Well, probably more than a few words… I could talk all day about my darling!
Ah….where to start? Well, in French, seche means dry and vite means fast. And they’re not kidding around! While some top coats seem to define fast as ‘proceeding genteelly at a leisurely to moderate pace’, Seche Vite is already finished, washed up and lying back smoking a cigarette. Seriously, by the time you finish with the tenth nail, the first ones are dry. Well, maybe not completely dry if you just slop it on like a madwoman in a total of about 5 seconds like I do, but if you go at a sane rate of speed, yes.
SV, as it’s affectionately called, is not Big 3 free. Which is probably why it works so well. Healthy, schmealthy, I want my nails to shine like the top of the Chrysler Building! The only drawback (for me, personally) is that once you open a bottle of SV, the toluene (one of the Big 3) will start to evaporate and eventually your sweet SV will become thick sludge. It depends on how fast you use it and how tight you keep it closed, but this will usually start to happen around the halfway point. For me it’s usually around the 3/4 to almost empty point, but I change my nail colour a lot so I use more than average.
But, never fear! Seche has a solution for you! I present to you, Seche Restore:
Which is basically water, rubbing alcohol and toluene. It comes with an eye dropper (a pipette if you’re French or fancy) and you just add it to your old, tired SV until it’s back to life. Seche cautions you to not use regular thinner, but I’ve heard (and by heard I mean read on the internet) that it will work fine. I’ve never tried it but since thinner costs like 1.89 for a 20 gallon drum and Seche Restore is 9 or 10 bucks for half an ounce, I’m going to try it some time. Maybe on a bottle I have that only has a tiny bit of SV left in it, that way I don’t waste half a bottle of SV in my experiment.
For me, that’s really the only downside. It’s dry to the touch in under a minute, you can eat salty peanuts in 30 minutes and I’ve actually taken a full-fledged, hot as hell shower (including shampoo) a couple hours after doing my nails with not as much as a nick or a smudge. Not only does it dry fast, but it dries to a beautiful, glassy finish that wears like iron. After a minute, give your nails the “click test”. Tap the nails of one hand on the nails of the other. Rather than a normal tapping sound, you’ll get clicking that sounds like stiletto heels on a marble floor. Fabulous!
Some people do experience what’s called “shrinkage”. I haven’t personally, but I don’t know if it’s body chemistry, base coat (I generally use OPI or Seche Clear), operator error or a combination of factors. Shrinkage is when the polish pulls back from the edge of your nail, leaving a bare little strip. General wisdom is that it dries so fast that the evaporation can make the polish draw up. One way to combat that is to ‘wrap your tips’ or ‘wrap your edges’. This is just a fancy way of saying to swipe a little polish along the edge of your fingernail tip. Even though I don’t have a problem with it, I try to remember to wrap just because it helps prevent tip wear and it makes the nail look finished. I succeed in remembering approximately 25-30% of the time….
So what’s the catch, you might say, I bet it costs a fortune. Au contraire! Sometimes you do not get what you pay for. I have an $18 bottle of butterLONDON PDQ Hardwear that’s crap and takes forever to dry (and by forever I mean like 30 minutes). SV is like 8 or 9 bucks, basically the cost of a drugstore brand. I’m not sure of the exact cost because I usually get it when Sally has a deal like buy Seche Clear (base coat) get Seche Vite free or when it’s packaged with a nail polish for a promo. Other than that, I get the Bahama Mama refill size because I’m just crazy like that.
Yep, you read that right, four full ounces. Here’s a comparison shot with a regular sized bottle for scale:
Even without the evaporation factor, SV isn’t as thin as a lot of top coats out there. For the best results, don’t paint it on your nails as you would normally, get a little dollop on your brush, drop it on your nail and then spread it out like you would spread honey on toast. Sweet and smooth!
Side note: For reference, the polish that I’m wearing in the bottle shots is OPI Can’t Find My Czechbook. I’ve already got the pictures in the can and I’ll be doing a review post on that in the near future. I think that manicure was almost a week old when I took the Seche pictures, so you can see how well both OPI and Seche Vite wear!