My absolute favorite base coat/strengthener that I have used so far is Orly Nailtrition. I originally decided to try it out after reading a review on Gilded Nails, where she said her peelies went away completely. My biggest problem on my nails is the peelies, I just can't seem to get rid of them! When I started using Nailtrition about a year ago I found that it didn't get rid of my peelies, but it DID make my nails very strong. Before I was using this, I would often get corner breaks on my nails where they were weak, at least one every few weeks. Now that I am using Nailtrition I rarely get any breaks, and my nails feel very strong and difficult to bend. Still on the search to combat my peeling, I tried switching to Nail Envy Sensitive and Peeling about 6 months ago, used it for 2 months, and started to get a lot more breaks... which made me realize just how well Nailtrition was working for me! So of course I switched right back.
The package recommends you use Nailtrition as a two week treatment on it's own, but I honestly just use it as my basecoat and I love it. As you probably know my feelings on nekkid nails.... I was unable to get myself to use it the way the treatment recommends and have bare nails for two full weeks! Eek!! It also drives fairly fast and has a subtle pink shimmer which is pretty. If you aren't as spastic about nekkid nails like me, it would probably be nice to wear on it's own.
The hands down BEST top coat that I have ever used is Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat. Seriously, I go through Seche Vite like water! I don't know how I painted my nails and had the patience to wait for them to dry without it. It has spoiled me! In about 5 minutes it's no longer tacky, and I love that if I make a smudge I can usually try and rub out the smudge with my finger.
The other big plus about Seche Vite is how it doesn't smear my nail art. Have you ever spent a bunch of time perfecting your nails, throw on some top coat, then have it get smeared and ruined with a top coat? I just can't handle that, and I think Seche Vite has only smeared on me once or twice, I really love it.
Since Seche Vite dries so fast, if you have used it, you may already know that it sometimes wants to pull the nail polish back and give you artificial tip wear as it dries. To combat this, I always wrap my tips with my top coat. I apply Seche Vite to my entire nail, then run the brush across the free tip of the nail. This seems to have stopped the unattractive tip wear, and I think it helps the polish stay on a bit longer.
I also really love how Seche Vite is thick, but not too thick. It really smooths out any bumps in my nail art as well as smoothing out bumpy glitter.
My favorite cuticle moisturizer is Mango Mend Treatment Balm. I love it. It's got a nice light barely-there scent, and it instantly takes away any dryness on my cuticles. I keep a travel size in my purse, some at work, and a big tub next to my couch. I use it all the time.
I've read lots of good things on Blue Cross Cuticle Remover, so I picked some up for myself. It's very thin, so I poured it into an empty polish bottle and apply it with the nail brush. I just use a cuticle pusher after applying it, and it amazes me how I remove unwanted cuticle that I didn't even know was there!