REVIEW: Deborah Lippmann Rehydrating Base Coat

A good base coat is a must, in my opinion, to prevent your polish from staining your nails.  Because the base coat comes in direct contact with my nails and because my nails tend to be on the drier side, I was looking for a base coat that would give my nails a little more TLC than a plain ol’ clear base coat.  I looked into OPI’s Nail Envy line and Nailtiques’ protein formulas, but was disappointed that they all still contained formaldehyde or formaldehyde resin.  (The Nail Envy for sensitive and peeling nails is advertised as formaldehyde-free, but didn’t seem to have good reviews.)

So when I read that Deborah Lippmann’s Rehydrating Base Coat was touted as protecting nails from drying and and was 3-free, I decided that investing the whopping $18 for the bottle might be worthwhile.

While I wasn’t completely wrong, I was definitely not right.

Its touted features:

– Prevents nails from drying and peeling.
– Kukui Nut Oil and Asian Ginseng enrich the nail making this a great treament.
– Aucoumea Klaineana extract, a natural resin from west African trees, which helps to strengthen nails and prevent ridges for smoother, healthier nails.

Sounds oh so nice, right?


First, the pros: it dries quickly and serves as a great base coat.  It prevents my dark polishes from staining my nails and hasn’t negatively affected the longevity of my manicures.  The bottle has yet to dry out on me even though I’ve opened it every time I’ve polished my nails.  The brush on this bottle is the same as in all of Deborah Lippmann’s bottles, that is to say, fantastic.  It has smooth, even bristles and dips all the way to the bottom of the bottle so you can get every little drop of that precious liquid.  Finally, when I wore it alone on test runs, it didn’t make my nails any worse than they already are.

And therein also likes the primary con: while the rehydrating base coat didn’t leave my nails any worse off than they already are, it didn’t help them out either.  My nails were still dry.  And those ridges?  Yep, still there.  If something is going to be marketed as having hydrating and strengthening properties, I expect more than an $18 bottle of status quo.

I do believe in investing in good base coats—even $18 ones—just not this one, I’m afraid.  Nailtiques, come out with a formaldehyde-free formula and I’ll be all over your products!  Deborah Lippmann, I still love you and still covet your Mermaid’s Dream.


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