You’re used to seeing me review various nail-polish shades and dabble into the fun world of nail art, but it’s always important to remember that what you use to prime your nails is what can make or break your manicure.
If you’ve followed this blog for a while, you may have noticed that I like to try different base coats, but I prefer to use each one for a long while (until I use it up) before I move on and try another.
This time, I have a review on the impressive Nubar Foundation Base Coat! While I literally have dozens of different base coats, this one is my new top pick.
Let me tell you more about it!
Nubar Foundation Base Coat Pictures
In case you’re curious to see the skull manicure I’m wearing in full, you can click on the link. In that post, there’s also a link to a step-by-step tutorial on how you can easily and quickly recreate it. 🙂
Claims: TRUSTED, plus HOLY-GRAIL STATUS!
√ Helps colour to bond to the nail
√ Prevents staining
√ Ultimate nail protection
- Name: Nubar Foundation Nail Base Coat
- Amount: 15 mL (0.5 fl. oz.)
- What I Paid: $4.25 CAD (Bought on a special discounted price years ago when I ordered with several of my co-workers & lumped together a $100 CAD order with tons of polishes! :D)
- Where to Buy: NailPolishCanada
Nubar Foundation Base Coat Review
The Nubar Foundation Base Coat has a great consistency because it’s not too thin and watery, but it’s also not thick like dried glue. It’s just right, and it’s easy to apply. However, I did notice that when I was very close to finishing the bottle, the formula thickened up a little.
Some base coats dry with a ‘rubberized’ or matte finish to make it easier for your coloured polish to get a good grip. But this one actually dries shiny, which surprised me. I thought, “How is a shiny finish going to help a polish adhere better?”
Every single time I’ve used this (I’ve actually went through more than one bottle of this, by the way), I’ve never had major polish problems.
For a base coat, super-fast drying time is a must. You already have to wait for each coat of coloured polish to dry before adding a top coat, and if you also have to wait for your base coat to dry, that only prolongs the painting process. (Yeah, I am extremely demanding on a base coat’s dry time.)
Nubar Foundation Base Coat dries extremely quickly, so I was pleased with that. By the time I finished painting all my nails, the first finger was already dry, and I was ready to start slapping on some colour. Hells yeah! 😉
This base coat is tinted pink, which is cute. I didn’t notice the colour altering the colour of my finished manicure. It’s so sheer that it pretty much goes on clear.
I believe that the true test of a base coat isn’t just how long it makes your manicure last, but how it also leaves your nails. Some dry out your nails and make them more prone to peeling.
I have strong nails (thanks to just my genetics), but some base coats can leave my nails feeling drier. Thankfully, Nubar Foundation Base Coat doesn’t do that. My nails were left in great condition. And I think it’s because it’s fortified with calcium.
As you know, I’m not afraid of trying out new colours. Some polish colours have the potential to stain more than others. E.g. Blues and reds are more prone to staining.
In the many months that I’ve went through bottles of Nubar Foundation Base Coat, I’ve noticed that it stood up to the challenge for the most part. I can’t remember now which ones managed to get past the Nubar soldier, but for the vast majority of the time I used it, it really prevented staining.
Stained nails aren’t really a huge concern for me because I nearly always have my nails covered with polish anyway. But for those of you who wear polish occasionally, it’s probably a major selling point.
Nubar Is a Brand That’s Tough to Get Hold Of
Unfortunately, even though I love Nubar (in general) and this base coat, I have to admit that it’s a difficult brand to get hold of. Yes, they have an official website, but they don’t ship to Canada. NailPolishCanada.com sells it (see the link to the product in my Where to Buy section), but not everyone is comfortable ordering online.
I’ve only ever seen Nubars sold at one beauty-supply store and randomly at Winners.
All the Nubar polishes I’m pleased to own have been either purchased from that one beauty-supply store or on eBay.
Nubar is a brand that’s worth tracking down. If it was more easily accessible, I think it would be right up there giving OPI and China Glaze a run for their money. (Just check out any of the awesome Nubar duochromes!)
Although I didn’t see any ingredients listed on the bottle or label, on the Nubar website, they say that it’s free of Formaldehyde, Toluene, and DBP. If you’re trying to avoid those, you’re in luck!
Final Verdict: 10/10
Considering that I’ve tried so many base coats since I first got into polish in 2008 and I realllly love Nubar Foundation Base Coat, that’s really saying something. It’s my Holy Grail base coat!
Hehe, the only reason why I’m still using different base coats now is because when I first started collected polish, I also started collecting base coats. I need to use them up – it’ll literally take years! After I’m done, I’ll be only purchasing Nubar Foundation Base Coat.
Do you have a favourite base coat? What do you look for in a base coat? What’s the most you’ve ever paid for a base coat?
Ohh, nice. I guess Nubar is more easily accessible in Europe. At least on the internet 🙂
Have you tried OPI’s natural nail base coat? It’s also tinted pink, and I’m wondering what it’s like compared to this.
Btw, I love that manicure of yours in the pics!
Yes, I have tried the OPI Natural Nail Base Coat before – used up an entire bottle. I really liked it! (I reviewed it here, in case you’re curious: http://www.swatchandlearn.com/opi-natural-nail-base-coat-review-pictures/)
I found the OPI one to be more watery, but the performance was very comparable to Nubar’s base coat. Even the shininess of the base coat when it dried is similar to Nubar’s. Hope that helps!
Aww…thank you! 🙂 Those skull nails were one of my favourite manicures to wear – really fun and easy to do.
Great! Just read your review of that one, thanks for the link 😉
I use it in combination with their top coat, but I think it differs a bit from which polish I use between them how well they work.
I have pretty sucky nails, and nailpolish usually chip for me within a very short period of time 🙁 Base and top coat has helped a little bit, though.
I really want to try the skull manicure, but my nails are so short :/ What was it you used for the “teeth”? Was it just the brush or was it some kind of tool that I just haven’t heard of? 🙂
You’re welcome – I’m always happy to help when I can!
Hmm…I don’t think it’s your nails being sucky. I know a lot of people who have very healthy natural nails, but polish just chips. It’s the polish that has a problem. It’s not you. (“It’s not you. It’s them.” Hehe!)
You maybe just have to play around with more combinations to find something that works. It’s very strange how what works wonders for one person is a disaster for another.
I wonder if how dry the nail is has anything to do with it. (I have no trouble with polish lasting on my fingernails, but on my toenails, it literally chips off in a day or two! But I rarely paint my toenails, so it doesn’t really matter to me.)
You can totally still rock the skull nail art on short nails. It’ll be very cute! For the teeth, I used a striper brush because you need it to be long and thin.
I’m afraid my nails are aweful. My nails chip at least as bad as nailpolish, haha. I’ve never seen anything flake as bad as the badboys I’ve got on the ends of my fingers! I don’t know if it really affects the polish, though 😉
Ohh, that’s an interesting theory. Have you talked to other nail-people about it?
I will google striper brush. I guess it’s some kind of a nailtool 🙂 (Ok, obviously it is, but you know what I mean 😉
No, I actually haven’t really discussed my theory much with other nailphiles. But it would be interesting to hear what they think about it. Maybe there is a pattern we can uncover.
A striper brush is just a brush with really long and thing bristles. 🙂 You can find them at Sally Beauty Supply, or if you want to save some money, check out the Dollar Store and just buy a regular painting brush. Then you can cut the bristles the way you want and create your own nail striper!
Wow, these posts are getting really thin, now…
You should ask them! (I’m getting a little excited now, haha. I’m rather science-y sometimes, and I love finding patterns in things.)
Cool – I think I’ll do the latter. I guess it’s potentially cheaper?
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Yes, not only is it way cheaper, but I think even inexpensive paintbrushes will do the job just as well.
nice skull wonderfull shine
Glad you liked the skull. 🙂 It was a fun manicure to wear way back when I took the photo. And, yes, the beautiful shine is all thanks to Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat – it’s my favourite!
Have you tried Essie’s base coats? I’m currently using the hypoallergenic one, but it seems to be causing my nails to peel :/ this is weird, because I was previously using a (much) cheaper sally hansen base coat, and never had issues! Recently I also started using acetone to clean up my manicures and to remove glitter polish (which I wear a lot of) so I’m wondering if that could be the cause of my peeling nails 🙁 can you recommend a base coat that’s good for repairing nails that are damaged?
No, I’ve never tried any of Essie’s base coats, so I can’t say how well it works or not.
Yes, the acetone remover could be stripping your nails of the natural oils and making them peel. Do you use any cuticle oil on your nails and cuticles when you’re not wearing polish? That may help to moisturize them.
Hmm…the only base coat I’ve used that are supposed to help improve nails is by Nail Tek. Actually, I tried two, Foundation II Base Coat and Foundation II Base Coat. I found that they were pretty identical, despite supposedly being different formulas. However, my nails are pretty strong on their own, so I can’t say if that base coat will help your nails. It’s worth a shot, though…
Oh, I also wanted to say, for anyone in Atlantic Canada, I have seen some Nubar collections at Lawtons Drugstore. I’m pretty sure Lawtons is only in Atlantic provinces though…I know I’ve been missing it since I moved to Ontario!
That’s pretty cool! Wish we had a Lawtons Drugstore where I am. Or maybe Nubar will start showing up in other stores – HOPE SO!
I have been using OPI’s Nail Envy (the original) as my base coat for some time. Unfortunately, my nails are no-where near as strong as yours, worse luck. If left to themselves, they tend to peel at the tips and break below the quick.
Have you tried Nail Envy and if you have, how would you compare to Nubar?
The best top coat I’ve ever used is LCN’s Super Hardener (which I got from the hospital during medical treatments I was undergoing at the time). Unfortunately, it appears that it is only sold to nail salons and registered nail techs, so I haven’t been able to source it retail or online. 🙁
OPI Nail Envy is one base coat that I’ve never tried, but so many people have been raving about that one. A friend of mine has really soft nails that tend to peel. She uses Nail Envy and says that it made her nails stronger. Her nails are still soft, though, but not as soft as they were before she used it.
That’s really weird how they don’t sell the LCN Super Hardener in retail stores. :S
Do you find that wearing China Glaze polishes makes your nails stronger? The bottles say that they have nail hardeners (because of the China Clay), so I’m curious if you’ve noticed any improvement when you use those. (Also, maybe China Glaze has a nail hardener? I haven’t heard anything about them, but it’s worth looking into…)
Maybe I’ll give Nail Envy by OPI a try then! In the meantime I’ve found a solution to the dryness. It involved taking a week off from wearing any polish (sad times), but my skin and nails are looking awesome. I took Mary’s suggestion and started using cuticle oil once a day (usually in the evening). I also like to use olive oil! It’s really good. Just put your hands under water, put on a generous amount of olive oil in the palm of one hand, and then rub it on like you’re pretending to scrub your hands with soap (in this case, the oil). I rub it around for a couple mins then rinse it off with a little soap. After that I apply a regular moisturizer, and bam! Hands and nails are gorgeous.
Oooh, it’s cool to hear that olive oil can really work wonders like that. I’m glad that it worked out so well for you. That was really fast, too! 🙂