Acts of self-care like getting your nails done, or doing a nice DIY facial after a long, spirit-killing week are everything. But there’s also nothing more infuriating than spending a pretty penny on a manicure you think will last you a month, and then like a hex from the manicure gods, you notice a chip or smudging hours later. Worse till you notice that your previously perfectly sculpted nails now look bubbly and warped.
Of course, we don’t expect a pretty manicure to last forever, but it can be a savage twist of fate for an Instagram-worthy mani to be so transient, don’t you agree?
Well, according to experts, several elements could be contributing to the chipped and warped polish. Fortunately, we’ve narrowed down some smart tweaks and tips to make your polish last longer.
Cut and File Your Nail Properly
Yes, we’d all like to have the classic Cardi B claws, but it can be pretty frustrating to maintain when they’re on the longer side. Moreover, long nails are more prone to breakage during activities like laundry or washing dishes.
Therefore, it’s essential to keep them short. You should also ensure that you outline your nails in a shape that mirrors your cuticles since it prevents unwanted breakages.
Avoid Soaking Your Nails
You know how your skin gets all wrinkled after spending your afternoon in the pool or a bathtub? Well, think of what a 20-minute soak does to your nails.
According to several manicurists, a nail soak expands your nails and triggers moisture-retaining beneath the surface of your manicure, causing them to flake off.
It also distorts and widens your nail shape, and when your polish dries up, this causes your polish to chip and peel off prematurely.
You’ll also have to avoid soaking your fingertips after applying polish, too – so warm baths and cleaning utensils is a no-no. Not only does the water lift your pigments, but it also makes them frail and dry over time. If you have to do your house chore, invest in a pair of gloves.
Don’t Forget to Buff Your Nails
Just like you wouldn’t skip the SPF during your skincare routine, buffing is an essential process before applying polish. When you don’t buff, especially after ‘sawing’ your nails, you might leave polish-ruining residue on them, thus causing chipping later.
Filing can also lead to tiny micro-frays along your nail edges. When the rough edges peel off, your manicure will flake along with them.
That said, buffing along the free edges of your nails gives them a youthful look and traps the keratin layers that may otherwise split when filing.
Therefore, invest in a glass nail file or a sponge-buffing strip since it’s soft and not too abrasive. It’s also perfect for buffing the sides of your fingers when they start peeling or getting dry.
Avoid Getting Polish on Your Cuticles
Ever looked at a poorly done manicure (those with a streak of polish on the cuticles), rolled your eyes, and almost offered your nail polish remover pods to the poor lass? Yep, us too.
A stray swipe of lacquer on the cuticles is an eyesore; however, avoiding these mishaps is easier said than done. We can’t all be Picasso or Kara Walker, but you don’t want the polish settling on your skin.
See, the streak of manicure on your skin will come off faster than that on your nails. However, if the lacquer is sealed between your nails and skin, when the coat finally lifts off the cuticles, your nail polish will peel off along with it.
But mastering a picture-perfect manicure can be pretty challenging. So what do you do to achieve that smudge-free mani?
According to the experts, before you apply your base coat, trace the edges of your nail with a cuticle oil or oily balm. It helps act as a barrier between your nail and the skin. So when a streak occurs, it’ll be easy to wipe or brush off.
Roll Your Nail Polish Bottle
We are all hooked to the ‘shake before use’ instruction. While that might work on your sprays and medicine, it might not be the ideal method for your nails.
In fact, it can form air bubbles which cause your polish to flake off in spots where the air is desperately trying to escape. Instead, roll the polish bottle between your hands to get the best effect san the bubbles.
Go For A Nourishing and Conditioning Base Coat
You’re probably thinking, yes, I know this one, but when your boss keeping dropping emails and your kids are busy trying to light up the gas, you might forget to put on the base coat.
But suppose you want healthy and advert-worthy hands and even the possibility of long, sexy nails. In that case, it’s essential to start your manicure session with a premium-quality, grippy and nourishing basecoat.
Remember to dab a cotton bud with some white vinegar to wipe down your nail before applying your base coat. It helps eliminate all natural oils or residue build-up, ultimately forming a barrier between your manicure.
Choose A Chip-Resistant Top Coat
Whether it’s matte or glossy, a flake-resisting topcoat offers you a powerful and sleek finish. It also reduces polish-chipping tendencies.
For the desired results and maintenance of your polish, remember to touch up the topcoat every three to four days – it prevents the pigment from being susceptible to dings and chips.
Yes, waiting for polish to dry can be as exhilarating as, well, watching paint dry. However, it’s a necessary evil if you don’t want to flail smudged tips after stowing a costly mani kit.
While applying polish might take 20 to 30 minutes, completely dry polish takes about 45 to 60 minutes. So, even though your polish might feel dry after spending ten minutes in the ultra-violet light, they’re not fully hardened and settled yet. In any case, you don’t want to dig into your purse only to be met with smudged digits. That’s tragic.
If you can’t bear the wait, try cold air as it works faster, or set a two-hour weekend date for your nails for the best results.
It might be a no-brainer, but gnawing at your polish triggers chipping and flaking. Even if you’re not a regular cuticle picker, biting the skin around your nails can cause a manicure tragedy, leave alone the numerous health issues.
If biting your nails is an anxiety coping mechanism and you can’t seem to stop, go for a quick walk, try some breathwork or find ways to your keep yourself busy, like squeezing a stress ball.
In the event none of these hacks work, there are foul-tasting or nauseating topcoats you can invest in, too.