I have a special skill: Any time I leave the house—or salon, for that matter—with freshly painted finger nails it takes just a couple of minutes, or one particularly stubborn Diet Coke can, for the polish to chip. (For some reason the varnish on my toes could withstand a nuclear war, but that’s a different story.) I was warned by a draconian lecturer in college that some employers will not hire women who have chipped nail polish because they believe it signals a deeper lack of self-respect and attention to detail, and (regardless of the fact this practice is probably illegal?) I literally hear her voice in my head every time I gaze despairingly at a flaking piece of red polish.
In the interest of finally achieving a DIY manicure that can actually hold its own when I’m washing dishes, I reached out to top celebrity manicurists to find out which brands and products are the toughest. In addition to some stellar polish recommendation, they also passed along some tips, including, “Properly prep the nail by using a cuticle remover, like Sally Hansen Instant Cuticle Remover, and making sure all the skin is off the nail plate before polishing” and the suggestion that I make sure the “pH levels of my nails are balanced” before I paint by using a cleanser like Dermelect Immaculate Nail Cleanse Prep first. So keep that advice in mind while you click through the slideshow and shop seven thoroughly vetted nail varnishes that definitely won’t chip.