Multifunctional Topcoats

The topcoat's primary function is to provide gloss to the manicure [11]. Since it is not usually pigmented, it also offers another layer of strength to the three-layered laminate. The components listed in Table 1 are blended to produce a lacquer with the desired combination of gloss and strength. It is a good idea to consistently use nitrocellulose as the primary film former for all three coating layers, but cellulose acetate butyrate is sometimes used in topcoats because it adheres well to the nitrocellulose layers, has good gloss, and is for the most part nonyellowing [12].

An additional feature can be added to the topcoat by including a small amount of a mirror flake to the clear lacquer [13]. The numerous interesting types available provide a very interesting contrast when used with either an unpig-mented base coat or a darker shade of crème nail enamel. The late 1990s saw the introduction of aluminum flakes that appear to be holographic in effect [14]. At any rate, the topcoat can be made more interesting by paying attention to lightweight accent pigments, which add drama and usually require very little or no suspending agent that would compromise the desired gloss level.

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