Can you use a top coat as a base coat?

The other day I ran out of my base coat and so I decided to instead use a top coat. How different could it be anyway, I thought. Isn´t a base coat and a top coat at the end the same? Just some clear nail polish? Can I not just use a top coat as a base coat and vise-versa a base coat as a top coat?

Well, you will find the answer is in this picture. ;-)

Ouch! Me using a top coat as a base coat...this is the result after only 2 days! 
This is how my manicure looked after only 2 days, when I used a top coat as a base coat! And yes: the complete nail polish on my index finger chipped off! So, the answer to the question is clearly a NO!!! You can´t use a top coat as a base coat!

Turns out that a top coat is forming a single solid coating over the nail plate for a much more durable finish, providing shine and making the nail overall more resistant to chips. And it also helps that the nail polish dries quicker! However: nothing really adheres to it and apparently other nail polish will just "slide" off on top of a top coat!

The other way around might work a little better: you could use a base coat as a top coat. A base coat prepares the nail, it primes it and fills in little ridges, and also makes the nail polish adhere better to your nail. A good base coat also protects your nail from damage and yellowing. If the base coat is crystal clear (like the Seche Vite), then you can use this as a top coat as well, but you won´t have the advantage of your nail polish drying quicker. Usually a top coat also provides a better shine than a base coat- but if you run out of top coat, this is better do-able than the other way around.

Overall it really makes sense to use a base coat and a top coat- just like they are intended to! ;-)

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