I love flaunting a fresh manicure, but hate painting my nails. It seems like no matter how careful I am, chips and cracks instantly appear in the polish just from looking sideways at it. In the past, I avoided shelling out the cash for a professional manicure, because I figured that, while pretty, it it was just too fleeting to justify. Turns out I was going about it all wrong! There’s no reason why your manicure shouldn’t last at least a full 7 days or more. If you’re looking to get the best bang for your buck, here are 7 ways to make your manicure last longer (that don’t involve wearing gloves 24/7, either!).
1. B.Y.O.P. Bring your own polish! If you’re going to the salon rather than DIYing it, bring your own bottle of lacquer instead of using the ones provided. Salons are notorious for adding thinners to extend the life of old, gloopy polishes, which can cause bubbling and peeling on the nail.
2. Prep the nail. You want a clean of a base as possible before you start layering on the polish, so make sure your nail beds are clean and dry. Wipe down the nail with white vinegar or nail polish remover to remove any product buildup and natural oils.
3. Apply a base coat. The stickier the base coat, the better. You want something for the polish to adhere and grip to. (Here’s our review of toxin-free base/top coat from Zoya.)
4. Seal the edges. Brush the base coat, nail polish, and top coat along the tip of the nail (the “free edge”), and even a little underneath the nail if yours are long enough. This protects and seals the edge of the nail which is the first thing to chip due to daily use.
5. Reapply. Every two to three days after your manicure, reapply a layer of top coat. This keeps cracking to a minimum and bumps up the shine.
6. File and fix. If the polish has worn down around the tips, file them down, then seal with another layer of top coat. And don’t forget the free edge!
7. Protect the nails. The best offense is a good defense. Always wear gloves when cleaning or washing dishes, avoid drying soaps and hot water, and never use your nails as tools!
How do you make your nails last and last?
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Photo: Mary Hood