How To Make Your Home Mani Last Without Chipping (No UV Gel Required)
Ok so you know how you paint your nails and it seems like 30 seconds later they’re chipping? I have that problem too. It seems like some people’s nails just reject polish.
After spending a good 20 minutes making them look nice, it can be really frustrating and discouraging. But never one to give up in a fight, I have developed my system of an at home manicure that lasts a bit longer, and I will walk you through these steps so maybe they can help you too!
Now I’m not going to tell you that this will last two weeks, often it doesn’t even last one week…But then again even the expensive Shellac and OPI Color Gel manicures barely last a week on me. I was serious about them rejecting nail polish! So who knows this might stay on a normal person for eons.
Here is what I do…
So I start off with clean nails which is have wiped down with 100% acetone nail polish remover. The reason for this is that it helps get any natural oils off the surface of the nails. Using 100% acetone is better than other types of nail polish remover because removers often have “conditioners” and “strengtheners” in them which can sit on top of the nail and interfere with how to polish adheres.
As I have illustrated above, my nails peel near the ends (if you can’t see the spots, click the picture to enlarge it) I have tried a thousand remedies for them and nothing helps so I just play the cards I am dealt at this point which brings us to the next tip.
If your nails peel, it will make your polish chip. Because even if the polish is adhered to the top layer of your nail, it is going to come off if the top layer of your nail isn’t stuck to your finger anymore!
It took me a longer time to realize this problem than I like to admit.
When it comes time to shape my nails, I gently use the finer side of my emory board to buff away any major peel-y flakes which might come off and ruin my polish.
It’s important to be very gently and not get over enthusiastic here. You don’t want to file off the thickness of your nails, obviously.
As far as shape goes, I love me a square nail, but the square edges are more prone to breaking and chipping, so I compromise and go with a “Squoval” shape, which is basically a square shape with rounded edges.
Length matters too. If you don’t have hard as a rock, dragon lady, scratch your enemy’s eyes out, claw nails, then you need to keep the length under control. Reel ’em in a little. When you have weak…or even just not super strong nails and they are really long, they bend. Bend-y nails and polish aren’t friends.
I’m not saying to file them down to a nub. I know you want nice elegant looking lady fingers and stuff, ok? But I’m just saying keep it under control. Just past the end of the finger is perfect. It gives a nice shape to the nail, but it doesn’t let them get so long that they bend every time you dial the phone/send a text/get caught in a light breeze etc.
I also find it very helpful to use a buffer before I start polishing. Buffing makes a nice smooth shiny surface for the polish to stick to. Simple, yet effective.
Again, don’t go bananas here. You don’t want to make your nails thin. Thin=Bendy Bendy=Chipped. See above.
Next up, base coat. A good base coat is important. No base coat and top coat are not the same just because they’re clear. If you are thinking “Yeah no kidding, do you really need to tell us that?” You would be surprised…
You can use whatever type of base coat you like, as long as it is meant to be a base. These days I prefer CND Stickey Base Coat. It literally dries to a rubbery, sticky finish which grabs onto the polish better.
So far this has all been pretty standard, but now this is where I’m gonna get a little weird with it.
The first time I did this It was unintentional, and I noticed that my polish stayed on really well. So I tried it again with a different polish, and same results, just to see now I do this every time.
If you use a regular top coat for this process you will have a mess on your hands, literally HA!
And also you MUST make sure to bring the top coat down over the edge of your nail.
That will really seal everything together and make it last.
And here comes the weird step.
Let that dry for about 3-5 minutes and then…
ONE MORE layer of color and ONE MORE layer of your fast drying top coat.
I know that sounds like a ton of stuff on your nails that will never dry, but hear me out! The first round of layers will be almost dry when you start round 2. Those top coats really do dry that fast.
What this does is make the nails seem really hard. Going back yet again to the bendy nail syndrome, the harder the nail the less bendy. LESS BENDY= LESS CHIPPY
What will happen is the top coat will dry super fast, but the underneath layers will be soft for a while. So you will be able to function at a moderate level after around 10 minutes, as the top will be dry to the touch.
Just don’t let anything press too hard on them for a while. No opening boxes that came from UPS while you were painting them, even if your awesome new shoes are in there (yep I learned that one the hard way)
No prying open that blush that has weird packaging but you love it anyway (mmhmm did that one too) or anything else that might dent them.
Once it’s dry it will be hard and glossy and shiny, it almost looks like a fancy UV gel manicure.
And thats all, folks! It’s not going to last all month, but it’s better than a typical home mani.