Top Coat Battle: Sally Hansen vs. Revlon Colorstay

If you haven’t noticed by now, I’m a DIY kinda woman. I have always enjoyed doing my own hair and nails because it allows me to be as creative as I want to be, when I want to be. When it comes to nail polish, I have PLENTY! I could probably open up my own nail shop lol! Finding fun nail colors is easy but for me, finding a good top coat is a trial and error process. In this post, I will be comparing the results over a 14 day period of using two different top coats: Sally Hansen Insta-Dri top coat and Revlon Colorstay Gel Envy Diamond top coat.

*This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase, you get the same great price and I get a small commission to help buy more products to test 😉*

Sally Hansen vs Revlon top coat - Pinterest -

Okay, I know…they’re not the same type of top coat. I get that and in the future I may compare gel top coats and fast drying top coats to their competition. However, the reason why I’m comparing these two is because they both claim to resist chipping and make a manicure last a long time. For this reason, I did a little performance test to see which one would make my manicure last longer.

The Sally Hansen Insta-Dri top coat claims to provide a no-chip shine to your nails for up to 10 days. It is supposed to work on any nail color and dry in 30 seconds. This top coat is sold at drugstores, super stores, supermarkets…just about anywhere nail polish is sold as well as online. I purchased mine at CVS for just under $7.

Sally Hansen vs Revlon top coat -

Newer on the scene is the Revlon Colorstay Gel Envy Diamond top coat. I’d been seeing the commercials for this top coat and they did a good job at making me curious about how well it works by showing a picture comparing results between them and their competitor. It is stated to be their “toughest top coat yet” and is a long wearing top coat that provides gel-like shine. It’s important to note here that it is formulated to work best with their Colorstay Gel Envy nail polish. But at just under $9 a pop at my local CVS, I wasn’t interested in buying the top coat AND the nail enamel.

Sally Hansen vs Revlon top coat -

Instead, as I stood in the nail polish aisle, I got on my phone and looked up whether or not it works well on other (non-Revlon) nail polishes and I saw quite a few positive reviews by people who said it made their manicures last as much as 10 to 12 days without using a Colorstay polish! Being that I’m always on the hunt for a holy grail top coat, I decided to go ahead and give it a try.


I first painted my nails with 2 coats of a new nail color I picked up recently by Wet n Wild 1-step Wonder Gel called “Bye Feluschia”. It’s a pretty pink polish with a bit of shimmer to it and I just love the cute name! This line of polish is one I’d like to test out by itself later because it’s a gel polish that’s not supposed to require a top coat or lamp and is supposed to provide up to 2 weeks of color and shine. That seems a bit too good to be true but I will let you know how that goes in another post. I didn’t use the polish holder ring I told you about in a previous post for this manicure.

For this top coat test, I applied the Revlon Colorstay Gel Envy top coat to my left hand and the Sally Hansen Insta-Dry top coat on my right hand. I have had the Sally Hansen top coat a little longer and have used almost half of it up to this point. One thing I have noticed with it is that it thickens over time and tends to create bubbles on my nails. They’re not always visible until after my nails have dried. This was not the case when I first bought it.

Sally Hansen vs Revlon top coat -

The Revlon Colorstay top coat went on my nails smoothly and evenly and 1 coat was enough to see the shine that it provided. I also used 1 coat of the Sally Hansen top coat but had to do so more carefully because it had gotten a little thicker. When this happens, you have to make sure it goes on evenly because it can easily go on thicker in the middle and thinner on the sides of the nail. This top coat also left my nails with a decent amount of shine.

Throughout the 14 days of this manicure, my nails went through regular day-to-day routines like hand washing, cooking, opening packages, jewelry clasps, and swimming that tend to break down the polish over time. I did not re-apply either top coat during this test period.

Battle of the top coats: Sally Hansen vs. Revlon Colorstay Click To Tweet

My prediction from the start was that the Revlon Colorstay Gel Envy top coat would be longer lasting just due to the type of top coat it is and since it’s supposed to be “tough”. Below are pictures of my left and right hands throughout the two week course of this manicure.


Day 2 Sally Hansen vs. Revlon top coat -
Day 2 – Already small chips on my thumb nail with Revlon.



Day 6 Sally Hansen vs Revlon top coat -
Day 6



Day 10 Sally Hansen vs Revlon top coat -
Day 10



Day 14 Sally Hansen vs Revlon top coat -
Day 14



As you can see, my prediction was clearly wrong! Womp, womp 😒. I was very surprised that despite the annoying bubbles the Sally Hansen Insta-Dri top coat left behind, it made my manicure last longer and was way more chip resistant than the Revlon Colorstay Gel Envy top coat. The shine decreased a little on both sides over time but my nails weren’t dull looking by any means.

While the hand with the Revlon Colorstay top coat was left with multiple chips and cracks at day 14, the hand with the Sally Hansen top coat only showed minimal wear at the tip of the nails, minor chipping by the cuticles, and no cracks! There was a small chip on the corner of my thumb nail but that’s it as far as noticeable chipping.

This little test made me think about the power of marketing. Even though this was not the first time I’d used the Sally Hansen top coat, I was still on the hunt for something better and the marketing of the Revlon Colorstay Gel Envy totally got me! It made believe that it would be strong and long lasting by using words and phrases like “diamond”, “gel”, “envy” and stating that it’s “long-wearing”. When you think of it, these words sound good but it’s a bit vague. Sally Hansen is specific about what the Insta-Dri top coat will do: lasts up to 10 days and resists chips. They weren’t lying! For me, my manicure lasted more than 10 days.

Like I said before, the Revlon Colorstay Gel Envy top coat is formulated to work best with the Colorstay polishes from that line so it would be interesting to see if the top coat holds up better than using it with a different polish, even though the polish I used was a gel polish that was supposed to be long lasting all by itself. I just may test it out in the future!

What are your thoughts on my top coat test? If you have used the Revlon Colorstay top coat before, tell me how well it worked for you!

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35 thoughts on “Top Coat Battle: Sally Hansen vs. Revlon Colorstay

    1. Thanks for reading Tania! I have always really liked Sally Hansen products myself so this showed me that it’s a brand I can trust!

  1. Thanks for this review! I’m always looking for the best products and I always see Sally Henson in the store. I may have to pick some polish up!

    1. No problem Emerald! I’m glad it was helpful to you because that’s why I started this blog 🙂

  2. I only wear clear polish because I hate chipping so I might try this and see if my manicure will last longer than 3 days

    1. Oh well hopefully now you will venture into all the pretty colors Tomiko! A good top coat should definitely make a mani last more than 3 days. I have another great nail product I’ll be posting about soon that you may like as well so stay tuned!

  3. Great test! I am very surprised at how the Revlon didn’t hold up. Equally as shocked by the bubbles on the Sally Hansen. I love their regular top coat. I still have to give this gel trend a try. Thanks for taking one for the team! 🙂

    1. I was pretty surprised too Kirstin! As for the bubbles, unfortunately it’s not the first time that’s happened to me with a top coat. There’s another one that’s really good but also thickens after a few uses and causes bubbles. It sucks. I usually just add polish thinner to the bottle but I hate that I have to do that. But this particular Sally Hansen top coat really does do a good job and I don’t typically wear a polish for as long as 14 days.

  4. I’ve used to Revlon colorstay but not the Sally Hansen. I’m just trying to figure out how you got your mani to last so long. I’m rough on my nails!

    1. How did you like the Revlon Colorstay Stacie? Did you use the polish and top coat together? My nails go through a lot too but in my experience the products used make a difference. It’s just a matter of finding what works best for you.

  5. Yes marketing is key to the success of any product in the industry. But once the customer tries it you want to make sure they come back. Thanks for doing the research for us all, now I know which one to use.

    Love that nail color though.

    1. Definitely Tia. You want the customer to re-purchase. I may purchase the Revlon Colorstay polish for test purposes but I’m not that motivated to, based on these results. But I think it’s worth a shot. I’ve been using Sally Hansen for years now though and in hindsight, it’s never let me down. I do love the Wet n Wild polishes! I have so many of them!

  6. Thanks for this review. I am taking a break from going to the salon and have a trip to Jamaica and want my nails to last on both my feet and hands. I will be picking up the Sally Hansen as well as the Wet and Wild Color. That is too cute!

    1. I’m glad this was helpful for you Tanya! I think those 2 polishes will serve you well on your trip! Have a great time in Jamaica!

  7. Since having kids, I have gotten away from doing my own nails as I use mani/pedi time as mommy needs me time. But when I did polish my own nails I always loved sally hensen products. They were my go to. So I an not say I am fully surprised.

    1. Yes Bijee, I have always had pretty good results with Sally Hansen products too! I guess I’ll stick with it!

  8. This was a great test, I love polish but don’t polish my nails because they are always in water. I hate a chipped up nail polish, but 10 days is plenty long for me.

    I wasn’t feeling the air bubbles though.

    1. I totally understand Mimi! The great thing about this top coat is that it withstood washing dishes, the pool, etc. without chipping so I was very impressed! The air bubbles suck! That’s the one thing I can’t stand. I’ve had that happen to me with another really good top coat after a few uses. I just thin it out with polish thinner but I should’t have to do that.

    1. Oh I haven’t tried the SH gel polishes yet Christine!! How do you like them? I haven’t tried the top coat gel polish by SH either so that’s on my list of things to try 😉

  9. I always have a hard time finding a great top coat. I tried Sechi Vite that everyone raved about but it wasn’t that great for me. I’m surprised at how long the Sally Hansen lasted. Thanks for the review.

    1. I also tried Seche Vite VeePeeJay. It was just okay. It also got very thick after a few uses and I never bought it again. I think I’m going to stick with Sally Hansen for now. It’s been pretty consistent for me.

    1. You’re very welcome CheleVon! I am here to be of help for all 🙂 A good top coat is hard to find but this one is pretty good…minus the bubbles from it getting thick after a while.

  10. Thanks a lot for the review. I amazed at how the nail polish looks after 14 freaking days with Sally Hansen. Will definitely purchase it once I finish some of the ones I already have.

  11. I like the side-by-side shots to compare. I am curious how natural nail polish would hold up in comparison as I have been leaning towards those lately. Any ideas?

  12. Your blog was recommended to me by Facebook so I liked your Facebook page and decided to check your blog out. I saw this post because I’m a NAIL ADDICT haha. This was such a great post! I honestly am still searching for that top coat that doesn’t bubble on me and lasts as long as it says it does. Thank you for the wonderful post!!

    1. Thank you so much for checking out my blog AND FB page Carolyn!! I’m so glad you found this post helpful! The bubbling is really annoying but when that happens I put some polish thinner in it. Hopefully they’ll improve the formula so that won’t happen but it really is a great top coat, as you can see!

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