Long Live the Manicure!
To nail-polish devotees, chip is a four-letter word. Get more mileage out
of your mani with these tips and tricks.
By Krista Bennett DeMaio
Cuticle oil not only softens the skin around
the nail but also hydrates the nail plate,
keeping it flexible so your polish is less
likely to crack, says Los Angeles manicurist
Tom Bachik. In the days following your
mani, rub oil over nails nightly and
before every shower. It will repel water,
the biggest cause of chipping: H2O
seeps between the layers of polish,
which makes them lift, says Jane Park,
founder of Julep Nails. Try Essie Apricot
Cuticle Oil ($8, essie.com for salons).
Fix Chips on the Spot
If your enamel is wearing
off along the top edges,
file down the exposed nail
(using a clipper can crack
your polish). “No one will
be able to tell that one nail
is a millimeter shorter than
the others,” says Ji Baek,
founder of Rescue Beauty
Lounge Nail Polish. Use a
glass file—it has an ultrafine
grit, so it won’t rough up
the remaining polish—and
run it in one direction.
Try Sephora Crystal Nail
File ($12, at Sephora).
Buffing is a quick way to
gloss up dulling polish,
says New York City
manicurist Tatyana Molot.
Most buffers have several
surfaces—stick with the
smoothest one (too much
grit will scratch your
lacquer) and use a fast
back-and-forth motion on
each nail. Try Tweezerman
4-Way Nail Buffer ($3,
DIY nail art can breathe new
life into an old manicure.
> Glitter fix: To conceal
chipped tips, swipe clear
topcoat onto the ends of your
nails, then dip them into
glitter or sparkly loose eye
shadow to create a cool
edge, suggests Manacchio.
For allover wear and tear,
coat each entire nail with a
clear-based chunky glitter
topcoat, says Jenna Hipp, a
manicurist in Los Angeles.
Try Deborah Lippmann Nail
Lacquer in Happy Birthday
> Sticker solution: Significant
chip on just one nail? Create
a quirky accent nail with an
adhesive polish strip in
a cool pattern, such as OPI
Pure Lacquer Nail Apps ($12,
opi.com for salons). Place
one on the same finger of
your other hand for balance.
Reseal the Deal
Every two days, sweep on a
fresh layer of topcoat to
protect against damage—
but don’t use a fast-dry
formula: It yields a thinner
coat that’s more likely to chip,
says cosmetic chemist Jim
Hammer. Try Sally Hansen
Salon Manicure Top Coat ($8,
at drugstores). For fast drying,
try plunging wet nails into a
bowl of cold water, says CND
nail pro Candice Manacchio.
Are You In?
Take the WH beauty challenge!
Every week for the next month, try a manicure
color you normally wouldn’t wear. (Usually a
baby-pink girl? Go teal!) Post pics to your
Facebook page and tag @Women’s Health.
Four surprising reasons your polish job didn’t
live up to its potential:
1/ You didn’t BYOB. Some salons stretch a
bottle of enamel by adding a thinning solution
to it—a move that affects the quality and
shortens the polish’s life span on your nails,
says Park. Next time, bring your own along.
2/ You forgot to tip out. If you don’t run the
lacquer along the very outer edge of your nail,
you leave it open to polish-peeling moisture.
3/ You did hot yoga. Heat interferes with the
drying process. Avoid steamy showers,
blow-drying your hair, even folding fresh-out-of-the-dryer laundry for at least 12 hours after
getting a mani.
4/ You hit the bottle. The alcohol in hand
sanitizers and sunscreen can break down
enamel and make it dull, says Hammer. Try Gold
Bond Ultimate Hand Sanitizer Moisturizer
($4.49, at drugstores), which is alcohol-free.