So when I did that recent Zoya promotion (buy one get two free), I got two polishes and a Zoya Armor top coat.
Now, I have a favorite top coat, Seche Vite's fast-drying one. It dries in seconds and has great wear time and is SO shiny. So why did I get another one? Well, Zoya polishes do NOT like 99% of top coats. Apparently the chemicals in most top coats don't react well with Zoya's more eco-friendly formula. I heard that the Zoya top coat works perfectly with their polishes, and since I have so many Zoya polishes at this point, I figured that the top coat was a worthwhile investment.
Zoya Armor Top Coat, $7.96 at zoya.com: It's the same price as the polishes, just about $8, and it comes in the same bottle. I like that, for visual consistency at least.
As far as topcoat goes, I evaluate it on a couple categories: shine, wear time, drying time, and application. So, the breakdown:
-Shine: On a scale of 1-10, this gets a 6 for shine. It's a little better than average, but it's no where near Seche Vite or Sally Hansen territory. It's definitely not matte and it has a sheen, but this is no mirror/glassy finish. It's not dull enough that it bothers me so much as to not use it as a top coat, but it's a definite downside to this product.
-Wear time: With Seche Vite and other top coats, I can get about 4 days out of a Zoya manicure before tip wear and chipping start to get to me. With Zoya's Armour, I can get a 7-8 days before I start jonesing to change my polish (I generally break down before then, but still). So this has everything else beat when it comes to lasting power.
-Drying time: I'd say the drying time is mediocre. It's about five minutes before it's dry to the touch and about 30 before I feel safe grabbing things. That's a bit better than, say, Sally Hansen top coats, but not nearly as fast as Seche Vite top coat. So it's good, but I've seen better.
-Application: this is a very thin top coat. On one hand, that's a good thing, because it means the top coat won't get stringy and thick in the bottle as it gets more air exposure (ahem, Seche Vite). So you can actually use the whole bottle of top coat without it drying out too much. On the other hand, since it's a thin formula, polish with any glitter or gritty shimmer doesn't feel smooth under this top coat. Thicker top coats can give you a smooth surface over a glitter polish. Even with two coats, this can't.
Overall rating: I'd give this a B+. I wouldn't use it with a non-Zoya polish, but with Zoya polishes it works better than anything else I've used. So if you have lots of Zoya polishes and wear them a lot, then this is a sound investment. If you use mostly OPI or Essie, then I'd stick to Seche Vite or Sally Hansen.
Image via zoya.com.