Clear Nail Polish vs Top Coat

If you are not familiar with nail polishes then clear nail polish vs top coat can get confusing. But how complex can nail polish actually get? When clear nail polish and top coat are applied to the nail the two look identical. There is absolutely no noticeable difference. 

Both have a beautiful shine and both are clear in color. Naturally, you might assume that they have the same purpose.

But that isn’t the case.

In this article, we’ll discuss the differences between clear nail polish and a top coat. Which is better? Can clear nail polish be used to seal your color, or should you rather opt for a top coat?

Clear Nail Polish VS Top Coat

Clear Nail Polish

clear nail polish

Clear nail polish can be worn alone. The point of using clear polish is to compliment the natural nail.

Clear nail polish is exactly what the name suggests. While it can give your nail a beautiful shine, it isn’t formulated to defend against chips and peeling.

For this very reason, we don’t recommend using clear polish as a top coat. Even the best clear nail polish will crack and peel unless it’s properly sealed. Using a top coat over the nail polish would be best for the longevity of your nail polish as clear nail polish is not made to protect and seal.

Many have shared that they have used clear nail polish as a top coat, and this may be true, but it won’t help stop the chips, cracks, and peeling from occurring. 

When going for this look, it’s best to use a clear base coat nail polish as it not only keeps the nail bed healthy but also allows the natural nail to be visible. Clear nail polishes are also sold with a pale pink tint and some clear nail polishes are infused with glitter to give it that sparkle. 

Top Coat

gel top coat

As the final step in the manicure process, a top coat acts as a blanket to all the other layers. It doesn’t matter how many coats of nail polish you apply, the top coat will seal it. It holds the color and protects the nail polish against scuffs and bangs. 

Find the best top coat nail polish and read how to use top coat nail polish if you are not sure how to go about using it. How long to wait between nail polish coats is also important so perhaps buy a fast drying nail polish top coat if you want the process to go quicker. 

Applying a top coat is so important when you paint your nails as it brings your nail polish to life. What’s also great about a top coat is that you can reapply it 5-7 days into your manicure just for that extra layer of security for the polish.

Which Is Better?

It’s not really possible to say which is better as the two have very different job descriptions. This might be hard to believe because they look the same. 

When applied, they both leave a gorgeous shine on the nail giving it that professional look every woman wants. 

But, the two are indeed very different. Clear nail polish is a polish and is best when used for just that purpose. 

A top coat is a protective sealant and works the best for protecting your nail polish against chipping, peeling, and damage. 


As you can see, the two are indeed quite different and therefore it would be best to use each product for what it was made for. Clear nail polish for the best natural nail look and top coat for the best nail polish protection.

You can find both the best clear nail polish and the best top coat nail polish right here on this website.

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