Sunday, May 19, 2013

Top Coats: Dior Gel Top Coat vs. Chanel Laque Brilliance Extreme


We've seen a wave of new nail lacquers and top coats flood the market recently. Brands claim to have developed a formula that will replicate the lush cushy high-shine finish and lasting power that gel manicures provide. I decided to try one, Dior's Gel Top Coat and put it to the test to see how it compared to one of my favorites, Chanel's Laque Brilliance Extreme. Since reviews from others have been mixed, I did three sets of testing over nail polish brands I wear most frequently: Dior, Chanel and Rescue Beauty Lounge (see my standard nail basics here).

Packaging: Both Dior and Chanel come with pull off caps, the Dior Gel Top Coat comes in a clear bottle while the Chanel Extreme Shine Nail Lacquer comes encased in a black bottle. Both are very sturdy. Dior's comes with a slightly wider flat brush while Chanel's is skinnier (see below).

Price: Dior's Gel Top Coat retails at $24 for 0.33 fl oz (previously featured here). Chanel's Laque Brilliance Extreme retails at $26 for .4 fl oz.

Formula, application and dry time: Dior's Gel Top Coat is thicker than most other top coat's I've tried. It does dry to a nice hard finish and doesn't shrink around the edges (like Seche Vite does for me). I do recommend you allowing your two coats of color to dry about 2-5 minutes before applying the Gel Coat. I usually let nails dry for 10-15 minutes after the top coat. Dior's Gel dried perfectly fine within this time. Chanel's Top Coat is thinner in texture making it easier to spread evenly over any other brand. Dry time is at least 15 minutes for me.

Finish: The finish of Dior's Gel Top coat is the glossiest I've seen. It has a lush cushiony looking finish with a high shine. Chanel's Top coat has a gorgeous glossy sheen but is not quite as shiny as Dior's.

Lasting power and performance: Performance of each top coat depends on what nail lacquer you're using for color. Unfortunately I can't say one is the best all around. Scroll down for notes below based on each test set.


Test Set No. 1: Over Dior Spring Ball


I tested both top coats at the same time, Dior's Gel Top Coat on the left hand and Chanel's Top Coat on the right hand. The verdict:
  • Dior Gel over Dior Spring Ball lasted 6 full days without any chipping and very minimal tip wear. I've never had a manicure last this long without tip wear (same performance over Dior Diablotine). The way the nails looked on Day 4 with tip wear on only one finger lasted until Day 6. By Day 7 tips started to wear noticeably on most of the fingers.
  • Chanel Top Coat over Dior Spring Ball didn't last quite as long. Tip wear started on Day 3 with noticeable on most fingers by Day 4. Click the photo below to enlarge.

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Test Set No. 2: Over Chanel Tentation


Same testing as set one,  both top coats worn simultaneously, Dior's Gel Top Coat on the left hand and Chanel's Top Coat on the right hand. How each held up over Chanel (this was also tested over Chanel Taboo):
  • Dior Gel over Chanel Tentation applied smoothly and gave a high gloss finish. Shine and coverage lasted until Day 3 when the polish started to crack. On Day 4 the cracks showed up on all nails and started to chip. Tip wear also occured. Not sure the cracks are visible in the photo below, but it was more visible over darker colors like Chanel Taboo. 
  • Chanel Top Coat over Chanel Tentation is typical Chanel Top Coat perfection lasting well into Day 6 without any tip wear. Click below to enlarge.

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Test Set No. 3: Over Rescue Beauty Lounge Poppy


Same process, Dior's Gel Top Coat on the left hand and Chanel's Top Coat on the right hand. How each held up over Rescue Beauty Lounge:
  • Dior Gel over Rescue Beauty Lounge Poppy lasted quite well on most fingers. On Day 3, tip wear started to show only on the middle finger, although those nails were slightly longer than the others so it may have been in contact with surfaces more frequently than the others. Still, tip wear was minimal and didn't increase other than what is shown below until Day 5. There was no cracking on the nail.
  • Chanel Top Coat over Rescue Beauty Lounge Poppy lasted extremely well. There was minimal tip wear (very very slight) on the corner of the middle nail, but the manicure is still as fresh as it was on the first day as on Day 5.

Overall thoughts: I really like both, but my preference depends what nail polish I use underneath. I was particularly impressed at how long my Dior over Dior manicures lasted. However Chanel is more versatile and easier to apply over most other brands.


Dior's Gel Top coat worked best over Dior nail polishes. I did find it cracked over Chanel and OPI (not featured, but tested and it cracked over OPI on Day 3). Available at Nordstrom, Sephora, Neiman Marcus.

Chanel's Top Coat performs best over most brands for me. It didn't work quite as well over Dior with just one application (however manicures can be extended if you re-apply the top coat on the second day). The benefit of this one is that a bottle lasts a long time and it's not limited. Find it at all Chanel counters and beauty studios and online at Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, Saks, Chanel.com and other Chanel retailers.

Did you try Dior's Gel Top Coat? Or any of the other gels from Deborah Lippmann, Guerlain etc? What were your thoughts? What's your favorite top coat?

25 comments:

  1. Hi Sabrina, I loved this comprehensive review! I really like how glossy the Dior Gel Top Coat looks over Chanel Tentation :)

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  2. I think I'm going to get the Dior Gel Top. I like the glossy finish, and the fact that it makes the nail polishes long-lasting. Thanks for this great review.

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  3. Thank you so much for the comparison! I have the Dior one and I love it but I am intrigued by Chanel's gel coat now. They both look so deliciously glossy, love!

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  4. Great review. I havent tried any other top coats other than sally hansen and seche vite. Seche vite wins hands down!

    Leanne @ Leanne-Marie | Beauty, fashion & lifestyle. x x

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    1. Wanted to try seche vite but read a review that seche vite notes on the bottle that it contains a chemical known to cause birth defects. True?

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  5. great review! I needed something like that to compare and I think I'll purchase the Dior one to top my Dior polished. I am currently using Chanel or CND.

    x, M Fay

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  6. Thanks for testing these topcoats! My heart goes out to CND Super Shiney top coat. I am a runner and my toe polish always lasts two weeks!

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    1. CND Super Shiney is an awesome top coat :)

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  7. I've had the opposite experience from you. I wore the Dior Gel Coat over Diablotine and the very next day I had chipping at the tips. By the day after that the chipping was so bad I had to remove it. I was so disappointed that I haven't bothered to try it a second time.

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  8. Thanks for the review! I actually purchased both of these about ten days ago, and ended up returning the Dior, as I found that the Chanel Top Coat lasted longer. I tend to wear only Chanel and Butter London, and the Chanel Top Coat works fantastic on them! I did a pedicure on myself over ten days ago, and have had absolutely no chipping or peeling whatsoever using the Chanel Top Coat!

    Truly a splurge worthy purchase!

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  9. Nice review, Sabrina! Here's my personal experience. I wear my nails very hard (albeit v. short). With a small child, I change diapers many many times throughout the day, cook, wash hands multiple times. N/P + top coat combo has to perform otherwise it'll just be a waste of my time wearing them.

    Dior Gel + Chanel June = I got about 5 days wear w/o chip/crack, but normally I use Chanel Top on all my Chanels.
    Dior Gel + Essie = almost 7 days wear w/o chip/crack, I think this is a good, compatible combo.
    Dior Gel + Dior Incognito = almost 7 days. V. good combo.

    I haven't tried Dior Gel + OPI/Butter London/Deborah Lippmann yet. Before Dior, I use CND Super Shiney on most of my n/p (except Chanel, as mentioned above). With CND, I normally get around 3-5 days. If I'm using Chanel on Chanel, I normally get around 5 days so based on my experience Dior Gel on Chanel lasts as long as Chanel on Chanel. I especially love Dior Top b/c of the brush, consistency, and the finish. I don't use SV since it contains one of the toxic 3 (I forgot which one).

    xo,
    Claire

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    1. I can second the Dior Gel over Essie combo! It lasted well on me, too. I'm not as happy with the wear over OPI polishes, though.

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  10. What a great review/comparison, Sabrina. I haven't tried the Dior gel coat yet, but I did purchase it to go over the new Dior polishes I just bought (beautiful summer shades). I'm currently wearing Guerlain's gel coat over Guerlain polish and love the appearance, the protection, and the longevity that it adds to my manicure. This might be a silly notion, but I think that cosmetic brands tend to create base coats and top coats that work well with their particular lacquer formulations rather than shoot for something that has a more universal application. So far, I'm loving the Guerlain combination and will give my Dior option a try the next time I change polish.

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    1. Oooh Eileen - the Guerlain sounds amazing! Another temptation added to my wishlist, lol. Thanks for the input on the Guerlain :)

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  11. You are so amazing! What a great post - super comprehensive! I don't know if I can quit my gel nails( so addictive!) but this post gives me some hope!
    The Chanel Tentation looks absolutely delicious with your skin tone! Perfect summer color
    xo
    LJ

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  12. I really like the gel top coat effect, it´s very nice, thanks for sharing

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  13. Super post! Very helpful and, as usual, I know I'll refer back to it. Thanks so much!

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  14. I am using the Dior Gel Coat over Dior Incognito and Essie Sugar Daddy nailpolishes and the result is amazing, especially over the Dior nail polish.

    Strongly recommend it!

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  15. I'm so glad you did this post! I need to get a new top coat after using Seche Vite for ages, and it does shrink on me too. I was actually planning on getting the Chanel, and I think I'm still sticking to that plan. Did you test that as well with OPI? The Dior seems really good, but I usually only use Chanel and OPI polishes.

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    1. Hi Kaja, I did test both over OPI. I like Chanel over OPI. The Dior Gel cracked over OPI for me.

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  16. Both sound great, however, I don't like that the black bottle packaging of the Chanel top coat. I like to see how much product I have. But then again that argument could be said for all skincare/body products in opaque bottles. Okay nevermind, I'd still try the Chanel formula!

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  17. Always great posts! Can you do a review on the Dior "Glow" pink/clear nail polish? I was going to purchase both, but would like to wait on your review to see if it is worth it. Thanx :)

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    1. Hi - unfortunately I don't have the nail glow and it's sold out everywhere near me. Did you check the reviews on Sephora.com and Nordstrom.com? Those are usually really helpful!

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  18. I have tried Dior Gel Top Coat with Givency N.12 Croisière Purple, with Rescue Beauty Lounge 'Abiquiu', 'Bella Donna' and 'Thank You', with Dolce & Gabbana 'Wild Green' and it works very well: the nail polish lasts about a week without chipping at all.
    It gives a super glossy finish. I'm in love with this Top Coat, I've purchased a second bottle and I'm thinking about a third.

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