By Kate Cheng
There’s no better accessory to complete your look than a nice manicure. The right one can make you look sleek, professional, and stylish – what more could you ask of a friend?! We’ve nailed (sorry) the best ways to make those talons go the extra mile post-salon, so you can impress at that board meeting, successfully open your KIND bar at a conference, and type a scintillating Tweet about your morning latte while on a roadshow, all with ‘gram-worthy, glossy, finger tips.
A long-lasting manicure starts with a solid base, so don’t hold back when creating an industrial strength bottom coat that ensures your polish just doesn't budge. Go for a rubberised formula, or this release from Formula X, which feels a little sticky when dry – all the better to cling to the polish! While you’re at it, bring your own bottle of your preferred color to the salon – not only will you make sure that no extra thinner has been added to the polish (sometimes salons do this to give it more mileage), but you’ll have the color ready for any top ups in case of any last minute chipping emergencies!
We've all been there: staring at the row of OPI bottles, eyes glazing over, feeling a little overwhelmed. Here's a tip to help you choose: avoid matte shades, since these tend to chip more than glossier versions. Also, choosing a buff or light pink polish, or one with a little muted glitter or sparkle – depending on how playful you’re allowed to be - can hide peeling or flaking more successfully than a darker shade. When your manicure starts to peel at the tips, file away chipped tips until nails reach a classic ‘squoval’ shape, which maximises nail strength. But make sure to file in the same direction, so as not to encourage splitting of nail keratin layers.
Give Your Hands A Break
If possible, for at least a few hours after your manicure, allow your nails to solidify and harden by avoiding heat and humidity. If you have to do any manual chores, wear protective gloves, and wash your hands with a mild soap rather than cleaning with hand sanitiser, which will dry your nails out due to the dehydrating alcohol. If you do need to fix a chip (and we recommend doing so as soon as you find the nick), use extra thin layers, since a thick layer of polish take longer to dry and slow down solvent evaporation, making color prone to peeling.
Daily, or every other day, apply a coat or two of very thin topcoat, to re-gloss your manicure and give it just that extra layer of sparkle. If you can afford it, apply a slow-drying version, since that will create a harder and more solid shield. However, if you’re short on time (and let’s face it, who isn’t), then using an extra-fast drying topcoat, like our favorite from Butter London will do the trick. If the air is humid, you should also wait extra long for those nails to dry. Don’t forget to run the polish along the ‘raw’ or ‘free’ edge of your nail – along the top – so as to really seal in the color.
Moisturized cuticles and nails ensure that your talons remain well nourished and in good shape. Drying cuticles and stray hangnails not only look unkempt; they also have an increased likelihood of breakage and tearing. Bonus points for getting in any nail-strengthening ingredients, such as vitamin E or jojoba, to prevent any nail breakage and to protect those hard-working hands! Deborah Lippmann makes a tried and tested go-to. Make sure to keep cuticles pushed back with an orange stick – but don’t do this to dry cuticles, since this encourages cracking.
Here’s to giving you the world’s longest-lasting manicure!