I used one coat of nail strengthener from another brand as a base coat, followed by three thin coats of Lovers Creep, and finished off with one thin layer of top coat. I let my nails dry a good length of time (15 minutes at least) between coats to be on the safe side. This mani has been going strong for four days with zero chipping. The color isn't quite opaque, even with three coats, but I love the depth of color that the translucency gives--it's a super-rich dark blood red that will be especially perfect in the fall and winter. I'm getting ready to purchase more Smith & Cult lacquers because for me, the quality is worth the cost.
As a note: the pretty-but-bulky top pips right off to reveal a reasonable and small black twist-off application cap. You don't need to juggle that big metallic thing while painting your nails.