All manicures are not created equal. Not even those that can run you upwards of $30 at the salons. I've had professional manicures in the past that chip within two days -- this never happens with my at-home manicures. The manicures I do at home, no matter the polish I use, more often than not last 6+ days. What is my secret, you ask? When it comes to at-home manicures the key to longevity is patience.
Yes, having high quality polishes helps but what is just as important, if not more important, is the time you spend applying the polish. Thin layers and dry time in between coats is paramount. Here’s how I do it:
- Clean and shape nails (file in one direction)
- Ensure nails are free of oils or lotion (I always do a quick wipe of nail polish remover and allow it to dry completely before applying base coat)
- Apply a thin layer of base coat to clean dry nails
- Apply a thin layer of polish of choice and allow to dry about 80% (Be sure to go over the edge of the nail with each coat of polish)
- Apply a second thin layer of polish and allow to dry about 80%
- If necessary, apply a third thin coat and allow to dry completely
- Apply thin layer of top coat. (This is a very important step. It seals in the polish, adds shine, and increases the wear of your polish.)
Applying polish in thin layers allows it to dry quicker (so while your application time is longer, dry time at the end of your manicure is less.) A base coat not only primes nails but helps you get color payoff quicker with polishes that are less pigmented. A good base coat also reduces how much your nail is stained by dark polishes.
When nail is polished, quickly rinse your hands and (while hands are still wet,) massage some coconut oil into your cuticles. Coconut oil increases moisture in the skin and also prevents moisture loss so it's perfect to apply to hands and cuticles after a manicure.
Bottom Line: Manicures will last longer if you apply polish in thin coats. In my experience this is true whether you use the 99 cent polish or the $25 polish. It’s also true if you are applying one step manicures (polishes that don’t require base or top coats). Patience is key for a long lasting manicure.