Today most mainstream nail polish brands are 3 free – free of formaldehyde, dibutyl phthalate (DBP), and toluene. And for green beauties, 5 free nail polish, which is also free of formaldehyde resin and camphor, has become the new standard for greener, cleaner nail polish. Now, a few brands have raised the bar even higher to eliminate additional toxins. Alia polish is 8 free – free of the of all of the chemicals excluded in 5 free polish and also free of parabens, TPHP, and sulfates. It is also vegan and gluten-free, but is the Aila Top Coat really better than gel?
The Aila Better Than Gel Top Coat applies smoothly and leaves a very high shine, consistent with the look of gel nails. However, I was a bit disappointed in the chip resistance, or lack thereof. The first time I applied it I followed the directions on the Aila website – by applying one coat of Prime Base Coat, two coats of Alia polish in Bodega, and one coat of Better Than Gel Top Coat. Although, my nails looked beautiful after the application, within 24 hours I already had a chip.
I understand this is a cleaner nail polish brand so I didn’t expect it to last for a week. However, I did expect more than a day. So the next time I used the Aila polish I went back to the “sticky sandwich method”. If you aren’t familiar with this method, you apply one coat of a “sticky” primer, followed by one coat of polish, then apply another coat of the primer, followed by another coat or two of the polish, and finish with a top coat. Now, the Aila Prime Base Coat isn’t what I would call a “sticky” primer. (Examples of traditional “sticky” primers are CND Stickey and Orly Bonder.) Nonetheless, I plan to stay with the 8 free formula from here out, so my “sandwich” just won’t be so “sticky”.
The result was a high shine finish that remained chip free after 4 days. To me this is acceptable for the 8 free formula and I’ll be sticking with Aila for the time being. But I may try the Shine Top Coat for comparison. The Aila line also contains the Coconut Nail & Cuticle Treatment, which Aila recommends that you apply to the nails after the topcoat. While I haven’t purchased the Coconut Nail & Cuticle Treatment yet, I did try using my RMS Coconut Cream in this manner instead. And yes, it worked – no quick dry drops needed.
The polish color I purchased was Bodega , a perfect true red. The polish goes on smoothly, not too thin and not too thick. The two coats I used provided ample coverage. I plan to order more colors in the future, along with the 3-in-1 Polish Remover. Aila is available at BeauTeaBar.