Long-wearing nail polish can make a difference but there’s also a ton of simple tips that’ll help to get lasting coverage. Here are 13 tips that’ll avoid you having to re-apply your polish every two days.
1) Take care of your nails
Ridged, dry or cracked nails don’t retain polish so, between applications of coloured polish, use a treatment for your specific problem. For example, if your nails are dry and brittle, use a moisturizing polish.
2) Don’t let your nails grow too long
The longer your nails, the easier they will break and bend. So your polish will chip off quicker. Also, long nails snag easier than short ones so you can damage your polish this way.
3) Push back your cuticles
If your cuticles come a long way up your nails, then you’ll probably apply polish over them. And it doesn’t last long because it’s skin, not nail! The result will be uneven and not very pretty so before applying polish, push back your cuticles with an instrument designed for this purpose.
4) Sand down your nails
If you lightly sand your nails (and I do mean « lightly »), like sanding down a piece of furniture before painting it, you’ll remove the shiny surface and the products you apply will adhere better. But please don’t use a regular nail file or even a sandpaper! You can get specially designed blocks which have finer grains and won’t damage your nails.
5) Clean your nails before applying polish
Your polish won’t adhere properly if there’s any old varnish, grease or dust on your nails. And so it’ll chip more easily. Wash your hands but don’t apply any cream, dry them well, then swipe a cotton pad soaked in remover over each nail and don’t leave any little corner untouched. You can also use isopropyl alcohol (sometimes it works better than remover). When they’re dry, you’ll be ready to apply polish.
6) Apply an adhesive base coat
The adhesive base is transparent and will help the coloured varnish to adhere properly and last longer. Let the base dry before applying polish.
7) Don’t keep your old bottles of polish too long and buy them in a store with a good turnover
Old nail polish, even if it’s never been opened, will be more difficult to apply, take longer to dry and have a shorter life. If it separates, throw it out. Don’t keep it more than a year.
Some stores don’t have a very rapid turnover so they might keep their stock a long time before selling it. Bottles of polish could have been there for years so watch out and only buy recent products.
8) Apply very thin coats
The thinner the coat, the shorter the drying time so these layers will be harder and stronger between each application. A thick coat takes a long time to dry and you can damage it easily because it stays sticky a long time. I made this mistake once when I applied my polish in too-thick coats before going to bed. In the morning, my nails were imprinted with blanket marks, not a good look! Also, thick coats can cause bubbles and will chip more easily. It’s always preferable to apply several thin coats (up to 3) rather than just one thick layer.
To get the right consistency, take off the excess by wiping it on the top of the bottle. When applying, place the brush in the centre of the nail, then go down to the cuticle and up to the point, that’s the best way to get a uniform result.
9) Let each coat dry between applications
Drying time can vary but don’t apply the second coat until the first one is completely dry. People often make the mistake of just touching it with the end of their finger to see if it’s dry but this is not really a good method. You should be able to press another nail on it without leaving a trace. Patient people should apply one coat per day but that’s if you have plenty of time to prepare for an event!
10) Cover the entire nail, even going over the back a little
If you leave any of the nail uncovered, this will chip more easily because usually the point goes first. When you get to the end of the nail, bend the brush a little so that you apply a little polish on the reverse side of the nail. By doing this, you create a little sealed envelope at the end of the nail which will protect against chips much more effectively.
11) Apply a protective top coat and refresh it as often as possible.
The top coat creates a barrier between your polish and the environment which will make your manicure last considerably longer. This really is the TOP tip for protecting your coloured polish twice as long. For example, your varnish will last 5 days rather than 3. You can also get high-performance long-wearing top coats.
Another tip, re-apply your top coat as often as possible, ideally every day, but at least every other day to keep that nice shiny look.
12) Wear rubber gloves
When working in the kitchen or using cleaning products, wear rubber gloves to protect your manicure. Your nails are vulnerable to these substances and your polish will wear off and chip more easily if you don’t use any protection. When taking a bath or shower, don’t have the water too hot or keep your hands outside the water when you’re in the bath.
13) Use long-wearing polish
Finally, as you probably know, there are lots of good long-wearing or chip-resistant polishes on the market.
You can also get stick-on nails polish or UV gel products. These can be rather expensive but do certainly last a long time.