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Nail polish peels off in sheets despite being applied thinly with base coat and top coat

Hi Beauty Brains,

I've recently had this issue especially with 3-free nail polish. The top and base coats also are 3-Free. Application is 2 thin coats of nail polish and I allow at least half an hour for drying time of the base coat and nail colour. Also could there be an incompatibility between the polish and the base and top coats. Also can you use 3-free base and top coats with the non 3-free nail polish ?

Thanks Tania (aka LittleTabby).


  • Just these two to be answered please:

    1. Is there such thing as incompatibility between base coat/ top coat and nail polish formulas and do you have to use the same brand for all 3 ?

    2.  Can you use 3-free base and top coats with the non 3-free nail polish ? 

    The original issue occurred as my hand were still a bit damp from water when I applied the polish.


  • All your information for all my questions has been very helpful and very much appreciated !
  • Glad we could help, Tabby. We're not really experts in nail polish application so I honestly don't know the answer to your last two questions. Maybe another forum member does?
  • Hi Randy,

    Doing an experiment - 2 thin coats of nail colour (Avon Nail Wear Mulberry from 2006) and no base coat or top coat. No issues with peeling but a little wear on the tips - as expected.

    It appeared to be an issue with a cheap base coat.   

  • Congratulations on running a successful experiment! 
  • All I can say, Tabby, is nail polish isn't what it used to be. Several years ago I had a cheap 99 cent polish and cheap 99 cent base coat I could apply and reasonably expect to get at least a week's wear out of with no problems. Now? Not so much. It doesn't seem to matter what brand I try, pricey or cheap, none of it stays put for more than 3 days or so. Polish on toenails stays on great, but not on fingernails.
  • Used a good quality base coat - no problems !
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