FACE OFF: Sally vs Seche

I’m a Seche girl. Seche is what made it possible for me to paint my nails anew every day for a year. It’s what allowed me to do a dozen wiggly little girls’ nails without fear that the polish would smear everywhere. Seche is my one true love.

But then Collier — literal professional nail polish person–swore by Sally Hansen Insta-Dri in her “Nails 101.” I tend to trust her judgment on all things polish, so I thought I’d better give Insta-Dri another shot.

Prices are comparable. I bought my Insta-Dri at Ulta for $6 (Target has it for $5), and my Seche for $5 on Amazon (Walmart has it for $6; Ulta has it for $10). Worth noting: Seche sells “professional”-sized refills — the equivalent of eight bottles! — for $10-$15 on eBay. If you need a lot of topcoat, Seche definitely wins the ‘best value’ contest! BUT HOW DO THEY PERFORM?


I painted each nail with two coats of navy polish, wrapping the nails as I went. Then I applied Seche and Insta-Dri, alternating nails and wrapping each with topcoat.



  1. Insta-Dri is thin, smooth, and much more pleasant to apply. The Seche, being significantly thicker, drags a bit as it applies (though it does level out). Insta-Dri is syrup to Seche’s molasses. (You should refrain from putting either on your pancakes, though.)
  2. I purposefully smudged two of the nails while painting (ring: Insta; middle: Seche), to see how well each topcoat leveled out or masked imperfections. The Insta-Dri left the nail a little lumpy, while the Seche glossed over the problem.
  3. The Seche dried glossier than the Insta-Dri.
  4. Both were dry to the touch within a matter of minutes, but the Insta-Dri was smudgeable for longer. (Half an hour later, I accidentally nicked my Insta-Dried thumb with a nail and it made a deep impression. I tried to revenge-nick the Seche thumb, but it held fast.)
  5. Neither have immediate shrinkage, but I’ll keep an eye over shrinkage, tip wear, and chipping over the next few days and update this post with a picture.
  6. [updates to come!]


Rippled ring finger/Insta-dri; smooth middle finger/Seche


I also had a request to explain what it means to ‘wrap nails.’ This is particularly good to know if you deal with Seche–I fully acknowledge that Seche has some shrinkage issues, though it’s never been a problem for me when I wrap my nails. (Wrapping nails also helps forestall tip wear and chipping. Yay!)

Fortunately, wrapping nails is SO easy!



  1. Do one coat of polish on your nail.
  2. Without dipping your brush back in the bottle, glide the brush perpendicular to the nail–you just want a thin coat of polish on the thin edge of your nail. (Alternately, hold the brush steady and carefully glide the very edge of your nail across the brush). If your polish covered the edge and then some — i.e., now the white of your nail has a little more polish than you’d like–fear not! You’ll get to that later. (But next time, make sure there’s not too much polish on your brush!)
  3. Repeat 1-2 for the other four digits on your hand.
  4. Do a second coat of polish on all five nails. If you got a little too much polish when wrapping your nails, this should help cover it up and level it out. You don’t need to wrap your nails with polish again; once is fine!
  5. Top coat your nail, wrapping the edge with top coat the same way you did with polish. Repeat for the other four nails.
  6. Fin!


If you got polish on the tips of your fingers while wrapping the edge, don’t worry about it — it’s easy to get off with a little remover, or it’ll come off in the shower when you wash your hair. (You can see that I got a little on my demonstration finger–it’s hard to take a picture while painting nails!)


What’s your favorite top coat? Have you tried either of these? Share!