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Manicure Tips for Beautiful Nails that Last

Updated on December 13, 2011

If you enjoy having your nails done then you should learn how to do a manicure at home. However, the secret to really enjoying painting and maintaining your own nails is to create a manicure that lasts. These manicure tips will show you how to create a beautiful manicure at home, one that is guaranteed to last for five days or longer.

The most important factor in a long lasting manicure is using a high quality nail polish. You get what you pay for, and two and three dollar nail polishes (not to mention the 99 cent ones) are guaranteed to give you cheap results. You are better off spending six dollars or more for a quality product. Here’s why.

(Disclaimer: Essie does not pay me; I am just a diehard fan.) Personally, I don’t buy anything other than Essie nail polish. It runs around eight dollars a bottle (depending on the store), and is available in a wide variety of retail locations. It’s a consistent product, with a wide array of colors. But most importantly, I only buy Essie products because they have the only products that I can get to last for upwards of five days or more*. (*Your mileage may vary.)

To obtain a manicure that lasts at least five days, you must start with a good foundation. Clean your nails of all polish, paint, and dirt. File your nails. Then apply a base coat, two coats of color, and a good top coat (or two).

You need the base coat to smooth and seal your nails. It also prepares the surface to receive the paint. Wait three to five minutes, or until the base coat is dry. Then, paint a thin layer of color. Let dry three to five minutes. Apply a second, thin layer of color. Let dry. Apply a thin layer of top coat. Let dry. If necessary, paint a second thin layer of top coat, and let dry.

Here are some additional tips on creating the perfect at home manicure.


But, there is a super-secret weapon that will help you get the most life out of your manicure – paint on two top coats. But not just any top coat. You want to use two different formulas to achieve different results.

First, paint on a thin layer of no-chip top coat. I use Essie’s “No Chips Ahead” and while this is a great product, it takes forever to dry. I’ve even woken up with sheet marks on my nails, even after I thought my manicure was completely dry.

To combat this, I add a second layer of speed-dry top coat (Essie’s “Good to Go”). Using a speed-dry top coat for the final layer seals and dries all layers of your manicure completely, including the no-chip layer.

This combination of layering will work for you too, as long as you choose polish that is good quality. This typically means paying more for your product. Try different polishes until you find a brand that you like. Then, buy some color, and a good all-in-one base coat, a quick-dry top coat, and a speed-dry top coat, to create a look that’s guaranteed to last.


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    • miss butterfly profile image

      miss butterfly 6 years ago

      Great info!!! I have NEVER been able to give myself a long lasting I always end up going to the nail salon, dropping about 20 bucks a week. Your tips are worth a try. Thanks for sharing!! :-)