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, 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, 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, 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?