Whether you’re a salon regular or like to do your own nails, here are some tried-and-true tips to make your manicure last longer.
1. Painting your nails when they’re dirty
Get the surface super-clean. Any trace of dust, moisture, or leftover polish will keep the new nail polish from sticking. For true staying power, drizzle an old toothbrush with hand soap and use it to “get into the corners and under nail tips, where oil may be hiding.
2. Not prepping the surface
Before you paint, you should also swipe clean nails with a cotton ball soaked in nail polish remover. “Greasiness from lotion prevents polish from adhering,” Polish remover that’s pure acetone will get rid of residue faster, but if that’s too drying, try a nonacetone remover.
3. Skipping the basics: a basecoat
A bottom layer gives the polish something to latch onto. Plus, studies show that a base coat sticks to nails better than nail polish itself.A base coat is soft and sticky, so that it can expand and contract with your nails and help color adhere.
4. Practicing the wrong painting technique
Apply your polish in three narrow, even strokes, one down the middle and one down each side. Then wait two minutes before applying a second coat. And don’t goop it on: The thicker the layer of polish, the likelier it is to peel.
5. Not sealing the deal with a topcoat
Once your manicure is on, seal it with a slow-setting topcoat. Quick-dry kinds are tempting to use, but what you gain in speed, you lose in protection. A slower-acting topcoat leaves a harder and more protective finish. Save the quick-dry coat for a post-manicure touch-up a few days later.
6. Forgoing maintenance
It sounds like a no-brainer, but if you’re going to scrub pots and pans with nail polish on, wear some rubber gloves. Ditto for any other activity that potentially involves chipping your nail polish. Every other day, apply a layer of quick-dry topcoat to prolong your mani and increase shine. To keep your nails hydrated, apply oil to nails and cuticles and slather on some hand cream every other day.
By Natalie Gontcharova of www.goodhousekeeping.com