How To Make Your Mani Last

I don’t know about you guys, but nothing irritates me more than a chipped nail. It’s the perfectionist in me and it’s also my job to give ladies a mean lookin’ mani. For those of you that don’t know, I’m a licensed esthetician of 5 years and I do a lot of manicures. For starters I’ll say that there are two companies I’ve been loyal to for 5 years and I’m always drooling over the new collections, Hand and Nail Harmony’s Gelish and Artistic Colour Gloss. Be prepared to see lots of posts with Gelish and Artistic. Both brands release a seasonal collection (typically 6 new colours) and if we’re lucky, a bonus collection during holiday time. I am obsessed with how trendy the colours are and they are so shiny it’s stuuupid!

These brands are not regular polish they are light cured. Meaning the polish will be exposed to UV or LED to adhere it to your nail. If you have no experience with professional products I suggest you don’t go out and buy yourself a starter kit. These can run from $200 and higher and you’ll end up just getting frustrated when your sets aren’t lasting. These products are meant to be used by professionals and we are the ones that can give you a set that will last 3-5 weeks. Let’s get one thing straight, there isn’t any anti-chip magic in the polish and sometimes a chipped nail just happens! Have you ever reached for your car door and your fingers slip under the handle? Ouch…there goes the corner of your nail. Have you ever accidently sliced your nail when you were cutting something in the kitchen? I mean…better your polish than your finger though, right? What about opening a can of soda or beer and your nail gets stuck in the pull-tab piece? Boom. Chipped Nail. My point is we use our hands for everything and sometimes accidents simply can’t be avoided, but what about the things we can control? There are a couple tricks I use on myself and inject into the lives of my clients so a chipped nail doesn’t haunt us!

A set of light cured polish is depended upon the integrity of the natural nail. What does that mean? It means if you have a strong nail the polish has a great foundation and chance of chipping is low. If you have a weaker or a damaged nail the chance of chipping increases because the foundation is compromised. One great way to maintain your mani is cuticle oil. Oil. Oil. OIL. The best thing I find that works wonders is coconut or olive oil. Skip the fancy fragmented and coloured oils and go straight to the source! Try to moisturize the cuticles and nail area daily. They are thirsty suckers and need a little drink! I have a lot of clients telling me they lotion like crazy, but their nails still chip. While lotion is great and I’m glad to see a little effort…oil is better. It’s concentrated and gets right to the point. If you aren’t a fan of the smell then apply a hand lotion afterwards! Double-whammy. All this yummy oil soaks into the nail and surrounding skin to maintain hydration of the natural nail. A hydrated nail lessens the chance of chipping. Win-win! To express how important this step is, I will leave you with this. Would you ever not use conditioner? No. Would you ever not floss your teeth? I sure as hell hope not. Would you ever not use cuticle oil? NOPE. Get it?

Learn to love a nail file. The length of a nail plays a huge part of a lasting manicure. Yes, some people have the most beautiful strong natural nails that are long and wonderful, but not all of us are blessed with nails like this. You have to learn how long your natural nails can be before it starts running into problems. Sometimes that length isn’t as long as we’d like to it be (without turning to enhancements), but you have to discover what that length is for you. The longer our nails are the weaker they become. Why? There’s a lot of stress put on the area where our nail plate leave our hyponychium (the part of the finger underneath the free edge). The free edge is the part of the nail that’s “free” from the edge of our finger. You know that area under your nails that always seem to get dirty? That’s the free edge.  Does that make sense? That point marks the stress point of our nail, making it vulnerable to cracking or splitting if the nail is too long. Think of a diving board for a second. The shorter the board, the less bounce you get (short nails), and the longer the board the more bounce you get (long nails). The long board will crack long before the short board cracks. Once there’s a crack there, it opens up a whole can of worms for our nails (and the diving board). One of the best ways to eliminate cracking or splitting is to shorten your nails every few days and when I say shorten I mean just a little run of the nail file over the edge will do. It helps to the keep the length down, and edges smooth to avoid snagging and ripping a piece of polish off.

You should play around with different nail shapes and see what works best for you and your lifestyle. Do you go square, rounded, almond, or a combination? Personally, I keep my nails short and square. It works best for me with my work. I’m very hands on so keeping them short is a must for me, and square because I love the look! Beware though square nails are high maintenance. The corners tend to get caught on everything in site, so filing plays a big part with this shape. The rounded and almond shapes are equally lower maintenance than the square. The big difference here is the corners. With the corners not existing, there’s less for the nails to get caught on, especially hair. You’ll also want to choose a shape that’s going to compliment your fingers and hands. Some people look great with short hair or long hair. Same concept goes for nails or you just might be that person that can rock short or long hair, square or round nails. You lucky duck, you!

Keep these things in mind when it comes to your nails and once you develop your own routine you will steer clear of a horrific mess! Remember, consistency is key. Keep on keepin’ on with the oiling and shortening! #chipfreezone

*In feature photo I am wearing Gorgeous by Artistic Colour Gloss, and a custom mixture of Up In The Blue and Arctic Freeze by Gelish.

How do you like to wear your nails?