[Sweat the Technique] How to finally get your nail color to last

Today marks a momentous occasion.  For the first time [in my life probably] I'm removing nail polish, not because it's  become a raggedy mess, but because I'm ready for a change.  This wonderful moment is possible largely in part to me finally learning the technique that extends my polish for at least 5 days.

Ever since I wrote the post on the power of having well cared for nails, I've tried unsuccessfully to maintain flawless nails.  I'd paint them on the weekend, and on Monday, the dreaded signs of chipping would appear.  By mid week, my nails looked completely neglected.  Never in my wildest dreams that I would imagine removing a perfectly decent manicure simply to swap out colors.

What I learned this week is that technique truly matters! I have been doing it wrong my entire life. Finally, I had enough.  I woke up one day and said to myself.  "Today, I will learn how to do this! I will put on polish and it will last!"  The search began.  After reading a few articles, I was hit with the reality that my technique was completely flawed.

For years I simply grabbed my polish, did my nails, and automatically assumed the color would magically stay on.  Now, I'm realizing the error of my ways.  I've gathered information that lays out  the technique of how to achieve a 5 day(+) manicure.  So here goes:
OPI's Steady As She Rose
1. BASECOAT- So here is the most important step of this entire process.  Without your base coat, you will end up with chewed up looking polish.  Apparently, base coat sets the foundation and creates the right environment for the nail color to stick to. When it comes to long-lasting nail color, base coat is your friend.  In my case, I used OPI's Nail Envy because it acts as both a top coat and nail strengthener in one.  

**Update, I've now learned of the existence of Sticky Base Coat and my life will never be the same. **

2.  POLISH- Once the base coat is set, you can apply your color.  Here's where the technique part comes in.  You have to paint your nails using thin layers.  The thinner, the better.  Do not overload your applicator with polish otherwise, your color will be more likely to chip and peel.  Instead, go for 2-3 ultra thin coats.  Another important key is to make sure you ALLOW EACH COAT TO FULLY DRY before adding the next layer.  This is an absolute must.

3. TOPCOAT- Now that your polish has fully dried, you are ready to apply the top coat.  This will further protect your color while adding a nice shine.  The technique you want to use while applying topcoat is to first apply top coat to your tips as if you were giving yourself a french manicure.  Don't forget to brush the outer edge of your nail as well.  Once your coated tips are completely dry, you then proceed to apply top coat to the entire nail as you would normally.  This ensures that you've protected the entire nail while giving a little extra attention to the tips where we tend to experience the first signs of chipping.

[OPTIONAL] One site recommended that we reapply top coat on a daily basis.  I didn't do that this first round because I wanted to see if the three steps alone would make a difference.  Next go around I will reapply top coat 1-2 times in between manicures just to make sure my nails are pristine on the daily.

Although my nails still look pretty decent, I wouldn't say they're perfect.  I blame this on my attention to detail.  Like I could see polish fading from the outmost corner of my nails because I didn't do a good job of making sure the top coat covered every square centimeter of nail.  Secondly, I think I only did one layer of top coat, when I could have covered a little more.  Thirdly, someone recommended that I buffer the nail bed prior to painting to create a smoother surface for the product to stick to thereby making the manicure last even longer.  Lastly, I noticed more chipping on my left hand (the one I use the most) so next time I will place extra attention on that hand versus the right.

There you have it ladies. If you are as frustrated with 2 day at home manicure results as I was, you have to try this technique for yourselves and experience the difference.

Be sure to check out my favorite nude nail colors of all time.


  1. Hi Nadege, I love your blog and all your recommendations so today I'll give you my secret too! I have had my pedicure done 3 weeks ago and no chip, my nail polish has been like on day 1! I was recommended the base coat from Nubar and I also purchased their top coat. Honestly it's amazing! My nail polish has lasted 3 weeks! You should try it, it's really worth the price...

  2. Thanks for the insider tip Diana! I'll have to check Nubar out.

  3. You are so awesome for these tips! Your blog is so well rounded.

  4. Thank you so much Moiyshee. That means a lot.

  5. Also try sealing your nail with nail polish, i.e. applying nail polish to the vertical surface of the tip of your nail.

  6. A really good tip is after your nails have dried to soak them in ice water. Your manicure will last beyond seven days.


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