Coincidence? We think not. 

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Let’s level, hm? There are things we all say we do—or at least say we’re going to start doing—but never actually do. Drink a gallon of water every day, floss after each meal, do all 10 steps of the Korean skincare routine (once we do, it’s game over for you, pores!), and wash all of our makeup brushes after every use.

In the words of Jane Austen, “I never saw such a woman.” Anyone who can stay on the beauty regimen ball like sticky glue is, indeed, a fearsome thing to behold.

And that is exactly how we feel about using a base coat on our nails, unless we’re sat firmly in a nail salon chair. Does it really make a difference? Is it even worth it? What’s the point?

Absolutely, 100 percent certainty, we should always use a base coat, and here's why: We’re not in the business of having chipped, stripped, or yellow nails; we’re also not in the business of wasting the time and effort at home on a half-baked excuse for a manicure.

A base coat creates a protective layer between your nail bed and the nail polish in order to keep nail damage at bay—think peeling, stripping, breaking, and all the bad stuff—and to shield your nails from the gross yellow discoloration that often comes along with reddish, pinkish, or dark colors. On top of it all, it makes your manicure last longer and appear smoother.

If your nails are already damaged (did you peel off that gel mani again?), a base coat that’s fortified with good-for-you ingredients can even help get your nails back to tip-top shape. Plus, it fills in any uneven ridges that have formed as a result of stripped nails.  

Tell your manicure we said, “you’re welcome.”

So which base coat makes the best choice?

Start to use a base coat, any base coat, and that’s better than not using one at all. However the best base coat on the market—in terms of simplicity, price, and quality—is one that you might recognize from your mother’s vanity.

OPI Nail Envy Nail Strengthener has been around the block a time or two, and these new kids have nothing on it. It’s a voguish classic that not only strengthens and protects your nails like no other (seriously, look at the before-and-after photos!), but also makes for one smooth, salon-worthy manicure. You can use it alone or before polishing with a nail color.

OPI

Thanks to utter dependability, it is definitely something that you’d find hiding deep in a Southern woman’s bathroom drawer. How old that bottle is, we may never know. At $17 a pop, it could be considered a splurge, but you won’t be buying a new bottle anytime soon.

And surprise, surprise—it’s also the best-selling base coat on Amazon. Read the comment section, and you’ll see the words “transformed my nails,” quite a lot. If you've always wanted long, perfectly filed nails, this is the ticket. You can also find it here.

Want more options? Here are some of the best base coats for your nails, depending on your preference.

Best Drugstore: Sally Hansen Mega Strength Hardener

Best Anti-Breakage: Nails Inc. NAILKALE Superfood Base Coat

Best Ridge-Filling: Essie Ridge Filling Base Coat

Best Quick-Dry: Revlon Quick Dry Base Coat

WATCH: 10 Trendy Nail Colors to Take Your Manicure From Summer to Fall

In the spirit of doing things we don’t want to do, now let’s trash all the expired condiments in the fridge, clean out the junk drawer, vacuum under the couch, and get a head start on our taxes, eh?

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