Nothing is more satisfying than looking down at your hands and admiring ten perfectly groomed fingernails, but sometimes it feels like achieving chip-free nails for more than two days is virtually impossible. We've all been there -- you apply a coat of polish on Friday night, and by Monday morning your nails look like a total wreck. Don't fret -- we've got the answers to your nail polish woes. Here are some measures you can take to make sure you maximize your manicure for as long as possible.
1. Start with short nails: This one is a no-brainer! The longer your nails, the more likely they are to chip and break. Not to mention, short nails look more polished anyway (no pun intended).
2. Make sure your cuticles are pushed down:
Applying nail polish to overgrown cuticles will cause polish to peel off more easily, but make sure to never cut your cuticles. Like shaving, cutting cuticles can cause your cuticles to grow back thicker and faster. Instead, apply a cuticle cream or oil to your fingers and push cuticles down using a wooden manicure stick -- we recommend trying Sally Hansen Problem Cuticle Remover, $4.99, at cvs.com.
3. Remove excess oil and moisture from fingernails: Moisturized hands are great, but before applying any polish, make sure your nails are oil free. Any excess oil will prevent your polish from properly adhering to the nail bed. Before application, remove any moisture by using a cotton swab dipped in nail polish remover.
4. Apply a base coat:
We know that a base coat may seem like a waste of time, but it truly is the key to a longer-lasting manicure. A base coat will allow the nail polish to adhere to the nails, preventing chipping. It also acts as a barrier to prevent staining if you're wearing a darker shade. (Revlon Quick Dry Base Coat, 4.99, at drugstore.com).
5. Make the right nail polish choice:
Whatever you do, do not use your old hardened nail polishes that have been collecting dust in your makeup drawer. If you do insist on hoarding your favorite shade, then make sure to thin it out by adding a couple of drops of nail polish remover to the bottle. When choosing a nail polish, remember that darker shades tend to show chips more easily. So, if you're not looking to repaint every two days, go for lighter, more neutral tones. Luckily for us, nude nails are the nail polish trend du jour. Chanel's shade, Particulière, started the taupe nail polish trend on the Spring 2010 runways, but for a more budget-friendly choice, check out the nude tones that OPI has to offer. We love OPI Over the Taupe, $5.70, at amazon.com.
6. Apply polish in thin coats: Make sure to wipe one side of the brush against the top of the bottle before applying polish to your nails. Thick coats of polish will inevitably cause chipping, smudging, and dents -- so make sure to limit application to two coats.
7. Top Coat = Just as important as base coat:
The top coat prevents chips by sealing in and protecting the nail polish. To keep your nails looking fresh, just apply a coat every other day. (Revlon Extra Life No-Chip Top Coat, $5.75, at drugstore.com).
8. Protect your hands from water: Aftercare is a key step in manicure maintenance. Minimize the amount of time your nails have contact with water by using rubber gloves for household chores like dishwashing.
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