What's the BEST Nail Polish?
Help! I am tired of my nail polish showing wear after the second day!!!
I work in an office and love my working-girl look, but have weak and brittle nails. Not only that, but they are also very uneven and wavy. I'm always filing them smooth and trying to "reinforce" them with polish, but don't have the time to repaint them twice a week to keep them looking professional. I have had acrylics before and simply can't stand how cumbersome they are. I'm tired of devoting what feels like an entire Saturday to layer my nails with several coats of polish only to inevitably nick them on a door frame, coffee maker, or anything else I come in contact with and having to repaint one or more nails. I have tried a lot of polishes, and for anyone out there experiencing the same annoyances, here's what I have found.
Do-it-yourself Acrylic Nails
My biggest problem with fake nails is that they don't fit well. I have an extremely round shape in my nails and acrylics just don't wrap all the way around. They are too flat and no matter what sizes I try to glue on, there's always large gaps on the sides of my nails.
The few times I have gotten them to look acceptable, the glue only seemed to last a week. But that is a relatively small annoyance when I compare them to topping off my nails with any old nail polish. They are okay if I'm feeling very girly one day, but these stick-on style nails are not something I can wear week after week.
I have no experience with salon acrylics. I disliked the extra bulk of the DIY ones so much that I never bothered giving salon nails a chance. Because they're done by a nail professional, I'm sure they have better overall coverage. However, they still look obnoxious to wear.
Traditional Nail Polish
Sally Hansen Salon polish seems to hold up the best and is self-fixing while wet. It does a great job of smoothing imperfections in your nails with a clean, solid finish. I have learned, however, that I can't paint my nails with it after 5:00 in the evening. I end up getting fabric imprints in them overnight from bedding, necessitating a fixer-coat in the morning.
Wet n' Wild has an Xtreme Wear line that is pretty durable and quick to dry. Generally, anything with a lot of glitter in it lasts the longest. The glitter reinforces the polish and it can hold up even after washing the dishes, when your nails become overly soft and flexible while polish stays stiff. Imperfections and bumps are also better camouflaged by glitters.
Polishes with a pearly sheen are the worst, in my opinion. They seem to emphasize the imperfections in nails, highlighting even the smallest ridges. Hairs, bumps, and scratches are also overly obvious.
Try using a polish that is closer to your skin color for everyday. It will be less noticeable when it chips or wears, which means less retouching and fixing. However, if you're dead set on flashy colors, keep reading...
Soak-Off, Gel Nail Polish (UV Cured)
This is the best polish you can get, hands down. If you are a sucker for bold colors, this is all you'll ever need to keep your nails looking spectacular. Gel polish is made to harden quickly, but only under UV lamps. Did you get a cat hair on your nail while painting it? Just wipe it away with a finger and reapply the color. It doesn't get tacky and won't harden until you stick your hand in the lamp. It's almost impossible to mess your nails up using it.
It does require a small investment, but is well worth it in the end. There are affordable starter kits on both Amazon and Ebay that will include a primer, foundation, and top coat polish along with some other small accessories. You'll also need a UV light, either fluorescent or LED. The type of nail-setting UV light you get will drastically affect your cure/dry time. Fluorescent lamps take longer and need to be changed frequently, costing a lot over time. LED dryers never need changed and the dry time is only 30 to 60 seconds per coat. Get an LED lamp. They cost anywhere from $30 to $100, but you'll never have to fuss with it or worry about replacing bulbs.
Using a UV cured polish is FAST! I can have both my hands painted, set, and ready to go in under 20 minutes with this system. They are fully dry and durable, which means I'm not sitting around all afternoon trying keep them nick-free. The polish is durable, but flexes with your nails, so it won't chip. I can keep a gel manicure for about two and a half weeks before my nails have grown out so much the gap between polish and cuticle is too noticeable. If I have a nail where an edge peels up a little, I soak it off and repaint it, a three minute fix. I might have to do this for one nail during a two week wear.
The actual colors are still purchased separately, just like regular polish. They can be found at your local Walgreen's and on Amazon for between $10 and $15. That's too pricey for me. I bought two colors at this price, then ordered the rest of my collection directly from China on Ebay. Each bottle costs under $4.00 and shipping is often free. Don't plan on receiving your order in less than three weeks, though. It will be an international shipment, after all.