We all love getting professional manicures (well, all of us here at The Beauty Bean anyway!). But this weekly indulgence can really add up (to almost $50 a month!) – and that’s if the manicure even lasts the whole week, which in our experience happens somewhere between hardly and ever. While going au natural is certainly an option (and a cheaper one at that), who can pass up a coat of Deborah Lippman’s chunky glitter polishes or a chance at getting a rockstar-like lace manicure? Not us! Thankfully, we don’t have to, thanks to Susan Nam (founder of Polished Beauty Bar) who is filling us in on everything the pros know about giving yourself a perfect at-home manicure that lasts!
Round Off. When filing your nails, follow the natural shape of your nail bed (which will usually be somewhat square on the sides and rounded on the top). This will keep your nails from snagging things, will make your nails stronger and will actually force you to use your fingertips (instead of your fingernails) throughout the day.
Stay Dry. Contrary to popular belief, soaking your nails (while perhaps relaxing) is not a great idea if you want your manicure to last – and who doesn’t?! When you soak your fingers, your nails absorb water and actually expand. When removed from the water, however, they begin to contract again. Paint your nails while they’re expanded and you’re unlikely to make it 3 days without chips, cracks and peels – let alone 7!
Get Cleaning. Polish needs to have a clean and dry surface in order to adhere properly. So, before applying any polish, make sure your nail is as clean as possible by rubbing either acetone (nail polish remover) or rubbing alcohol over your nail to remove any moisture, oil or dust.
Stoke it. Apply nail polish in thin, even strokes. If the polish is too thick, it won’t have a chance to adhere properly and lastingly to your nail.
Top It Off. Once your color of choice polish is on, apply a no-frills topcoat. While “quick-dry” topcoats help speed evaporation on the surface, the lower layers of polish aren’t drying at the same pace (nor able to properly adhere to the nail). Bottom line: a quick dry topcoat may save you drying time, but they’ll only waste your time later on. If you’re applying a mid-week coat of topcoat for enhanced shine and to extend the life of your mani (which we highly recommend) the quick-dry versions work just as well since the nails are already dry.