First Impressions: Deborah Lippmann Hard Rock Base and Top Coat

Deborah Lippmann Hard Rock

When I first got into nail polish many years ago, I bought myself a bottle of Sally Hansen Double Duty Base & Top Coat. It worked okay for the first couple uses, but eventually it started to really suck as a top coat; the dry time was horrendous and I would often end up ditching a manicure the day after putting it on. That experience pretty much turned me off of two-in-one polish treatments forever. Flash forward to last Christmas, when I received the Deborah Lippmann Her Majesty gift set. It included a little bottle of their Hard Rock Base and Top Coat. I was surprised to see a primo brand like Deborah Lippmann carrying a two-in-one type product, especially for a $20 price tag for the full-size bottle. I have been both skeptical of and intrigued by this treatment that has been sitting on my desk for months. I finally decided I would give it a go and use it as intended, as a base and top coat for one of my manicures, with the hopes that it would change my opinion on two-in-one treatments.

Deborah Lippmann claims that Hard Rock strengthens and protects your nails and “encourages healthy nail growth.” They recommend using thin coats. I have only used it once so far, so I cannot comment on how it works as a strengthener but I am going to talk about things like application and dry time. Once Sally Hansen Nail Rehab, my current strengthening treatment, is used up I am going to put this one in my nail care rotation.

Deborah Lippmann Hard Rock base

Deborah Lippmann Hard Rock, 1 coat

First of all, no I do not have some weird nail fungus. I put this on after a swatch session and had gotten some polish stuck under my nails; when I tried to remove it with a cotton swab, it just ended up getting pushed down further so I gave up. Anyway, I applied a thin coat of Hard Rock as suggested and found the application quite easy. The brush is small but it actually fans out so smoothly that I was able to use the usual three strokes per nail. One thing I expect from my base coats is a decent dry time and Hard Rock was completely dry within 5 minutes!

Deborah Lippmann Ever After

Deborah Lippmann Ever After, 2 coats over Hard Rock

I applied two coats of Deborah Lippmann Ever After next (of course I had to use a Deborah Lippmann polish!). It applied okay over Hard Rock. Since my nails are ridgy and I used a thin coat as base, the polish surface did not look the most even after two coats of polish.

Deborah Lippmann Hard Rock top

Deborah Lippmann Hard Rock, 1 coat over 2 coats of Ever After

I used a thicker coat of Hard Rock to top it off, ignoring the suggested use. I was hoping that it would smooth things out more! The polish was already shiny on its own but Hard Rock perhaps added a glassier look. It dried to the touch within 5 minutes and after an hour my manicure was completely dry; I have a similar experience with quick dry top coats so that aspect really pleased me! However, after it dried it did not really plump my manicure much so I still had some visible ridges thanks to my lovely nails.

Overall, I liked Hard Rock more than I thought I would. It dried quickly, applied easily, and worked as a base coat and a top coat. Personally, I would probably not use it as a top coat again because I prefer toppers with a bit more body. As a base coat, it’s pretty thin so I would not use it under polishes like metallics, but I am curious about its strengthening properties. I do not know if Hard Rock has completely reversed my opinion on two-in-one treatments, but so far so good. I will have to use it a few more times to see if it stays as quick-drying. It might be a good option to take with me if I travel, as my bottle is a mini.

Have you tried Hard Rock or other two-in-one nail treatments? Do you have any favorite Deborah Lippmann polishes or products?

xx, Ashley

You can visit Deborah Lippmann on their website here. My bottle of Hard Rock was included in the Her Majesty gift set. Deborah Lippmann is cruelty-free.


5 thoughts on “First Impressions: Deborah Lippmann Hard Rock Base and Top Coat”

  1. I hate it when polishes get stuck underneath and refuse to be removed – I totally understand the frustration! 😛
    I’ve not tried this or really paid much attention to it since I’m happy with my system. Typically though, I find dual function base / top coat products to be better as one or the other.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, that’s what I found with Hard Rock. I want different things from my base coat and top coat so I guess these two-in-one products are just never going to be completely satisfying :]


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