In the interest of full disclosure, no, Leighton Denny's Top That! gel top coat won’t give you a perfect manicure for the standard two or three weeks that an in-salon gel mani gives you - this isn’t quite Shellac. But, with just a UV/LED lamp and the special top coat, you can get that extra glossy finish on any polish as well as a long lasting, chip-free colour.
Does it really work with other brands? I road-tested it with one of my favourite nail colours from a brand who pretty much only do nails (and therefore have good quality polishes). The process was quick and easy - two coats of colour, wait until it’s completely dry, top up with a coat of Top That! and put my nails under the lamp to cure for a total of two minutes per hand, max. Swipe off the top coating with their cleanser (buy as part of a kit for £18) and hey presto, I had that extra shiny finish that usually comes with a trip to the salon and a hefty bill.
A little too hasty in my application, I didn’t cover the ends of my nails which is why, I think, within four days my colour was very slightly chipping. I removed it (a bit of a hassle, even with the remover that Leighton Denny have created to go with the range) and started again, this time with one of the brand’s own nail colours. Carefully, I made sure the coat of Top That! was extra thick and covering all angles - and only eight days later did I decide it was time to get it off, as the first few chips were starting to grate on me.
Cheaper and more convenient than a salon, and a great way to get more out of your favourite nail colours no matter which brand they’re by; this nail polish addict is impressed. Better yet, as you’re only curing the top coat rather than the colour onto your nail bed, it should be far kinder to your nails than salon gels - and who doesn’t want that?