When it comes to at-home manicures, spa-worthy formulas just aren't enough. You still end up with fading colour, chipped polish and a messy finish. But that is not all, here are the most common nail polish sins you are committing—plus how to correct them now for beautiful nails.
Abstaining from prep work: Nails come into contact with your hair, face, lotions and many things that leave oils to interfere with polish adhesion. Before manicuring, scrub your nails with soap and water, followed by a quick wipe with nail polish remover. The result is clean, natural nails that are ready for long-lasting color.
Filing error: Beautiful nails begin with a healthy canvas to work with. This means proper trimming and filing of the nails before you initiate your manicure. Be sure to file nails in one direction only, instead of back-and-forth, to prevent splitting. Using this filing technique post-manicure also helps to keep polish from breaking off in one large chunk.
Neglecting your cuticles: You really can’t create beautiful nails if you don't attend to your cuticles. Avoid cutting or picking at cuticles, which can lead to red, irritated skin. Instead, push back cuticles with a towel after showering. When it's time to add colour, you won't have to fuss over polish appearing uneven against the cuticle line because the skin is already level.
Missing cuticle oil: The unsung hero of the at-home manicure, cuticle oil is essential to long-lasting polish. Dry, flaking cuticles can quickly distract from the pretty nail polish you’ve spent so much time applying. Do your manicure and your nails a favour by always using cuticle oil.
Conveniently forgetting a base coat: Omitting a base coat is a major faux pas if you're trying to design beautiful nails. For one, the polish on your nails won’t last unless you anchor your polish with a base coat. Secondly, many polishes contain pigments that can easily transfer and stain your nail plate—specifically shades of red. This will leave your nails tinted and brittle.
Improper polish application: You probably wonder why your nail polish breaks off before you even finish with your at-home manicure. You can actually prevent chipping by adding an extra dab of polish to areas most susceptible to damage. With every polishing step, run the brush along the tip of the nail. As nail polish dries, it shrinks ever so slightly, and by sealing the free edge of the nail, you are essentially locking the formula in place.
Skipping a top coat: Just like a base coat, nail polish brands don't make top coats for no reason. They serve a purpose in preserving your at-home manicure for a longer duration and reduce your drying time.
Speeding through: Giving your manicure time to set—for at least 20 minutes—is imperative to beautiful nails. Don’t rush! Lacquer can bubble when it’s hot or humid, or when top coat is applied too quickly. Let the coats dry in between each application to avoid this problem.