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A Home Manicure That Lasts

Updated on November 4, 2015
Beth Buckley profile image

Beth has a Master's Degree in Physical Therapy and currently helps others through the body mind connection at Whole Body Synchroflow.

Look Spectacular for Longer

Ever notice how your home manicure seems to chip, flake or otherwise look like it needs to be redone only days after you've invested quality time painting your nails? If you're like me then you desire gorgeous nails that last up to two weeks. This article explains some secrets I've developed over the years of doing my own nails. Please read on and add your own ideas and comments.

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Gorgeous Nail Color
Gorgeous Nail Color

Home Manicure Steps:

1) Remove old polish from nails.

2) File nails to desired length with a coarse nail file.

3) Shape nails into rounded tips or squared tips using a medium nail file.

4) Finish the nails with a fine nail file, going once gently over all the nail ends.

5) Use a cuticle tool to gently push back the cuticles around each nail.

6) Carefully clip cuticles.

7) Buff nails lightly.

8) Wash nails using soap and a nail brush.

9) Paint nails with polish remover.

10) Apply a thick layer of bottom coat nail polish.

11) Apply 2 or more layers of color polish.

12) Apply clear top coat polish.

13) Allow nails to dry.

14) Apply cuticle oil.

What's the Big Deal About Your Nails?

Love yourself
Love yourself

I believe that making the effort to look good on the outside is an important step to feeling good on the inside. Every time you see your hands, and this is many, many times a day, you will notice how lovely they are and this simple act of noticing beauty will bring you in closer alignment with inspiration and unconditional love. So go ahead, pamper yourself with a manicure and watch the smiles on your face grow!

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Healthy body, Healthy nails
Healthy body, Healthy nails

Healthy Nails

It is important to take good care of yourself. This includes eating a well-balanced, healthy diet, exercising and leading a healthy lifestyle free from addictions. All toxins we ingest are metabolized and processed in the body. When these chemicals built up over time with addictions or poor choices the result is disease and/or poor physical health, including skin and nails. Do you want to look good on the outside with gorgeous, healthy nails? If so then start by loving yourself and treating your body with kindness.

Remember the brush
Remember the brush

Use a Nail Brush

Before applying the bottom coat of clear polish, it is very important to use a nail brush with soap to thoroughly clean your nails. Whenever I accidentally skip this step, I find that my nails chip within days.

By OPI
By OPI

Use Chip Skip

After you've filed your nails and scrubbed them with a soapy nail brush, paint your nails with Chip Skip prior to applying polish. This completely cleans the nail surface so that the polish adheres tightly. Remember this step and your home manicure will last longer.

Pay attention to temperature
Pay attention to temperature

Temperature of Nail Polish

Believe it or not, the temperature of your nail polish is important if you want a long lasting home manicure. If the bottle of nail polish is either too hot then it becomes runny and the layers will be too thin causing early chipping. If the polish is too cold then it becomes thick and gloppy, uneven in appearance.

In the summertime, I keep my nail polish in a cool place. In the wintertime, I put the nail polish in my pocket for 10 minutes or so before I paint my nails. Works like a charm!

Gently mix  polish
Gently mix polish

Mix Polish Gently

Before using your color polish, mix it gently by holding the bottle in your hands and rubbing them together. This method prevents bubbles from forming on your nails when you apply the polish.

OPI is my favorite nail polish
OPI is my favorite nail polish

Use Quality Nail Products

I have sampled many different products for nails and have found that the quality of products you use on your nails will make a difference in how long your home manicure will last. In this area, I recommend spending a little extra money because you will feel it is worth the investment.

~Top of the Line Nail Products

I use OPI Nail Strengthener as my base coat. This is a nice neutral polish to use by itself when you don't feel like wearing color.

OPI nail polish lasts longer than any other polish I have tried.

The OPI Rapid Dry Top Coat actually does speed up nail drying time. It is my favorite top coat.

The OPI Rapid Dry Spray also improves drying time. It leaves shiny nails and helps moisturize your cuticles, too.

Practice makes perfect
Practice makes perfect

Uniform Nail Polish

A key component to a long lasting home manicure is being able to apply an even coat of nail polish to the nails. If this is difficult for you then do what the professionals do, practice. You can purchase model hands, fingers online at very low prices and practice with inexpensive polish until you get the hang of it. When applying the polish, begin at the base of the nail and make 3 strokes to the tip, center, right and left.

Paint inside the lines
Paint inside the lines

Clean up As You Go

Clean up excess polish while you go by tipping a Q-tip in nail polish remover and running it along the outer edges of your nail. When nail polish overlaps onto your skin, it can cause peeling and chipping. You can also purchase products to make this process easier.

Be Patient

The more coats of nail polish you add, the stronger the nail and the longer lasting the polish. Give yourself ample time to do the initial manicure with a clear bottom coat, at least 2 layers of color polish and the clear, shiny top coat.

UV lamp dries polish quickly
UV lamp dries polish quickly

Dry Nails Completely

This step in crucial for your long lasting home manicure. Polish that isn't completely dry before you return to activities will easily come off, dent or mess up in some other fashion.

If you are short on time for your home manicure then consider investing in a UV lamp. Your nails will dry rock hard in 20 minutes.

Gloves Protect Your Nails and Skin
Gloves Protect Your Nails and Skin

Wear Gloves

Use gloves during all household chores where your nails can be exposed to water, chemicals or dirt. In my experience, this is the number one step in protecting your home manicure.

Protect Your Manicure

Use gloves for all household chores and always find a tool instead of using your nails. Every time you forget and expose your nails to water, chemicals or overuse, expect a chip in your home manicure the same day.

The Perfect Tool
The Perfect Tool

Use Tools

Instead of Your Nails

Always remember to use tools instead of your nails for scraping, pulling, prying. Scissors are usually handy so try using them the next time you find yourself tempted to ruin your home manicure.

Keep Those Nails Moisture Free
Keep Those Nails Moisture Free

Minimize Moisture on Nails

Use Powder

If you find that you have many chores and your hands become sweaty inside of gloves then simply change into another set of gloves or add powder to the ones your are wearing. You want to prevent extended exposure to moisture on your nails because it will cause your new home manicure to chip, split or flake.

Dry nails easily in the car
Dry nails easily in the car

Add Extra Layers of Color

I've found that if I add an extra layer of color nail polish every few days then my home manicure can last up to 3 weeks. This is because the extra layers improve the strength of the nail and as long as you've taken the steps to ensure a good base coat then this method works well.

Do you drive more than 20 minutes at a time? If so then this is the perfect time to put a fresh coat of color on your nails. After you're in your car and ready to go (seat belt on, keys in the ignition, etc.) then add a quick coat of color. As you drive, direct the air out of the front vents, pointing toward your hands so that the nails dry quickly.

You look extra beautiful with your nails painted. Way to go for your effort!

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File before correcting chips
File before correcting chips

Repair Chips

Sometimes despite your best efforts, a nail will chip within a week of your careful home manicure. If this happens, no sweat. Simply use a fine grade file to the tip of the nail where it has chipped then apply a thin bottom coat of clear polish to the tip before reapplying color polish to the entire nail. Remember to give the nail ample time to dry and harden before returning to activity. You can use a nail drying spray for quicker drying.

Glitter provides strength
Glitter provides strength

Glitter Nail Polish

If you desire flirty, fashionable nail polish that is stronger than traditional nail polish then use glitter polish. This type of polish comes in fine to large, dense glitter in a myriad of colors for any occasion. I have found that the glitter polish lasts longer without chipping than non-glitter polish, however, removal is more challenging. Be sure to use 100% acetone when removing glitter polish and give yourself 10 extra minutes if you have multiple layers.

Unblemished Nails

If you love to paint your nails then you will notice that your nail bed becomes yellowed or tarnished over time. To fix this you can:

1) Use a fine nail file and a buffer to remove the stains. I don't prefer this method because it thins your nails and thin nails chip easily.

2) Another method to removing stains is to place a paste of 1 tbsp hydrogen peroxide and 2.5 tbsp baking soda on your nails for 5 minutes. I don't prefer this method either because the bleach dries the nails and can make them more brittle, prone to cracks, flakes and nail polish chips.

Instead, I see my yellowed nail beds as good incentive to keep them painted and beautiful :)

One More Chance to Vote

Will you try any of these suggestions for a longer lasting home manicure?

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