Despite the ridiculous chipped nail polish trend reported by the New York Times and sported by Vanessa Hudgens, most go to great lengths to avoid chiptastic tips. The majority of emails I get from people who frequent my site concern methods to avoid getting chips. I get these emails so often, I decided to just concentrate everything I know in one handy post for your convenience. These are all suggestions that have worked for me and people I know. In truth, this is a very experimental process. Ultimately, you just have to wade through the information and find the combination of methods that works best for you individually.
1. Be realistic. Are you’re a potter? Do you chew on your nails? Do you type 24 hours a day? Do you use your nails like a Swiss Army knife? (Use a real toothpick! Open cans with the sides of your fingers! Don’t tap your nails on hard surfaces!) Do you hand-wash dishes multiple times a day without wearing gloves? If you said yes to any of that, there is no magical combination of products, tips, or tricks on Earth that will help you achieve a super long lasting manicure. You have to change the way you treat your nails. One simple solution is to just wear gloves while doing activities that are harmful to your nails, it makes a world of difference. Sure, you’ll get made fun of, especially if you have male roommates but whatever.
2. Is it the surface of your nail bed? Most people immediately assume that chips are caused by bad product formulas but sometimes the culprit is the surface of your nail bed. If your nails peel, the unevenness can cause the polish to chip. The best way to deal with this is to lightly buff the peeled portion of your nail until it’s even. Be weary of over buffing, there a few things in this world more horrifyingly painful and uncomfortable than over buffed nails. I got chills just typing that sentence. If it’s a really bad peel with very pronounced unevenness, lightly buff and use a ridge filler (Barielle Camoflauge and Seche Ridgefiller are addict favorites.)
3. Is the surface of your nail bed clean? Oils on the surface of your nail bed can prevent the polish from properly adhering to the nail. Some people like to use vinegar, 100% acetone with no moisturizers, or alcohol to clean the surface. In my infinite nail snobbiness, I like to use specialized nail preps like Rescue Beauty Lounge First Step Nail Prep or Zoya Remove+).
4. Ok now the big question… is there something wrong with the products you are using? Most likely… no. I really don’t believe that any product is inherently bad. I don’t believe any polish, no matter how cheap, has an inherently bad formula. Any polish regardless of brand, when properly applied, should give you at least two days of perfect wear. There are some considerations though, some products won’t work for certain people but they may work wonderfully for other people. Your lifestyle and personal body chemistry will affect the results you get from any product. You just have to find what works best for you and that requires trial and error.
5. What to try during your trials: Hands down, you need a sticky base coat. I personally love Color Club Stuck on You and Nail Laminates No More Chips. Other girls really love Creative Stickey and Orly Bonder. Pretty much, every company makes a sticky basecoat so take your pick and run with it.
A good top coat is a necessity, don’t fight it. I really love Seche Vite and Lippmann Collection Addicted to Speed. Other girls really love INM Out the Door and Poshe. As far as actual polishes, I personally get better results with higher end polishes. Rescue Beauty Lounge wears on me like it’s got Voo Doo in it but that doesn’t mean other companies won’t wear just as well. I’ve never had problems with any of the big name companies.
6. Finally, is there something wrong with the way you’re applying color? Maybe. Wait until the base coat is completely dry before you start applying color. I have found that working with very thin coats works best, even if that means you’re using more coats than you normally would. Three thin coats are better than two thick coats. Lastly, “wrapping” your tips, which means brushing horizontally across the tip of your nail with your top coat tends to help with chipping issues.
7. Use moisturizer all the time. Period.
8. Apply fresh top coat every other day – this does wonders for extending the life of manicures. I really like Nail Laminates Liquid Glass for this purpose. (Thank you for reminding me about this tip, Geraldine!)
If you incorporate all those tips into your routine and you still have issues, email me, we’ll find a solution.