We’ve all been there and done that. The dreaded untouched nails. Parts of the once-emmaculate French manicure now wearily flaking away, diligent in their perseverance towards a state of utter derelict. And every time we look down upon our barely perfect tippy tappers, we’d sigh and wish we either had more time, money or had never done them up at all. But fret not! Here are some tips to help you make your manicure last. The best part? The list doesn’t include going to see your manicurist four times a month.
1) Make sure your nails are extremely clean before applying any polish.
You’d clean your walls before sticking up any of those 3M hooks. The same logic should be applied to painting your nails. By cleaning them before adding your polish, the polish will adhere better and thus last longer. Use nail polish remover to clean them out first, and check that there isn’t any residue from the cotton pads, before getting started on the base coat.
2) Apply primer before base coat.
Nail primers are a new-found beauty gem (for me at least). They are applied onto clean nails before the base coat is added. This helps to create a rough surface on which the lacquer can cling on to. It also introduces a layer whereby one side adheres strongly to the nail and the other side to the nail polish on top. For those of you who love science, it’s something like a lipid bilayer where one side is polar while the other is non-polar. The result is a layer of polish that stays on your nails for longer.
3) Apply thin coats of lacquer as opposed to thick ones.
These coats dry faster. Doing so reduces the chances of bubbles rising to the surface of the manicure as it dries. The layers also chip less.
4) Apply the tips of your nails with top coat for added protection.
The last step in any manicure – before drying – is to apply a layer of top coat. But don’t forget to also apply this layer onto the ends, at your nail tips. This is the part where flaking or chipping begins most frequently and adding that little bit helps to keep everything intact no matter what you’re doing.
5) Apply a layer of top coat every 3 days.
This helps to protect your nails by replenishing the uppermost layer of protection. Because it’s just one layer you’re adding, it dries up fast and your manicure will look like it was brand new.
6) Use professional polish thinner on goopy polish.
When nail polishes have not been used for quite a while, they can turn thick and gooey. They’re not easy to work with and can actually ruin an otherwise perfect D.I.Y. manicure. To save the situation, add a few drops of polish thinner, like the Seche Restore Thinner, and swirl to loosen the lacquer up. If you can apply thin coats without getting frustrated, you’re good. Do not use nail polish remover, as this can damage the quality of your lacquer.
7) Clean away dried polish at the rim of the bottle.
If you can’t take it off because it’s stuck too well to the bottle, add a little nail polish remover or thinner and then wipe it off with a cotton pad. Taking away this gunk allows you to close the bottle cap more tightly, and so less of your nail polish will evaporate, and you can keep it the way it originally was for longer.
8) Nail lacquers with glitter last longer.
This is good news for all you girls who love glitzy stuff! Polishes with glitter in them not only dry faster, they also last longer. However, the drawback is that they are also harder to remove, so you have to ask yourself how far you’re willing to compromise on this. One of my favourite brands for glitter polishes is Deborah Lippmann.
9) Wear gloves when doing the dishes or hand washing clothes.
I do my own dishes and laundry at home. It didn’t take me long to realise just how damaging dish washing solutions or laundry detergents can be. They start by eating away the top coat on your nails and then slowly eroding the surface as it grows thinner. Wearing gloves, such as these Retro Flowers Washing Up Gloves from Cath Kidston, while washing up can do loads to save your manicure and make it last at least about a week longer.
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