A Review of Revlon Colorstay Top Coat and Bourjois Base Coat


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A Review of Revlon Colorstay Top Coat and Bourjois Base Coat

After I gave away my HG Sally Hansen top coat, I was looking for a replacement. The new top coat had big shoes to fill as I’ve found Sally Hansen top coat to be one of the best so far. I’ve come to expect certain qualities in a top coat such as faster drying, greater shine and better chip resistance than a regular nail enamel. So it annoys me when I ask for a top coat and an SA flings a transparent nail polish at me. Even if they may be the same thing technically, to my mind they mean different things. There are some advantages to wearing a good quality top coat:

  • Wearing a top coat on bare nails gives them a nice, healthy shine.
  • If you find it difficult to maintain a manicure with a coloured nail polish, especially at the tips of the nails, just using this transparent shine on bare nails is a good alternative.
  • It seems to smooth out the appearance of scaly nails to an extent.
  • Applied on top of a streaky nail polish, it smooths out the streaky appearance.
  • Worn on top of a coloured nail enamel, it prevents chipping.
  • A shiny top coat adds dimension to the nail plate. It can make a flat nail plate look “rounder”. Think lip gloss for nails.

Top Coat

On a rushed trip to Lifestyle, I asked a Bourjois SA for a top coat. She handed me a transparent bottle. I only had enough time to read “…. Coat” and off I went to the payment counter! Once home, I discovered that it was actually a “base” coat. Hm.. Now as much as base coats fascinate me, or the idea of using a base coat at least, I have no qualms admitting that this base coat was acquired by accident. But for the 350 Rupees that I paid for it, I will make it work.

The Bourjois base coat claims 1 second per nail. 1 nail = 1 stroke = 1 sec. is their claim to fame. The reason for this is their unique wide brush that covers a nail in one go. The bottle says to use the base coat alone or under a nail enamel. The base coat claims to be ultra-brillante, which in English means high-shine. 🙂
Bourjois Base Coat

Here are the reasons why Bourjois base coat has become a favourite with me:


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  • The brush, the brush, the brush. The brush is wow. It’s very soft, very wide and glides on the nail like a dream. I also have their Mineral Matte buffer brush and I love that one too for its softness and density.
  • The bottle. I find the design of the bottle very sleek. It is modelled after the Eiffel tower and it makes my other nail polish bottles look puny. Additionally, some cute French spelling adds a touch of romance to this product. I find the words “Base Vernis” especially cute.
  • The base coat dries fast, but not too fast.
  • The base coat hardens perfectly.
  • It gives a nice shine to the nails. The shine does not fade even after days of putting on the top coat.
  • The tapered long handle attached to the brush gives a good grip so much so that I miss having this kind of handle on my other nail enamels.
  • The base of the bottle is wide, so it doesn’t  topple easily even as you try to offload some of the extra nail paint from the side of the bottle using just one hand.

Of course, even this rose is not without thorns. Here’s what I don’t like about Bourjois base coat:

  • That 1 second claim is not exactly true. I have a wide nail plate and I still need the usual 3 strokes per nail. And you still need to give it a minute or two to dry. But yes, a wider brush is definitely easier to use.
  • For 350 Rupees, I want my transparent nail polish to do more than just sit there. Especially if I am going to use it under another nail enamel. Perhaps some sort of nail nutrient added to the base coat would have increased its appeal.
  • The brush image on the website makes it look like a single wide brush, but it is actually two conjoined brushes, which looks weird.

Product rating: :-* :-*:-*:-*

I honestly don’t know if there is any difference between a base coat and a top coat, but if I am looking for a “top coat”, I want to have a “top coat”. So the quest was still on until last weekend. At the Revlon counter, I asked for a top coat, half expecting the SA to pass off a transparent nail colour as a top coat. But when I got the bottle in my hands, I saw the words “Colorstay” and “Top Coat” and I knew I had found what I was looking for. Revlon’s Colorstay line has garnered much appreciation all around, so I was confident of my purchase. I paid Rs. 195 or thereabout for it. The Revlon Colorstay top coat claims to extend your nail colour for up to 9 days of smooth, shiny colour.

Revlon Colorstay Top Coat

Here are the reasons why I like Revlon Colorstay top coat:

  • It gives the nails a high gloss finish. The surface of the nail feels smooth.
  • Some top coats give a plastic-y finish and the surface remains just a bit soft to touch even on drying. Not so with Revlon Colorstay. This top coat dries and hardens quickly.
  • The shine does not fade even after days of putting on the top coat.
  • The 9 day claim is a bit much but it does elongate the life of my manicures.

Alas, there are a few things due to which this top coat will not make it to my HG list:

  • The brush is of poor quality and has thick bristles that cause streaking unless you use a really really light hand. Unless I’m imagining it, there is also a faint screeching sound when the brush drags (not glides) on the nail. The last time I came across a brush this bad was from Revlon Streetwear and I had consoled myself saying that you get what you pay for. But Revlon Colorstay has no excuse.
  • I think another reason for its streaky application is that this top coat dries really really fast, so you get absolutely no chance to go over any areas you’ve covered already.
  • Despite careful application, sometimes minuscule air bubbles deposit on the nail and are nearly impossible to smooth out. This, in my book spells sin. I’ve heard that if you shake the bottle vigorously before putting on a nail paint, that introduces air bubbles. But this top coat forms bubbles even if you don’t shake the bottle.

I like to apply transparent nail polishes with a gleeful, careless abandon. But given the above mentioned drawbacks, I have to be as careful with it as if I’m defusing a ticking time bomb. If you can’t be careless with a transparent nail polish, then what can you be careless with, eh?

Product Rating:
:-* :-* :-*

To counter streakiness, I use Bourjois base coat brush with Revlon Colorstay top coat. But even Bourjois cannot solve the problem of bubbles forming during application. What cannot be cured must be endured (cliché alert!). So I guess I’ll just suck it up and continue to use these products until it is time to look for another one.

Comparison Pics

Have you used Revlon Colorstay Top Coat? Please rate in the box below.

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Have you used Bourjois Base Coat? Please rate in the box below.

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11 thoughts on “A Review of Revlon Colorstay Top Coat and Bourjois Base Coat

  1. Hey Sonal….nice review n very timely for me…looking for a top coat n your post def helped…isn’t 350 bucks expensive fr a base coat??

    1. Yeah HD, I think it is terribly expensive for something that’s going to go “under” the nail enamel. 🙂 But I’ve been using it as a top coat as well. And also for wearing it alone. And the quality of the brush, the paint and the bottle is pretty good. 🙂

  2. BTW I loved the bourjois bottle…love nail paint bottles w long handles, infact I use the one I have for other nail paints too many times…sadly not many brands have it…most of the brands we use don’t hv long handles 🙁

  3. Although I have never been a fan of revlon nail paints but I’ll take a look at this. I have been wanting to buy a top coat from quite some time. That’s like a good reminder. 🙂

    Thank you. 🙂

    1. I wonder if Bourjois sells a top coat as well. At least their website shows one. Quality wise Bourjois wins hands down, but if you use top coats only occasionally, then Revlon is good enough. 🙂

      1. It does. I have seen it at the store…

        i rarely use top coats. My nails paints stay on pretty well so don’t bother myself to much. 😛 But I had one top coat from Nail Juice. But that was pretty sad. Will check out either colorbar or revlon. 🙂

  4. hi sonal
    all my base coats are whitish or pinkish and top coats are absolutely clear
    i wonder what they do ACTUALLY but i trust them and we girls just wanna indulge
    i have tried the avon, oriflame and color bar and lakme as well for these top and base thingies
    😉
    will try revlon now

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