There’s a difference between being vain and shallow, which is super for us since we want our readership to be as well-groomed and hot as possible. But that doesn’t mean it’s like, more important than other stuff like, umm, ideas and, you know, other stuff. Basically, this may look like yet another superficial beauty tutorial, but since the only way to express an idea without outward motion is through aesthetics, it is actually a metaphorical existentialist commentary on employing one’s tools of visual communication. So get off your high horse.
There’s nothing wrong with being natural– which is why last week, we told you how to grow your hair out instead of trying to sell you on extensions. Since some of last week’s hair tips will get your nails growing as well, it’s time for some useful advice on how to make your nail polish last as long as possible (specifically for the natural-nailed). With our easy DIY guide, it won’t be long until you’re living a fancy-fingered, frizz-free existence somewhere on a private island while your ex-manicurist presses *67 and cries while repeatedly redialing your number. Or, at the very least, your hands won’t look like crap while you Minesweep on the company dime. Or surf our site. Promise we won’t snitch.
First off, assess the situation and choose your length.
Do you have naturally long nail beds, or exceptionally strong nails? Or are your sad little stubs beset with bending and peeling? If the latter is the case, opt for no longer than the end of the finger; if not it’s up to you but keep in mind that once any Tim-Burtonesque curling starts taking place, it gets hard to text. Or date.
File nails to the desired shape.
Square, oval or anything in between works, but if you want perilous points you’re better off with press-ons (fun but flimsy) or gel/acrylic overlay (more of a commitment).
Prep before polish.
After a solid hand-washing (and drying), swipe a Q-tip soaked in acetone polish remover over each nail. Then wash your hands to get the poison off. Dry your hands with a towel, but don’t touch your hands directly, since the purpose of this exercise was to remove surface oil. It helps the polish bond properly.
All your base are belong to us.
As long as you have a good base and top coat– I strongly recommend using Sally Hansen Triple Strong Nail Fortifier for both, which is roughly $5, dries fast/rock hard and has a perfect consistency for precise application– there’s no need to use expensive colored polish, although you certainly can. Put two base coats on your clean, dry, oil-free nails, allowing 5-10 minutes for drying in between, depending on coat thickness. If you don’t give your polish ample drying time in between applications, you will be left with an easily-ruined end result. Tackiness: never a good thing.
Stay topped off.
After applying two more coats of the polish of your choice, follow with a final layer of topcoat. Now waste a half an hour on facebook, and avoid making any sudden movements when your Farmville score goes up. All your efforts will have been wasted.
This is the most important part.
Now, this may seem counter-intuitive, but wash your hands. And keep washing them. And then, once the day after you first painted them and every 2-3 days thereafter, apply a single layer of topcoat, 1 coat of which takes mere minutes to dry. Make sure you get all the way to and over the end of the nail. Once grime gets on your polish and the topcoat starts to wear down, you have to start all over, so just make sure to keep your hands clean. If that sounds like a tall order, there’s nothing we can do for you here other than avoid any situations in which we might be faced with a high-five.
I know I personally hate sitting still for a manicurist (HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO USE MY IPHONE?), and ever since adopting this routine a few weeks ago, I haven’t been once and my DIY-replacement-manicures have been lasting me 7-10 days before I can see the polish growing off. Let me know how it works for you.