You’ve finally found time to give yourself a long-awaited manicure. No longer do you want to walk around with your hands in your pockets, nor grimace every time you look at your raggedy cuticles and unruly ridges. Suddenly life feels good! You wonder why you don’t do this more often… Then, you realise. A day or two later and those chips and imperfections bounce back like they never left. So. frustrating.
There are a few tips and tricks to make your manicure last longer, and they don’t require you to cease all human activity!
Read below to learn the easy ways to enjoy your manicure for longer…
1. Don’t soak your nails. Although it’s tempting and part of the pampering process, when your nails soak, they absorb water which leads them to temporarily puff up. Once the water has evaporated, your nails revert to their pre-soaking size. It’s this contraction which is one of the main things that causes polish to peel, chip, or flake off.
2. Filing is very important pre polish. Nails should be rounded at the tips, but left slightly square at the sides. Nails that are too rounded at the sides weaken the overall strength of the nail. Also: use a gentle nail file and work in one direction; as opposed to the seesawing back and forth motion. The latter causes the keratin layers in your nails to separate and peel away from one another.
3. Clean your nails pre polish. Remove any traces of old polish, cuticle oil, dirt, or moisturiser as they stop the base coat & polish properly sticking to your nails. Once clean, lightly coat them with an acetone nail polish remover to ensure they are clean and dry.
4. Apply a base coat and let it dry. Base coat is really important and adheres very well to both your own nails and the polish; acting as a ‘glue’ between the two. It also stops the polish staining your nails or leaving them discoloured, and fills in ridges and uneven nail surfaces.
5. Roll the nail polish bottle you intend to use between your palms instead of shaking it. This works just as well to mix the polish, but doesn’t allow for any air bubbles to form – giving you a flawless result.
6. Consider using a Shellac nail polish as it’s designed to last up to 14 days. It goes on just like polish – and promises no chipping, cracking, flaking, or smudging! Plus it’s hypo-allergenic and contains no formaldehyde, toluene or DBP.
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7. If you’re having your nails done, stay away from older or nearly finished bottles. Or, request a fresh one or take your own colour! Nail technicians are known to add nail polish remover to the bottles in order to stop the formula from going crusty. Sounds good in theory – however – because nail polish is a thinner, it changes the original formula and can also compromise the colour of the polish.
8. Always do at least 2 coats of polish, letting each one dry before the next application. As you would know, this gives much more colour intensity and also builds a thicker application that is less likely to chip.
9. Apply a slow-drying top coat! Yes – that sounds crazy as quick drying top coats are super convenient. However, quick drying kinds evaporate at such a high rate that they don’t fully penetrate all the layers of polish, even if they feel dry. A slower acting topcoat harders all the layers, giving you longer lasting protection and shine.
10. Re-touch your top coat in the coming days, and be sure to apply it to the sides of the nails, touching the surrounding skin – not just onto the nail itself. Doing this seals the whole nail surface and protects against the sides of your manicure being chipped or lifted off.
11. Stay away from heat! Well, for at least the first 12 hours to let your polish totally harden. Avoid soaking your hands in hot water, doing the dishes, or going to a sauna. When washing your hands with hot water, finish with a burst of cold water for about 10-15 seconds to further seal the polish.
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Do you have any tips for making your manicure last longer that everyone should know about? Share them in the comments below!