There are few things more upsetting than spending time painting your nails with a gorgeous colour, and having it chip off within a day or two. I want mine to last for about a week, and using these techniques I generally achieve that.
You will need:
- A base coat – I use Orly Bonder
- Nail polish, whatever you fancy.
- A top coat – I use Sally Hansen Insta-Dri
- Nail polish remover and cotton balls
- Tiny paint brush
- Paper towel/tissues
The very first step is to make sure that your nails are free of any oils before you start – use nail polish remover on a cotton ball even if your nails don’t have polish on them. If there is any oil on your nails, from hand cream or even food then that will cause the polish to not adhere as well to your nail, and that can cause it to chip. Next you apply your base coat – I really like Orly Bonder, I’ve tried a few others but this is the best so far. I buy mine from eBay as it’s about half the price as buying it in store, but you can easily get it at Farmers.
Now there’s the big step, which is using your polish. Apply it carefully, and try to avoid getting any on your cuticles. If you do, that’s okay because you can clean it up later. I typically do two thin coats, and don’t generally leave much time between them – not as a conscious decision, more just because I don’t like waiting around a lot. I generally make sure to ‘wrap the tips’ – that is, to paint the edge of my nail with polish. I find that it’s one of the things that has made a major improvement in the wear time of my manicures. A post from Michelle from All Lacquered Up is what inspired me to start doing this, and it has been really valuable advice – her post is here. The picture below is from her tutorial and gives an (exaggerated) idea of what to do.
Top coats also make a big impact on the length of time that a manicure will last. For a long time I used Seche Vite, the top coat that is touted all over the internet as being the best ever, but I found it very frustrating at how it got gluggy quickly and required excessive use of nail polish thinner. On that note, don’t add nail polish remover to your polish to thin it as it ruins it. A proper thinner like Orly’s will mean that your polishes will live long and happy lives. Aaaaaanyway, nowadays I use Sally Hansen Insta-Dri topcoat which I think is better than Seche Vite. It makes my polish dry very quickly and makes my nails really shiny, as well as making it last for a long time. You should wrap your tips in the topcoat too, like in the tutorial I linked above.
Despite my best efforts I typically get some polish on my cuticles, or even on my skin. I used to just peel it off, or leave it there, but I found that doing so meant polish would peel off my nail to which is not what I intended! So now I use nail polish remover to tidy up by removing any polish in my cuticles – it looks better and helps my manicure to last longer too. I pour a bit of nail polish remover into the cap of the bottle and use a tiny brush I got with a nail art kit. A cotton bud will do it a pinch but it’s not as precise. Wet the brush with nail polish remover and work your way around the nails, wiping off the polish from your brush onto your tissue or paper towel. If you want to see how this is done, aLoveTart has a good tutorial on youtube: How to: Remove Nail Polish From Your Cuticles