How to Make Your Polish (Nearly) Chip-Proof

Janell M. Hickman
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Nothing is worse than getting an amazing manicure—then having it chip less than 24-hours later. Quelle horreur! The insurgence of many different “gel” manicure versions of polish has cut down drying times (and helps avoid smudges), however the verdict is still out on the long term effects of UV drying lamps—not to mention proper polish removal techniques. So how  exactly does one gain a salon-worthy manicure at-home? With expert tips of course from our favorite polish brands. Read on for a few tips on how to “polish up” on a lasting manicure.

Be Patient
“There are amazing products out there, that when applied correctly can dry newly-applied polish in under a minute,” says Anya Sussman, Nails Inc. Lead Nail Technician & Educator. “However, a new manicure needs at least 24-hours to fully dry before you can do anything that is heavy duty (such as cleaning or exposure to cleaning pads that can be abrasive)—it can dull or scuff the finish. I recommend Nails Inc 45-Second Top Coat to lock in the color and protect your new manicure.”

Cover Your Bases
“[You should] always use one,” explains Jessica Sussman, a manicurist for Smith & Cult on the topic of base coats. “I love Smith & Cult’s Basis of Everything base coat because it protects your nails from getting stained by nail polish pigments and helps the polish to stay better.”

MORE: How to Give Yourself the Best DIY Manicure

Layer Accordingly
“If you are in a pinch for time, and can only do one coat—LAQA&Co. polishes will definitely look great with one coat,” says Nicole Lee, co-founder of the brand. “I would recommend [this tip for] darker colors as oppose to say a baby pink or white. Darker colors have less white, or chalk which allows them go on smoother—meaning there will be less streaking with one coat. But note, one coat often won’t last long.”

Create A Smooth Surface
“Buffing is always a plus to promote healthy nails, but it is important to use the correct grit to prevent damage to your nail plate,” says Sussman. “The higher the grit number, the finer the surface of the buffing tool. I recommend #280 grit to buff your nails to a smooth finish. If there are still ridges or raised lines, use a ridge filler base coat like Nails inc NailKale to create a super smooth surface.”

Choose Your Shade Wisely
“Sometimes darker and neon colors need more drying time depending on the brand,” says Sussman. “All polishes are clear polish mixed with color pigments. Darker or more opaque colors and neon colors have a higher ratio of pigment to ensure opacity so sometimes they need more time to dry. They can also become thicker more quickly than others—but that can be fixed.”

MORE: 10 Things No One Tells You About Pedicures

Shape Does Matter
“Nails that are rounded and short tend to chip less. Less surface area and more protection from finger tips,” explains Lee. “Square nails (not to mention being slightly out of trend) have a more defined edge and can chip easier.”

Glossy > Matte
“The actual finish of the polish contributes to whether it adheres longer or if chips show up sooner rather than later,” explains Sussman. “Polishes with a matte finish tend to chip faster than those with a high-gloss shine due primarily to the ingredients. I always recommend to shake your polish thoroughly to‎ guarantee a smooth and even application. Avoid using polish that has been over exposed to heat, light and air.”

Add Cuticle Oil to Your Arsenal
“I always tell clients use cuticle oil,” shares Sussman. “If you do nothing else cuticle oil is a must to promote moisturized nail plates, prevent dryness and prolong polish life. I’d recommend Nails inc Vitamin E oil pen. It comes in an easy brush on applicator, ‎it absorbs quickly so there is no oily residue and it really makes a difference.”

Approach Gel Manis With Caution
“Gels require a strong UV light—stronger even than that of a tanning bed!” warns Lee. “I don’t know why anyone would do something that could up your chances of skin cancer. LAQA & Co. polishes are 5-free and paraben free. We strive to promote a more clean beauty routine. They also have been known to thin the nail bed, which is also bad news!”

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