I am a busy mom. I cook, clean, do the laundry and manage all the other household chores you might expect. I'm also raising three kids, who I homeschool, and I type thousands of words each week as a freelance writer. None of this makes maintaining pretty, polished nails easy. To make things worse, I have really soft, flexible nails, just like my dad. Even though I keep them short, they still bend easily, causing most polish to crack and peel. But this week, I discovered a trick that has made my nail polish last a long time with barely any visible wear.
Nothing ever worked
I had tried just about everything short of professional manicures, which I can't do because the fumes in a salon make me ill. I tried expensive nail systems with base coats and top coats. I tried cheap polish with good reviews. Nothing ever worked. Either my polish cracked or it peeled off like a sticker within just a few hours.
I'd read that you should always wash your hands and dry them thoroughly before applying polish, so I did that, too. But it didn't matter. I always had the same results. I never even used polish anymore except for special occasions, and then I knew the manicure would likely be ruined by the end of the day.
Finally, a solution
It occurred to me that the reason for washing and drying your nails before applying polish was to make sure you had removed the oil from the surface of your nails. That way, the polish would stick better. Nothing removes oil and grease safely like Dawn dishwashing liquid. Animal rescuers have used it for decades to remove oil from wildlife after oil spills. If it works for that, maybe it would work for my nails, too.
I gave it a try. I washed my fingernails gently with Dawn dishwashing liquid and let them dry. Then I applied a coat of inexpensive pink Pure Ice nail polish my daughter had picked up at Walmart. After that coat dried, I applied a second coat, just to make sure I had even coverage.
Putting it to the test
I put my nail polish to the test. I folded mounds of laundry, spent hours in a swimming pool, did the dishes, typed like crazy on my laptop and went about my daily life as normal. After four days, my polish still looked almost as good as new, with only a tiny bit of visible wear along the edge if you looked very closely. At arm's length, the polish looks the same as it did the day it was applied.
I'm really happy to have made this nail polish discovery. I don't expect that I will become someone who wears polish frequently, but for the times I do, it will be very nice to have my efforts last a while. I expect this manicure to look good at least a full week, and that's a lot better than the few hours they used to last. Maybe I will buy a few more colors just to have some fun.
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