There's nothing worse than spending a good hour on your nails only to find chips the following day. Oh the horror...chances are if you're reading this, you have experienced this at some point in your life too.
We have put together all the manicure steps you need to maintain a flawless polish that last the test of time, or at least longer than you are use too. From preparation, application and aftercare we have you covered.
Preparation Is Key
1. Don't Soak Your Nails
Often a task replicated from a typical nail salon routine and I can see why so many implement it; often to feel a little more relaxed and apart of the process. Unfortunately, the issue with a water bath is that it causes our nails to retain water and expand. Once they dry and shrink, your polish will no longer fit on the nails, which is what leads to cracks and chips.
2. Take Care Of Your Cuticles
Massage cuticle oil into your finger tips to help soften and prepare the nail bed.
Note: it's important not to cut your cuticles, but to push them back using the oil and a cuticle tool to put them in place - this will also help to reduce the potential for polish on the cuticles.
3. Apply Remover
Even if your nails are bare it’s important to give them a once over with polish remover. Implementing this step will remove natural oil build up, which will help secure your polish.
Note: if your nails are brittle and weak, opt for a nourishing non-acetone remover that strengthens nails.
4. Trim & File
Before applying your base, tidy up the nails with a trim. Follow this by filing your nails into a shape mirroring your cuticle’s, which will remove the potential of breakage.
5. Always Start With A Base
A base coat will allow the colour to grip onto the nail, while ensuring a stain fr3ee surface. Unfortunately, not all base coats are created equal, make sure you use a slightly tacky one, which will securely coat the nail.
If length and growth is a something you’re aiming for, use a base with a hardener designed to help improve this.
1. Avoid Polish On Your Cuticles
It’s extremely important to prevent the polish from touching the cuticles, because colour applied here will peel away and affect the rest of your nail polish cover. If you’re not on the neater side when it comes to the application, you can purchase a protective liquid which is coated around the sides of your nails to prevent excess polish from reaching beyond the boundaries. This is peeled off after to leave a flawless and professional look.
2. Apply A Strengthener Between Polishes
Remember healthy nails hold polish longer. Strengthening products will help repair your nail damage, while preventing them from peeling or breaking.
3. Polish The Edges
To add an extra protective shield, carefully pull the brush around the nail edges to coat them.
4. Use Thin Coats
To help aid in flawless coverage, avoid thick coats as they don’t dry with as much strength as a thin coat and are more prone to smudges. Apply the polish with thin strokes and layer up allowing at least two minutes between coast to ensure the surface has dried before continuing. Maintain this process until you have smooth, full coverage.
5. Finish With A Top Coat
Apart from setting the polish, make sure that you set the tip of your nail with the top coat as well. Doing this will ensure that your entire nail is that much more prevented from chipping.
Note: additional benefits include UVA/UVB protection, high shine and protection of minor flaws.
1. Hydrate Often
As I’m sure you’re aware, moisturiser does wonders for our skin, so it’s particularly important to take additional time to use hand lotion once we have had our nails painted. It not only keeps our nail beds moisturised it also prevents the nails from peeling. Look for a hand lotion with glycol, macadamia oil or cocoa butter. The softer and more moisturised your skin is, the longer your manicure has the ability to last.
2. Maintain Your Cuticles
As mentioned, it’s important to prepare our cuticles, its just as important to maintain them. Dry hands are one thing, but dry cuticles will destroy a manicure. Keep your nail beds looking healthy with a nourishing cuticle oil. Look for ingredients such as Aloe and Vitamin E which will help resist breakage and promote nourished nails.
3. File You Nails Often
In between manicures, the maintenance is absolutely important. Aside from moisturising, filing allows the nails to also remain healthy and prevents breakage. Something important to make sure while filing, is to do so in one direction. If you file one way, your nails wont feather and the application of your polish will not only look better, but last longer
4. Avoid Heat & Water Immediately After
After finishing your nails it’s important not to immediately wash your hands, as this can loosen your polish. Complete hardening of the polish and top coat can sometimes take up to 12 hours, I know I was thinking the same thing, I can’t suit still for 5 minutes let along 12 hours, make sure you do the minimal to prevent smudging and or movement of polish.
5. Buff Your Nails
A very helpful tool for making sure your manicure lasts as long as possible, is a buffer. Invest in a four-sided buff, file, polish and shine block that step-by-step will improve your nails instantly and ensure longer durability.
Inevitably small chips will appear, therefore, to avoid further peeling, gently file down the tips of your fingernails.
6. Avoid Exfoliation
Most times, exfoliating is the way to go, although with a new manicure exfoliation of the skin is an abrasive element that can take the polish right up off of your nails.
7. Protect Your Nails From Daily Activities
It’s evident that this is easier said than done, however it is important to protect your nails from the elements. Housework can be a dreadful cause to disrupted polish, so if it’s a must and can’t be avoided like washing the dishes or other duties requiring water wear gloves.
8. Know When To Cull The Polish Bag
Don’t keep nail polish for too long, particularly if it starts to solidify that’s a definite sign it needs to go.
9. Maintain a healthy lifestyle
Take vitamins and supplements like B-12, Zinc and Iron to maintain healthy nails. The better they are in between manicures, the better they will stay.
10. Use Hand Soap
Choose soap and water over hand sanitise for washing hands because sanitiser is drying.