Recently, my nail polish started flaking and peeling off in massive sheets. I decided (after much unnecessary and unhelpful cursing) that my beloved NailTek strengthener was probably at the end of its useful life, and so I decided to buy a new base coat. Having been given a sample of Mavala's hardener recently, I needed just a basic base coat - no hardening, no strengthening, just something that'd make polish stick.
Sarah recommended that I try out Boots No. 7 So Smooth base coat, and I'm very glad I did. Read on to find out why.
This base coat is a smooth, milky-pale pink fluid which needs to be applied rather thinly as the texture of the product, whilst being a normal consistency, does seem to go on thick and uneven if there's too much on the brush. Once applied to the nails, it dries relatively quickly to a semi-sheer finish. It does dry a little bit streaky, but not so much that it would be noticeable under most polishes, even sheer or jelly varieties.
The stand out attribute of this product for me is the improvement in wear it gives. To test it fairly, I applied two coats of Nails Inc polish over one coat of this base; the same polish (brand, shade, and number of coats) as had previously peeled off my nails with my elderly strengthener underneath. While the polish over old strengthener combination started peeling off after one day, the new base coat kept the colour fresh and chip free for a grand total of five days.
This is unheard of for me - chips usually set in after a couple of days tops, regardless of how much Seche Vite I apply over the top. There was some tip wear, and by day four it was starting to look a little straggly, even without any chips. The colour I'd chosen to use was a bright pink cream, so any tipwear and chips would have been very noticeable very quickly.
I'm a lazy cow in essence, and I'd rather not have to paint my nails every couple of days, so I'll continue to use the So Smooth base coat under my polishes, because of the dramatic improvement in wear.
If you'd like to try it yourself, you can get it from Boots.com or instore at £6.25 for 10ml. If you have one of those £5 No. 7 vouchers they always seem to be giving out, the cost goes down to a very very reasonable £1.25. Bargain.