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Thursday, October 24, 2013

My new Holy Grail top coat only costs $1.99

It's rare that I declare something a new Holy Grail product, and it's even more rare when that product has to do with nail polish. I've been meaning to post about this product for a while now, but since there are some killer deals on NYC this week at both CVS and Rite Aid, I thought it was the perfect time to tell you about it.

NYC In a New York Minute Quick Dry Nail Polish in Grand Central Station
(retail: $1.99, 0.33 oz)


So here's the deal: This product is not technically a top coat, although many people use it as one. I first heard about using this as top coat from YOU, and I seriously wish I could hug each and every person who has mentioned this product to me over the past year or so....it's a game-changer for both me and my mom (more about that in a minute).


The brush is flat and wide, but not as wide as a Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure or Insta-Dri brush. 

When I bought my first bottle of Grand Central Station, I actually gave it to my mom to try first. My mom is 73 and she became a nail polish fanatic later in life (thanks to her daughter!) and now she LOVES rocking glitter manis, which I think is absolutely adorable. Anyway, I visited her about two weeks after I gave her this polish, and I couldn't believe what I saw. After two weeks of rocking a thick, glitter-dense manicure, there was NO peeling or chipping. She said that about every three days, she just applied another coat of NYC Grand Central Station and two weeks later, her nails were still shiny and perfect. And this is woman who is HARD on her nails. She's old-school and uses bleach for cleaning the kitchen and bathroom, she gardens daily, and her manicures never last more than a few days before there's serious chipping. 

And now, on to my own personal experience. If you'll recall, I did my Sinful Colors Glitter Gradient manicure on Sunday night (10/19) and posted pics of it on Monday (10/20). Today is Thursday (10/24) and here's what my manicure looks like (picture taken just moments ago):

Two coats of NYC Grand Central Station were applied over this manicure
(no base coat)

Aside from tip-wear, this mani still looks fabulous and shiny. With many glitter-dense polishes I own, by day three I often see the polish peeling off in sheets. On my pinky, I've got two coats of Sinful Colors Gilded on my nail, and two coats of NYC Grand Central Station. And guess what? This baby is NOT budging. I even tried to peel it off, and it's not moving. And by the way, I was extra hard on my nails this week...I did a lot of cleaning, etc. and I never wear gloves when I'm cleaning (even though I know I should!).

I've used Grand Central Station over just about every type of polish finish you can think of and, for me personally, it works every time--even when I don't apply a base coat first. Granted, top coats work differently for EVERYONE (so much depends on body chemistry, what other polishes you're using in conjunction with your top coat, how rough you are on your nails, etc.) but for $1.19 this week at CVS and Rite Aid, or even for $1.99 at full price, it's worth a shot, right?

For me, the key is to apply two coats over your manicure (wait a few minutes for the first coat to dry before applying the second). And if you want your manicure to last more than three or four days, I suggest applying another coat of Grand Central Station every 2-3 days until you're ready to remove your manicure.

Don't get me wrong, I still love Seche Vite, Gelous, Out the Door and other great top coats, but factoring in price, availability and performance, NYC Grand Central Station is my new Holy Grail top coat. And I have YOU to thank for that!

Do you use NYC Grand Central Station? If so, I'd love to hear from you!

The products featured in this post were purchased with personal funds. For more information, click here.

105 COMMENTS:

  1. I use this for my swatches, but I can't wear it for manis. It cracks on me after a few days. :(

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aaah, such a bummer it cracks on you. I haven't had any cracking or shrinkage with this one AT ALL, but yeah...so many factors are specific to the wearer. Welp, at least you like it for swatching! :D

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    2. Or bubbles. I get the same. No shrinkage though. My current fave is Revlon Gel Topcoat.

      Delete
  2. Yes! I love love love this top coat! I buy it it bulk when NYC goes on sale :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The extra shiny topcoat dries really fast, I was amazed, I purchased the matte topcoat also but I think I will use that on top of my frost nail polishes. The Grand Central Sta. was sold out :( I'll take another look today.

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  3. I use this religiously. I've tried Essie's and others but this has become my favorite. Dries fast and I think it imparts fantastic shine. And when it's 40 percent off at Rite Aid, that's bonus!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love Essie Good to Go too, but it can bubble if I'm not careful... this one never bubbles!!

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  4. I've started using this as my top coat after I got fed up with how quickly Seche Vite makes my manis peel. I'm still surprised at how quickly it dries down, since so many other cheap top coats have been touted as quick drying yet take hours!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I totally agree with you... it dries SO quickly!!

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  5. I think quick dry nail polish means the same as quick dry topcoat or quick dry base coat after all it's all nail polish. I love it as well. In fact I mix it in with seche vite to elevate shrinkage.

    It's awesome that you got your mom into nail polish and she wears glitter! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hum...I can't say I agree with you there. I've tried using clear nail polishes as top and/or base coat many times and they do NOT work for those purposes....a lot of them are so thin they barely do a thing! But THIS one really does great as top coat for me! :)

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  6. If you can find it, their matte top coat is pretty good too, and it practically doubles my nail polish collection since I don't have to buy matte polishes. :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aaah yes, I've reviewed the NYC matte top coat and I love it! It's truly matte and you can't beat the price!

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  7. This is My go to top coat! Dries quickly, cheap, easy to find and has a nice brush and consistency! I like seche vite too but i have love/hate relationship with it because it's so finicky (needs thinning with seche restore, shrinkage, thick) but it dries SO fast and is so shiny.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ha! So I FINALLY find out that I didn't get a bad batch of Seche Vite because the bottle quickly became thick and stringy. I haven't used it since. I was pretty upset because it's a bit pricey.

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    2. Seche Vite is disappointing in how quickly it thickens, but it can easily be remedied with some polish thinner. There are plenty of people for whom Seche is the best option and NYC GSC doesn't quite work.

      Besides, a bottle of polish thinner is very useful to have if you have alot of polish, it can help revive dried out polishes or make thick, gloopy polishes more workable.

      Delete
  8. Does it get thick and gunky after using just a third of the bottle the way Seche Vite does? Honestly, I have 6 bottles of the SV that are only a little empty so I can't stand to throw them out, but they are too darned thick to use.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nope! It stays perfect all the way through!

      Have you tried Seche Restore to revive your almost empty bottles of Seche Vite? It works!

      Delete
    2. I beg to differ with you, G. I find that my GSC does get gloopy aboutg halfway through, but some nail polish thinner restores it back to the consistency I need.

      Delete
  9. Ahh yeah, I just got a bottle of this a few weeks ago! It seems a lot thinner than the other fast dry top coats, and I haven't tried it on any glitters, but it's been working for me. And to know the insane results you and other people have gotten makes me just so happy. I need to go stock up on them :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's thinner than SV and Essie Good to Go but to me it's about the same thickness as Out the Door. Like I mentioned in my post. I like to apply two coats... it really locks things in that way! :)

      Delete
  10. No shrinking or cracking here either! Out the Door cracks a lot for me. This is as good as Sec'n Dry (Orly) for me. Excellent price, and I like the feel of the handle and shape of the bottle.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yay!! And I agree... I like the handle/bottle too. :)

      Delete
  11. I use this at least half of the time, I loooove it. I've recently taken a liking to Color Club's clear that I picked up in a multipack, so this one hasn't been in play as much now that I have a new toy. I just couldn't afford Seche Vite with as much as I go through and with as little as it can last, and this is a fab alternative.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. OMG I think I have three untouched clear CC polishes from various multi-packs!! You just convinced me to try them! Thanks! :)

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    2. You're welcome! I especially love it with glitter polish because it's on the thicker side, but it still dries quickly, and it's super shiny.

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    3. Thank you! I will definitely try it with my glitters!

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    4. Sorry to be a downer, G, but I wouldn't get my hopes up too high yet. I've tried using the clear bottles from CC multipacks as both base and top coats and have never had good results with either one. However, the packs don't seem to be consistent, so maybe you will have an experience like Jessica's rather than one like mine. I'll cross my fingers for you.

      Delete
  12. Replies
    1. Hum...i have never tried this as base coat before, probably because I love the shine so much. I wouldn't want to cover it up and waste it! But it's worth a shot! If you try it, let us know how it works!

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    2. It made my polish pop off my pinkie in one piece (in my MOUTH *gag*) the time I used it when I didn't have anything else. I have a photo somewhere.

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    3. Yikes! Ok well I'm NOT trying it as a base coat now! Lol!

      Delete
  13. I mix this top coat 50/50 with Seche Vite. :) Separately, GCC cracks on me, and SV shrinks on me, but somehow together, they form the perfect top coat!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nice!! Do you just wait until your SV is half empty and then pour the NYC in?

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    2. PBI, yup, that's what I do, ever since learning of this "recipe" over at MUA.

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    3. I just tried mixing these but my bottle has turned out cloudy. Is that normal? Will it clear up over time? Will it look clear on the nail? Thanks!

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    4. The cloudy topcoat will *not* clear up over time, but the good news is that it does not look or dry cloudy over other polishes. HTH! :)

      Delete
  14. What about over nail art? Any smudging?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've only used it over nail art twice (a dot mani and this glitter gradient) but no smudging either time)!

      Delete
    2. I've used it many times over stamping, and it's never caused any smearing or smudging.

      Delete
  15. I use this to remove my polish. Put one coat on the mani I want to remove and when it's dry all the polish peels off in a sheet easy as pie. I looove how it looks when I wear it I just wish it lasted longer for me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aaaaw, well at least you found a use for it! ;)

      Delete
  16. I just tried this the other day and it's soooo nice! what a pleasant surprise. Great TC. shiny, no shrinkage (and I'm going to mix it with my 3/4 empty SV bottle now too, until I get some Restore because yep, same issues) this stuff didn't budge and I used it as a shiny TC over my gel nails, and it outshone even the gel TC I was using. Now I wish I could find the matte maker one.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yay! So glad it's working for you too!

      Delete
  17. How fast does it dry? OTD is my HG. Nothing else I've tried, including SV, beats the dry time of OTD.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. To me, it actually dries quicker than OTD!

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    2. I've heard people say that it takes a little bit longer than Seche Vite, though I've never sat down and timed it for myself.

      Delete
  18. Started with SV but I get so sick of the shrinking. I love NYC, no shrinking, and you can't beat the price!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yep, it's like they're giving it away!

      Delete
  19. i bought this weeks ago, but haven't used it yet. will probably use it this weekend and see how it compares to my beloved seche, lol

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. OMG Niki please tell me know you like it when you do!

      Delete
  20. I didn't even know about this top coat and I am nail polish obsessed. What the heck is wrong with me?! lol I am so going to try this now. Thanks for the post!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lol you're welcome! Can't wait to hear how it works for you!

      Delete
    2. I was nail polish obsessed for a long time before I heard of this topcoat. The first person who I ever heard discuss it is The Nailasaurus, but the ladies over on the Makeup Alley nail board also discuss it quite frequently whenever the issue of topcoats comes up.

      Delete
  21. I've never tried this! Does it help the polish underneath dry faster? That's what I need in a top coat. :)
    I use the Sally Hansen Insta-Dri top coat "that comes in the red bottle inside a box". That's how I describe it to people so they can find it at the store!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. All quick dry topcoats are supposed to help in that same way-by making the polish underneath dry faster. :)

      I've heard lots of great things about that Sally Hansen topcoat, as well, but have never tried it for myself.

      Delete
  22. I had used only China Glaze topcoat for many years. The last time I needed a new bottle I was in a terrible hurry and just grabbed the NYC extra shiny topcoat while I was at Rite Aid buying a few other items from the brand during a sale. It's great. Slightly thinner texture, dries quickly, does not smear wet polish underneath or crack, very shiny at first but colors stay clear and bright even several days in (at lot of topcoats I've used turn dull or cloudy). I think I pd $1 for it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I loved the extra shiny top coat for many years... until I tried this one! I swear it's 10x better!

      Delete
  23. I love that you love this as much as I do G.! I also like a coat if Gelous underneath if I am using glitter or I want my mani to last a whole week. I always stock up when its on sale because the bottle us small and I use alot of it. I don't skimp and I still find with a thick coat it still dries fast

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yay!! And I totally agree, R. Layering on top of Gelous makes even textured polishes smooth for me! :)

      Delete
  24. This is the only top coat I use! Love it, it's affordable and works great!

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  25. I've tried three different bottles of this, and have the same problem with each--the topcoat dries cloudy, ruining the mani. I can't find any info on why this happens, but Seche doesn't do it, so I'm sticking with that. I also find it to be bubble-prone.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hum...that is so strange! As you can see in my pic above, I have NO issues with this top coat drying cloudy on me, and I have not once had it bubble (Essie Good To Go, on the other hand, often bubbles for me). So strange how things can work for some but not for others, huh? Sorry it's not a love-match for you!

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    2. Acetone and oil can both make it cloud. If you're cleaning up or moisturizing right after applying it, it might do that. Another coat clears it up again.

      Delete
  26. Ooh, thanks for this! I've been on the hunt for a new TC, as Seche bubbles on me (and cracks after only a few days) and just about everything else I've tried simply peels off.

    Any recommendations for long-lasting base coats?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I never get bubbling with this, no matter how thickly I apply it!

      The only base coat that ever works for me personally is Orly Bonder. I've tried so many other much-raved-about BCs and none ever work as well as Bonder!

      Delete
    2. Many of the ladies at MUA swear by the Revlon Colorstay base coat, saying it improves the life of their manicures dramatically. I would check that one out next time there's a good sale.

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  27. It is also one of only two top coats I know of that don't dull holos at all. The other is Sally Hansen Insta-Dry but I like Grand Central Station much more. I use it with my Seche Vite on almost all my manicures, it keeps my polish from shrinking somehow.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. OMG thank you for pointing this out!! Someone mentioned that here a while ago and I totally forgot that this is yet another benefit of this polish!!

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    2. Oh wow really?? So good to know! I was looking for a tc that wouldn't dull my holos and turns out I already have one!

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  28. Wow, I have this in my stash, but my favorite is Essie Good to Go, so I've been using that...but after so many of you have rave reviews of this, I will try it next time I do my nails. I hope I love it because the Essie is pricey and this would be a great, inexpensive alternative. Thanks for the review! :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Carol, I love GTG too, but it bubbles for me and this doesn't! I find the shine and dry-time of GCS quite comparable to GTG as well! :)

      Please let me know how it works for you when you try it? *fingers crossed*

      Delete
    2. G, I know this is your HG but you MUST try the new Revlon Gel Topcoat. It's fast drying, thick like SV and doesn't get thick.

      Delete
  29. I really love GCS and use it anytime I am not in a hurry (then I just have to use Seche Vite). From NYC I also like the Classy Glassy top coat. It's soo glossy, the only downside is that you have to use really thin coats of it otherwise it takes forever to dry. But once you know the trick you're good to go!

    ReplyDelete
  30. I use one from avon that was given to me and I love it! It holds up as well as gel polish with me it's nail experts uv gloss guard and is amazing at removing edges on larger glitter and smoothing out nail texture. I've even used it as a base coat and it was amazing.

    ReplyDelete
  31. what does it mean for a polish to shrink?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Some top coats will make the polish pull away from the cuticle line, side edges, and/or tips of the nails as it dries. So once the polish is fully dry, a smaller area is covered with polish than when it was wet.

      Delete
  32. I am kind of torn between GCS and SV: the former is less prone to shrinkage and thickening, but the latter is faster and glossier. Most of the time, I use SV on my nails and GSC on swatch sticks. I should give it another go on my nails, though; it's been a while.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Maybe you should try doing the 50/50 Seche Vite/GCS combination. Many people say it takes the best attributes of each topcoat and combines it into one awesome topcoat!

      Delete
  33. I was turned on to Out the Door quick dry top coat by TiffanyD and I have to admit, it's miraculous. It's as glossy as OPI and hard as a rock. I went a week and a half before the first nail started showing wear at the tip! I'm trying this week over a red Loreal which is the real test for me.

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  34. I love this top coat too, and I buy out both CVS's where I live when they run sales. I use OPI Nail Envy to strengthen my nails, but I've found that it doesn't get along well with some of my polishes as a top coat (particularly Wet 'n Wild, which literally never sets for me when topped with Nail Envy). But GSC gets along with all my polishes! And I've never had any problems with nail art, or with it getting goopy, or cracking. Love!

    ReplyDelete
  35. Hope this work have a big problem with top coats that does not happen with my regular polishes they turn thick , even seche vite turned very thick one me don't know why, I close them tighly and also don't let much air come in

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Unfortunately, it's just the nature of quick dry topcoats. Something about the ingredients that make them dry quicky also make qdtc's thicken over time. You can add polish thinner to restore thickened topcoats back to a workable consistency.

      Delete
    2. yeah I have tried that, but then they didn't shine anymore

      Delete
  36. Ive been using this for a few years now and i love it!! I always get asked if I'm wearing gel polish:)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're not alone, people ask me too if my nails are gel. Nope, it's our friend GCS. I've been using it for longest time and love it.

      Delete
  37. Whoa! I'm gonna have to get this, no doubt about it! :)

    ReplyDelete
  38. Ran out to CVS last night to buy this and just tested it - I can't wait to use Grand Central Station for a full mani, I already adore it! Thanks so much for sharing. c:

    ReplyDelete
  39. This post is awesome! Thank you everyone who commented--I took notes on a bunch of topcoats I want to try. Hopefully I'll find one I love--I was going to splurge on the butter london bc it's free of everything I can't use but there are some that fit the bill here that costs at least 75% less.

    ReplyDelete
  40. I'm gonna have to remember to get this once I use up the top coat I have now.

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  41. Yes! This I'd definitely a holy grail topcoat for me, and I'm so glad it's made its way to your nails. This product literally stunned me, as I used to dish out the few extra $$ for seche vite/out the door topcoat.... That is until now, lol. The price is also just as nice. :)

    ReplyDelete
  42. It turns out I had a bottle of this, so I'm using it on half my mani and my regular top coat on the other half and I'm going to see how they compare. If it's just as good I can save myself a lot of money! Thanks for the post!!

    ReplyDelete
  43. I tried to find this. All I found was NYC topcoats. Is this just a clear polish named Grand Central Station?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, that's the polish. I tried it Sunday snd my mani is still looking fresh.

      Delete
  44. Poshe is my favorite quick-dry topcoat. I buy it as CVS. I did, however, buy NYC Grand Central Station today to compare to my others. Butter London P.D. Quick is fabulous, but not thin, and it's too expensive. I love Seche Vite, but it is finicky and stinky (it's evaporation of chemicals that makes it get gloopy). Seche Vite does dry the layers underneath faster for me than any others, if I use it right away while my polish is still very wet, like the instructions say to do. I didn't like Orly Sec n Dry much. Out the Door dries the top layer of polish very well for me, but doesn't do much for the underneath layers.
    Everyone, please make sure that you use polish thinner and not polish remover to restore thick polishes or topcoats. Totally different.

    ReplyDelete
  45. G. How do you like this compared to Seche Vite or Out The Door?

    ReplyDelete
  46. I would pay $8 for GCS just because it is the only quick dry top coat I have ever tried that doesn't have any shrinkage whatsoever on me.

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  47. Grand Central Station is the only top coat I use. I meant to write here sooner, but when this was posted I wasn't commenting.

    Having not counted recently, I think there are 30-35 of these bottles in my stash, all on sale at 40-50% off. I like to stock up... especially in fear that someday they might be discontinued. I'm covered if that ever happens.

    Apply as a top coat to wet polish. Don't forget to coat under your nails and tips. Reapply every 1-2 days.

    Some polishes take forever to dry... this clear top coat solves that problem.

    It might get goopy mid-bottle. The fix is a few drops of nail polish thinner. When a bottle gets mid-way I pull out a fresh one. Then I take the half used ones and combine them. A little thinner later and it's like a new bottle. Save the empty bottle, clean it out with nail polish remover... you never know when you might need an empty.

    Just buy it. You won't regret it. It's only $1 to $2.

    ReplyDelete
  48. I know this is an old post, bu I recently discovered this myself. I really like it too! :-D

    ReplyDelete

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