Good base coats are like good undergarments – they provide a foundation to make what you wear on top look better.
For about 4 years, I’ve been using either the Nail Tek Foundation III or Nail Tek Foundation II ridge-filling base coat nearly every time I’ve painted my nails.
Not only does it smooth out your nail and prep it for polish, but it prevents your nails from getting stained.
Plus I’ve noticed that using this stuff has made my average manicure mileage at least 7 days with any brand of polish.
Since I mentioned the Nail Tek Foundation II base coat so many times in my nail-swatch posts, I decided to put the spotlight on it.
To my surprise I learned something about it that made me want to hunt down another base coat. Know what it is? Find out!
Nail Tek Foundation II Pictures
Nail Tek Foundation II Swatch
√ Fills ridges & nail damage
X Heals & strengthens the natural nail
- Name: Nail Tek Foundation II Base Coat
- Amount: 15 mL
- What I Paid: $5.50 USD
- Where to Buy: Trans Design, 8ty8Beauty, Head2Toe & various beauty-supply stores
Nail Tek Foundation II Review
I was never once left with stained nails when I used the Nail Tek Foundation II ridge filling base coat. Even if I wore deep reds, navy blues, or forest greens, Nail Tek did its job by protecting my natural nails.
Nail ridges can ruin the way a manicure looks. Sure, you can buff your nails to smooth them out, but in all honesty, I hate buffing and hardly do it.
With the Nail Tek ridge filler, you not only get a smooth nail surface to work with in seconds, but it also preps your nails for nail polish.
All base coats I’ve tried dry pretty quickly, and this one was no exception. Usually I just wait about 2 minutes to let it dry a bit more before I go over it with a colored polish.
Consistency & Finish
The Nail Tek Foundation 2 base coat is very thin and liquidy. It has a slightly milky color, and when it dries, it becomes matte.
The great thing about the milky color is that it provides just the slightest bit of color that helps sheer polishes show up a little more. (Of course if you really want a sheer polish to look more opaque, you can layer it over white, black, or a color that picks up on the sheer polish’s nuances.)
I’m not too concerned about exclusively using Big-3-free formulas, but when it comes to a base coat, I’d prefer if it doesn’t contain formaldehyde, formaldehyde resin, toluene, or DBP. Since a base coat is directly on my natural nail, these chemicals can absorb more easily.
Although I’ve been using Nail Tek Foundation 2 base coat for so many years, it was only when I decided to write this review that I looked at the ingredients. To my disappointment, it contains formaldehyde! I’ll continue using this base coat until I finish it, but now I’m on a hunt to find a ridge-filling base coat that’s Big-3-free.
This base coat claims to heal and strengthen your natural nails, but I didn’t find this to be true at all. It’s more for nails that are already healthy and strong.
Normally my natural nails are very strong, and I rarely have peeling or breakage issues. But the few times my nails were feeling a little dry, the Nail Tek Foundation II ridge filling base coat did nothing to improve the situation. In fact, when I removed all my polish those times, my nails felt drier than before.
Nail Tek can be very pricey if you pay retail prices – I’ve seen this base coat sold for $11 at one store! Ridiculous! If you want this product, my suggestion is that you buy from etailers because not only do they sell it for a discounted price, but occasionally they go on sale to boot!
Nail Tek Foundation II vs. Nail Tek Foundation III
Nail Tek Foundation II Base Coat is supposed to be for soft, peeling nails. And Nail Tek Foundation III Base Coat is formulated for dry, brittle nails.
The packaging and bottles look similar. And I found no difference between the two in terms of how it made my nails feel or how it made my nail polish perform. They’re interchangeable to me.
Matte Nail-Polish Frankening
Although I’ve never tried it myself, I’ve heard how you can use Nail Tek Foundation II (or III) Base Coat to make your own matte nail polish. All you have to do is mix together your own pigments or add polish to some of this base coat.
Final Verdict: 8.5/10
The Nail Tek Foundation II base coat works really well if you want to fill ridges and smooth out the surface of your nails. But remember that it contains formaldehyde and it doesn’t actually strengthen your nails with repeated use.
Can you recommend a Big-3-free ridge-filling base coat? Have you tried other Nail Tek products with positive results? Do you wear a base coat with every manicure? Have you used this to franken your own matte polishes?