafter.  I've completely used at least a half dozen bottles of this and love it.  This experiment was done with a brand-new bottle.

Pro-FX feels a bit thinner than HK Girl, about the same thickness as INM Out The Door or Sally Hansen Insta-dri in the red bottle.  Though the wand is super long to reach the bottom of that huge bottle, I didn't have any trouble at all with product dripping down the wand onto my nails, and had no awkwardness controlling what should have felt like a weirdly huge brush.  Bonus: it's a noticeably very low-odor product, with minimal nail polish chemical smell.

L-to-R:  HK Girl, Pro-FX, HK Girl, Pro-FX
Both topcoats when used over the base polish were dry to touch in less than one minute, and fine for stamping over within 5 minutes.  The major difference in performance was smearing of the white stamping: if I used a heavier bead to "float" over the design in a single pass without the brush touching the nail, the smearing was minor and visible in macro pics (see above) but not at arm's length.  With any touching of the brush to the design or ANY re-working of the same site, though, it was super smeary (see below).

this right here is Pro-FX's major fail
I had absolutely no difference in wear or chipping - both of these wore like iron for more than 4 days.  The only other difference I did discover is for those of you sensitive to certain chemicals.  "5 free" polishes do not contain formaldehyde, dibutyl phthalate, toluene, formaldehyde resin, or camphor.  HG girl is 3 Free (no formaldehyde or formaldehyde resin and no toluene), but it does have DBP and camphor.  Pro FX is labeled as DBP and toluene free, and formaldehyde/resin and camphor are not listed in the ingredients, so this is actually 5-free.

Winner:  HK Girl remains the champ if you're doing any nail art.  The crazy-cheap and quick drying Pro-FX is going to be used a lot around here under stamping or for plain manis, though, and I'll update this if my opinion changes after more use.

Where to buy:  HK Girl is sold directly and stocked by plenty of shops internationally, with Color 4 Nails being my usual supplier.  Pro-FX is sadly a Walmart Exclusive, though some other of their products are sold on Amazon, so hopefully that will be an alternate source in the future.

~Michelle

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