essie No Chips Ahead

essie No Chips Ahead The Daily VarnishEarlier this month I ordered a couple new (to me) essie nail care productsNo Chips Ahead and Second Shine Around. Honestly, I saw Second Shine Around in Nail It! magazine and was really interested in trying it. Since I wasn’t in love with the top coat I was using (China Glaze Fast Forward) I decided to also order an every day top coat along with Second Shine Around.

essie is a brand I trust. After all, they make my all time favorite top coat; Good to Go!. So, admittedly, I did not read any reviews before purchasing No Chips Ahead. I definitely regret that!

The claims are what sold me on this product. No Chips Ahead contains a wear extender and color shield to protect against fading, resist chips and peeling. The high gloss top coat extends manicure for days.

Sounds marvelous. Unfortunately, the problems with this top coat outweigh any benefits.

The first time I used this I immediately noticed bubbles. On almost every nail. Which I thought was odd as the top coat is on the thinner side. As my manicure was drying I did notice the finish was super shiny; if not for the bubbles my manicure would have looked fantastic. I did notice the polish was taking quite a while to dry but this isn’t touted as a fast drying top coat so that’s fine.

I went to bed 6 or 7 hours after I did my nails. The next morning I had horrific bed nails.

One bad experience certainly didn’t mean this top coat was to blame so I kept using it. And I kept experiencing the same issues. Even when I could keep the bubbles at bay my manicure seemingly never dried.

I so disappointed in this product. Generally when I review a top coat I use it several months before writing a review as I like to really use the product and test it under different circumstances with different manicures. But No Chips Ahead just flat out isn’t usable. I don’t have time to sit around and do nothing so I can give my nails a full 12 hours to dry. Plus, I was tired of all my manicures being ruined.

I can’t recommend this product to anyone but if you already have it there is one way you can use it; over glitter.

Under the jump I did include an ingredients list just for good measure.

I find myself in the need for a new top coat so please leave any top coat recommendations you may have in a comment. I have reviewed quite a few top coats so I will include links to some of those in the related posts section under the jump as well.






  1. Some like Out the Door but I have the same problem with you describe with the No Chips Ahead. It never seems to hardens for me. I’ve used the NYC Grand Central Station (slight shrinkage, dulls after a couple of days but overall not bad), Julep Freedom Polymer has a gel-like finish, dries quickly but is expensive and does have slight shrinkage. I get bubbles and scratches with the Sally Hansen Insta-dri. Righ now, I’m using Rush 60-second top coat from Sally Beauty. It doesn’t have a gel-like finish but it’s cheap, shiny, quick-drying and has minuscule shrinkage.

    1. The struggle is absolutely real!

      I quite like Out the Door and the Rush 60-Seconds top coat is great for the price. But I didn’t fall in love with either of them. Sigh.

        1. I haven’t tried the ones from Zoya though I have tried some in the past.

          I just don’t feel like I should need to supplement my top coat with another product though, you know?

  2. You should try out Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat. It’s my go-to top coat because it dries quickly and smoothly. It also makes my manicure last a long time. I recommend it if you if you haven’t tried it 🙂

  3. I LOVE INM Out the Door! After I finished my first 0.5 oz bottle, I purchased a 2.5 oz bottle and I regret nothing! It’s now the only top coat I ever use 🙂

  4. I’ve had good luck with 2 top coats you can get at Sally’s… Oh So Wet!, a quick dry top coat, and the Rock top coat in a brown bottle by European Secrets (I tried it after I read All Lacquered Up’s review). Not quick drying, but long lasting and shiny.

  5. I swear by Butter London PD Quick Hardwear topcoat. Maybe a little pricey but it’s super shiny and dries super quick. I can go to bed within 15 mins and wake up flawless.

  6. Have you tried HK Girl by Glisten & Glow? It is my favorite. Also I have recently started giving Revlon Colorstay Gel Envy Diamond Topcoat a try. It comes in a black bottle. I’ve worn it a few times so far. It dries fast and is really shiny. I wait tables and both times that I had it on at work, it didn’t chip at all. I usually have at least one small chip in my polish after work no matter what combination of basecoat, polish and topcoat I wear.

    1. I read just lately that all the 2-step topcoats are in black bottles because they’re UV-sensitive. That makes sense but I had never heard anybody say that before! I have tried a couple of them but so far am not in love. I go back and forth because there’s nothing I’m just completely in love with. I do like Hardwear and it is pricey but you can get good deals on it sometimes and one bottle really lasts a long time. I use Seche Vite when I find a good price on it, and HK Girl, too. I also have nails that chip really easily, so nothing works miracles for me.

  7. I’ve tried this top coat too and had exactly the same problems with it, the bubbles are insane and like you said I can’t understand them because it’s a thinner top coat. It’s really dreadful so I try to use it up for things like sticking a rhinestone to my nail.

    1. I’m just so shocked that essie, seeing as everyone seemingly has the same problems, still sells this top coat. It’s a shame because essie does make some fantastic top coats.

What do you think?