Manicure Maintenance: Extending the Life of Your Mani

Has the economic crisis affected your spending habits? Or are you too busy stuffing your mattress?

Either way, many of us are looking for ways to cut back and streeeeeetch the paycheck. However, there are things that a girl just can't give up, nail care being one of them. It does not cost much money to have nice looking hands and nails, so no excuses ladies!

Whether splurging on a salon manicure or DIY, one way to save money is to keep that mani looking fantastic for as long as possible. Here are some tips and tricks I've collected for maintaining top notch nails:
  • Make sure your nails are super clean and dry prior to applying polish. If the manicure included moisturizing with lotion, cream, or oil, swipe the nail bed with nail polish remover, acetone, vinegar or lemon juice prior to applying polish to remove any lingering emollients. This makes a certain amount of sense in that if there are oils on the nail bed, the polish won't adhere as well. This may be the most important tip to extend your manicure life.
  • When applying polish, don't forget to "wrap" the tip. This neat little trick involves painting just a tad on the underside of the nail as well as on the top, thereby wrapping the entire tip in color. You will want to use this technique for all layers: base coat, color, and top coat. This is a great tutorial with pictures. Wrapping takes some getting used to, but it's definitely worth it.
  • Use a base coat. With a salon manicure, they will most definitely do this, but if you are DIYing, it helps to invest the cash in a quality base coat. I've had good luck with CND Stickey.
  • Apply the nail color in several (2-3) thin coats rather than one fat blob. This will decrease drying time, prevent smudges and extend the life of the mani.
  • Use a top coat. This is kind of obvious, but important. Don't forget to use the wrapping technique with top coat to protect the tip as well.
  • Consider a shimmer. If you can tolerate them, polishes with a shimmer or, better yet, glitter tend to stick like crazy and chip less.
  • Re-apply top coat every 2-3 days. Keep it handy to remind yourself. I can make a salon pedicure last up to 3 weeks with this little trick. There are many top coats to choose from but, in my experience, you get what you pay for. The pricier topcoats such as Seche Vite or Poshe are fast-drying, high-shine and worth the price.
  • This might be obvious, but protect your hands! Use gloves if washing the dishes or cleaning the bathtub and stay away from abrasives or heavy chemicals. This is also a good excuse not to change the cat box (just in case you were looking for one...).
  • Don't neglect the cuticle. Just because your hands are now pretty does not mean you can slack off! Be sure to moisturize your hands and nails every time you wash them with soap (yes, that often) and apply a rich cuticle oil at least once a day. Some of my favorite cuticle products are described here.
Lastly, if you are unsure of how to do a quality at-home manicure, here are some good resources:

Basic Manicure Technique
Very Involved and Detailed Manicure Technique with Product Suggestions
Video Demonstration (generally good although I take issue with her filing technique and failure to clean the nail bed prior to applying polish)



Katee said...

I just found your blog - love it!

October 15, 2008 at 7:32 PM
Kyl said...

Hey thanks!
October 16, 2008 at 12:34 PM

asami said...

Thank you for linking to the post about wrapping tips. :)

October 30, 2008 at 7:50 PM

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