Today I used Sinful Colors Hazard with Essie Fiji for an accent stripe.
I'm a huge fan of both brands. However, Essie is slightly better in quality. It glides on smoother and never leaves streaks. Sinful is great though because it's so unbelievably cheap!
I used one base coat of Sally Hansen Mega Shine, two coats of Sinful, two more coats of Sally MS, two coats of Essie, and finished it off with two more coats of Sally MS.
Yes. I use a "top coat" as a base. I swear by Sally Hansen Mega Shine. As a base, it provides a smooth surface to work with and helps with any unevenness on the nail. As a top coat, it dries extremely fast and provides a sort of shell over all the layers.