I love nail foils. They're fun and easy and can be really eye catching. The only problem is that they are delicate and not many topcoats work with them. Actually, it's rare to find a topcoat that works with them so I wear them without one and get maybe a few hours wear before my manicure is destroyed. I found a solution that has been working for me - water based glossy clear varnish.
This one to be exact. You can find this brand online here or on Amazon here but there are a few other brands that make a water based varnish. I went with this brand because it is non-toxic and US made. Please, please, please make sure that it is water based and that it is glossy. No need for matte here. I bought mine at a craft shop for about $7 and the bottle is huge. It's easily removed with acetone and if you get any on your skin it will wash off with soap and water.
I filled an empty polish bottle about 70% full and added water to thin it a bit more. It's already thin but I wanted it a little bit thinner. Here is a bottle shot. I would say a 4 to 1 ratio of varnish and water is what I used. Use water to thin and only water.
Here is Silver Crush over a silver foil polish. The little rough spots that you see are spots that I missed when smoothing the foil. I always miss spots so I make sure to match my base with the foil so it's not obvious in reality. I applied one thin coat of varnish and let it dry. It dries to the touch in about 10 minutes and it is completely dry (for me) in 20 minutes. When it is completely dry you can apply regular topcoat. It needs to be completely dry before applying normal topcoat. I have worn foils without adding topcoat over the varnish and have gotten great wear so I think the regular topcoat is optional.
These photos were taken after wearing this for a day and a half.
Here is what it looks like when I use topcoat without the varnish. Yuck!
Here is a close up of the same foil with a coat of varnish over it. Shiny and really smooth!
If you use acrylic paints for nail art this may be something to check out to preserve your creations without smearing. This also works for really adhering stones on the nail and keeping them from catching on things. The best one? It works extremely well at smoothing glitters that eat topcoat! Woo! It's really, really handy to have around!
I hope you found this helpful!