I have weak, soft nails. They split and peel and as a general rule won’t grow much past the tips of my fingers, but what’s really irritating is that nail polish just won’t stay on them. It often chips a day after application. For years I just thought this was normal and that everyone had the same problem. Then I met women whose manicures lasted a week or more (not the popular gel manicure, by the way, just a regular nail-polish manicure). Why? They have thick, strong nails.
I seems logical that if some women have found nail polish that lasts longer than two days then I should be able to do the same, even with my soft, bendy, nails. So over the last year I have looked around, tried new products, read online reviews and asked for opinions on nail polish at nail salons and beauty boutique. After a great deal of this very non-scientific research here are my results, and my recommendations, for products that help to create a long-lasting manicure, and by extension, beautiful nails.
My Favorite Base and Top Coat
Most advice on creating a long-lasting manicure starts with choosing a good base coat, but there are so many and they all claim to keep polish firmly adhered to the nail. I tried many base coats from various companies and I can say without reservation that CND Sticky Base Coat is the best I’ve found. The pale blue color and unusual shaped bottle is cool too.
If you ask anyone what the best top coat is, everyone, I mean everyone, says “Seche Vite!” For some reason this is always shouted out with a great deal of enthusiasm. The excitement is well deserved. Seche vite means “fast dry” in French, and it does dry nail polish super fast. This is my prefered top coat for a salon manicure because I can’t usually wait 20 minutes for my nails to dry properly. It won’t keep your nails chip free for a long time however. For that to happen you’ll need a slow-drying base coat like the one below.
Barielle makes my favorite slow drying, super hard top coat. When I do my own nails at home in the evening this I apply a coat of Barielle Instant Liquid Nail Hardener after painting my nails. Then I go and lie down for twenty minutes while it dries. Once it does I know I’ll have perfectly polished nails for several days.
My Favorite Polish for a Long-Lasting Manicure
This seems fairly obvious, but if you choose a pale, sheer, nude nail polish color any small chips and wearing down of the polish at the tips of the nails will not be noticeable. When I want a manicure to last all week I choose one of the colors above. I’ve listed them going clockwise starting from the polish on the bottom left:
Wet & Wild Megalast nail polish in 2% milk: You would think that a nail polish that costs $2 would be awful, but it’s not true. This entire line of nail polish by Wet & Wild is the longest-lasting polish I’ve ever tried, period. It also has a fat, short, curved brush that I find very easy to use. The polish goes on the whole nail in one swipe. The color of this looks just like your nails are glazed with milk. It’s elegant and simple.
Mary Jo Matsumoto makes a delightful line of chemical-free nail polish. I picked up the Naked at the Beach Trio this spring. Unfortunately these colors are no longer available, but she offers other soft, pretty colors as well. For anyone who doesn’t like the idea of putting a lot of chemicals on their nails this is a collection to check out.
Essie Au Naturel is about as close as it gets to what I consider a perfect sheer nude nail polish. It’s beautiful. I was told by a salesperson at ULTA that Essie is formulated for natural nails, so it bends with the nail without chipping. This does seem to be true. I find that Essie’s polishes last longer than other high-end polishes.
Essie Sequin Sash is a pretty pale champagne pink with a touch of micro glitter. I’ve kept this on my nails for days and days. Even when it chips you just can’t tell because of the way the polish catches the light.
The Cuticle Cream that’s Not a Cuticle Cream
It has come to my attention that all the nail polish in the world won’t keep my nails looking pretty if the cuticles are dry and flakey. There are dozens of cuticle creams and oils out there but I prefer rubbing pure Shea Butter into my cuticles and hands every night. What a difference this one minute routine makes in my nails! The lavender scent is calming at night as well. I found mine at the health food store, but here is a similar shea butter that can be purchased online for only $9.
Disclaimer: There are affiliate links imbedded in this site. If you purchase a product from one of these links I will receive a small commission, however, I do use all these products and purchased each of them with my own money.
For this article I want to share my favorite nail products: the polishes and creams that have helped my nail polish stay chip-free for several days to a week. However, I think I would be remiss not to offer up a few websites with good manicure information. There are a lot of nail tutorials on-line but I like this one because the author is obviously doing it herself. It’s not staged! And here’s an article from Good Housekeeping that has a lot of tips on creating a long-lasting manicure, many of which I use myself.
What are your favorite nail polishes, base coats, top coats and cuticle cream? Do you have any advice on keeping your manicure nice for days? Please leave your tips in the comment section!