Doing your nails takes time and effort, so I try to keep my manicure looking as fresh as possible for as long as possible. Chips and peels can look really sloppy, so take some of these simple measures to prolong the life of your polish:
1. Wear gloves to wash your dishes
Dish washing gloves will not only save your nails, but your skin too. That prolonged exposure to water and dish soap can dry out your skin as well as take a toll on your nails. In addition, handling all of those dishes can scratch polish. I just keep a pair of gloves next to my sink so that I never forget to wear them. It takes almost no effort to put them on and keeps your hands looking and feeling so much nicer.
2. Start wearing a base coat
Many of us like to skip the base coat, but it's equally as important as the top coat. A base coat like the Essie First Base Base Coat ($8.50 at Ulta) will help create a sticky surface on which your nail polish can cling. The base will also prevent your polish from seeping into your nails and causing discoloration or damage. Just make sure that you're using a base coat, not simply a clear nail polish or a top coat (a base and top coat combo product is perfectly fine). It's a quick and easy step that will really make a difference! Like a base coat can attract polish, oily substances can cause a barrier between your nail and polish. Don't moisturize your hands right before you apply polish unless you wipe down each nail afterwards. The moisturizer will sit on nails and prevent the polish from drying and sticking to your nail properly. Also, be sure to remove any cuticle oil that you have applied.
3. Choose your top coat wisely
A top coat is also important in putting a protective barrier between your polish and the outside world. It's most convenient to opt for top coats that will quick dry your nail polish. But to keep your polish sealed onto your nail for a long time, look for "no chip" formulas like the Sally Hansen Insta-Dri Anti-Chip Top Coat ($6 in drugstores), which happens to have a quick dry formula (dries in 30 seconds). Most top coats have some form of protection against UV related fading/discoloration. For summer days in the sun, look for a specific UV top coat like the Avon Nail Experts UV Gloss Guard Top Coat ($6.50 on avon.com). It also leaves nails beautifully glossy. To make your mani extra long-lasting, refresh your top coat every 2-3 days.
4. Skip the hand sanitizer
Although alcohol doesn't remove nail color completely, it can definitely remove the finish on your nail polish, discolor it, or allow it to chip more easily. Since most hand sanitizers contain alcohol to kill germs, constantly using them can wear away at your nail color. Instead, try to wash with soap and water if you can. I have also found that hand sanitizers with natural alcohol are a little bit more gentle as well. For example, the Jao Hand Refresher ($10 on amazon.com) is formulated with alcohol derived from grapes as well as other natural antiseptic oils. This natural product kills germs without the harshness that can over dry skin and eat away at nail polish.
5. Change the color of your polish
In general, dark polishes and matte finishes tend to be the most obvious when they chip. So, try light, shimmery pink shades, which provide less of a contrast with skin color and deflect light. They make for a very classic, elegant look that matches with any outfit. When these polishes chip, they look way neater than darker colors. Zoya Nail Polish in Melanie ($8 on zoya.com) is a nice light shimmery pink color, and Zoya is one of my favorite brands because it's Big 5-free! Glittery polishes also deflect light, but I find that many of these formulas peel more easily.
I find that I my manicures usually hold up for about a week, but I definitely experience some chipping along the way, which can get on my nerves. We don't usually have time to redo our nails multiple times per week...unless you can do it fast. Sometimes, I just can't stand chips and prefer to do a quick polish change mid-week. Just soak of the polish with the Sephora Collection Instant Nail Polish Remover ($10 at Sephora). This product is my favorite remover because it makes removing polish effortless. You simply insert your nail into the sponge opening in the bottle, and the nail polish dissolves instantly. And with no strong unpleasant remover smell.
Then, apply some Sally Hansen Insta Dri Fast Dry Nail Color ($5 at
Ulta). With the way that the brush is designed, you only need 1 stroke, and the formula is thick enough, where you only need 1 coat. As the name implies, it dries in 60 seconds. So, the whole process (including removal and dry time) takes 10 minutes. The Insta Dri polish definitely chips faster than regular polish (it usually lasts 3-4 days for me), but it's definitely a lot quicker and more convenient. Two Insta Dri manis end up keeping my nails looking neater with the same amount of time that it would take to do 1 manicure with ordinary nail polish and remover.
How do you keep your mani looking fresh?