Sunday, July 24, 2011

How To: Make Your Manicure Last Longer!

1. Keep your nails short. Nail polish chips faster on longer nails. Because natural nails are flexible, the longer the nail, the more bendable they are. This puts stress on your polish and makes it prone to chipping.

2. Wait until each coat is fully dry. Just because your nail polish is dry enough to not smudge when you touch it, does not mean it is dry. Adding another coat on top of polish that isn't fully dry makes it exponentially more prone to smudging. It takes 2 hours or more for one coat to be complete.

3. Apply a top coat the next day. You don't want to layer on too much nail polish, but one top coat will only do so much. By adding another one the next day, whether you went to a salon or did it yourself, will even further protect the color.

4. Choose a lighter color. Because darker colors are more pigmented, it doesn't stick as well to the nail as lighter colors do. You have better staying power with a lighter polish.

5. Rough up your nails. Nail polish doesn't bond to smooth nails as well as it does to rougher ones. Lightly file the top of the nail to rough up the surface a little.. after a coat or two of polish, you won't be able to tell that they're not perfectly smooth, and your color will stay much longer.

6. Push back your cuticles. Polish doesn't stick well to the skin, so any excess cuticle on the nail is going to allow your polish to peel faster. Chanel's top manicure expert Tom Bachik suggests pushing back your cuticle in the shower to avoid cutting your cuticle later (which still works, but is more dangerous if you were to cut too much off). "Put a little conditioner on a wash rag, and simply push back your cuticle while your skin's nice and soft."

7. Don't soak your nails. Your nails absorb a lot of of water, and temporarily expand them. Then you put your polish on top, and once the water evaporates out, they shrink down to size and cause tiny breaking points that stress the polish. They'll look nice for a few days but be prone to chipping.

8. Bring your own polish. Salons are known to add thinners to their nail polishes to make them last longer. This weakens the chemicals that make the polish stay on, and you're better off bringing your own in.

9. Don't layer on the color. "One of the things about darker polish," says Bachik, "is that it actually has a higher pigment content, so if you add more layers.. it will end up with a tendency to peel."

10. Use acetone nail polish remover. Bachik says: "the acetone [removers] are much more effective. They break up the color, and they evaporate off the skin very quickly, so they're not on your for a long period of time." Even if you don't have nail polish on, swipe some on your nails to remove the oils that will inhibit the polish from sticking as well to the nail.

11. Don't use cheap polish. The chemistry in cheaper polishes make them weaker and not last as long. Brands like Essie and OPI have beautiful colors and are worth the money!

12. Use a base coat. Base coats and top coats are meant to do different things. A 2-in-1 product seems to be the smarter and cheaper option, but it isn't effective. Bachik explains, "Topcoats and basecoats are engineered to do such different things. A basecoat works like double-stick tape, attatching well to both the nail bed and the color. A toppcoat sticks well to only polish- but has a much harder density."

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