The day we figure out how to make manicures last as long as pedicures will be cause for celebration, but until it comes, here are all the tips and tricks in the book to make your nail polish last longer…
Do Your Prep
When painting nails at home, it’s all about the prep. First, cleanse your nails using a cotton pad and nail varnish remover to eliminate excess dirt and natural oils from the nail bed. Remember oil and polish don’t mix, so clean with remover even if your nails are polish-free. When filing, keep your nails on the shorter side if you want to give your mani some longevity – when nails are long, the tips are more exposed, meaning they’re more likely to chip.
File In One Direction
It doesn’t matter which direction, but make sure you’re filing each nail either to the right or the left, never back and forth. Alternating directions weakens the nail, making it more prone to breakage and peeling.
Manicurists often do this to soften cuticles, but soaking your fingers can cause delicate nails to retain water, meaning they expand. Once painted, your nails will then shrink, meaning your polish will no longer fit your nails. Avoid soaking them at home and if in the salon, ask your manicurist to use cuticle oil instead.
Create A Base
Want to make your manicure really last? Consider using a rubberised basecoat. These clever formulas (such as the likes of Orly’s Bonder Base Coat, £11.99 and CND’s cult Stickey Base Coat, £8.95) help polish adhere better to nails for a longer-lasting finish.
If you find painting your nails tricky, invest in a Tweexy, £9.95, a clever little tool that holds your nail varnish bottle steady on your hands while you polish. And if your polish has been sitting stagnant for a while, roll the bottle between your hands to mix the formula – never shake, as this can cause air bubbles. Remember to apply two thin coats only – anything more is a sure-fire way to cause peeling – and be sure to cap off each nail’s edge to avoid chipping.
Pick Your Polish
Gel-based nail polishes have more staying power than regular products, and with many beauty brands now offering their own at-home gel polishes (no UV light required), there’s no excuse not to get involved. Jessica’s Phenom range, £13.50 each, are among our favourites, plus there’s an impressive 42 shades in the line-up. We also rate Nails Inc’s Gel Effect polishes, £15 each, which are infused with charcoal to protect the nails, as well as Essie’s Nail Gel Couture, £9.99 each, available in an impressive spectrum of 26 shades. The best bit? All can be removed with regular polish.
Top It Off
A good top coat is every nail artist’s secret weapon for long wear and shine. Apply a fresh coat every other day to keep your colour fresh-from-the-salon shiny – we love Seche's quick-drying formula, £7.46. Alternatively, add a gel-like, glossy finish to any varnish with Chanel’s Le Gel Top Coat, £20.
Opt For Glitter
Hear us out on this one – while glitter may not be everyone’s bag, darker shades can look surprisingly chic come darker autumn days. Plus, glitter lasts longer than any other polish, so if you’re manis are prone to chipping then consider glitter. Try Smith & Cult and Deborah Lippmann for industry-loved formulas.