Up until recently, I was never the type to paint my nails. Going to the salon was too pricey and not natural enough for my taste, and painting them on my own never seemed to last for more than a couple of days. This past year I've discovered a few products and tricks that have helped me out quite a bit (and yielded quite a few questions from you guys!) So here goes - I'm spilling 'em all.
1. Choose your products wisely.
I've found a few products that work wonders and I'm never going back. Nails Inc. London makes some of the most hydrating, strengthening polishes on the planet, and this line by Sally Hansen is the only thing from the drugstore that even comes close. I've learned that nails are something that just deserve to be invested in, and spending a little more on the good stuff really pays off.
2. Don't skip top or bottom coats.
If you want your nails to grow and your polish to stay, these steps are crucial. A base coat gives your nails a smooth finish while also strengthening and hydrating the nail. Choose a good one (I use Sally Hansen's Triple Strong Strengthener for my base and top coat) and keep it close. I apply my polish while the base coat is still a bit wet, as it helps bond them better. I also like to seal the tips of my nails with a horizontal stripe of top coat to prevent chipping.
3. Give yourself time.
An at-home mani should never be rushed. I can't tell you how many times I've gotten hair stuck in my polish, smudged nails, and stained clothing because of this. Set aside at least an hour of chill time (including drying and prep) and it will end up saving you so much time. I only have to do my nails once a week when I do them properly. If you must rush, this tip has saved me so many times: run your fingertips under cold water for as long as you can before heading out the door. Something about the cool water helps them dry faster - who knew?
4. Don't forget to touch up.
One little chip doesn't necessarily have to warrant an entire re-do. Removing and repainting is hell on your nails, so try to avoid that as much as you can. Instead, fill in the cracks and paint a second coat over your nails a few days in.
5. Remove with care.
I can only use this nail polish remover from Honeybee Gardens, as it's the most gentle acetone-free one I've found. Although this has less to do with making your mani last and more to do with the overall health of your nails, it's still ultra important. My nails have seen so much growth after ditching the high in chemicals (and high in odor) cheap polish remover from the drugstore. This great alternative doesn't cost much more and feels so much better.