Sure. We don’t mind doing our own nails. It’s therapeutic not to mention economical. But we always end up back at the salon because they have some magic powers to make our manicure last. The truth is, it’s not magic. It’s maintenance. And by following these few “Oh-I-never-knew-that” tips, your nails will look and last like they never have before.

Rid nails of moisture. Moisture tends to draw in dirt and bacteria and the goal is to keep your nails as clean as possible. Use an acetone remover or cleanser & lint free cotton pads to get them squeaky clean and dry. Do not soak fingertips. It’s just part of pampering at the salon.

Use a base coat that’s slow drying & sticky. It’s imperative to use a base coat for a longer lasting manicure. The stickier it is, the better because the nail color will adhere to the nail better.

Easy as 1,2,3. When applying coats, use three narrow even strokes; one down the center and one down each side — and then allow it to dry for two minutes before a second coat is applied. The thicker the layer is, the more difficult it is for the solvent — the liquid agent in enamel — to evaporate, boosting the chances that polish will peel.

Seal the deal. File and shape the nail. Be sure to add all coats (base, color & top) to the edge of nail that was filed and/or clipped. It covers the nail totally and adds days to your mani.

Get rid of nicks. When those aggravating nicks happen (the ones that seem to always happen right after you’re done painting everything perfectly) fix them sooner than later. Cuticle oil should do the trick. Leave remover to the pros so you don’t take off to much polish.

Stay away from heat. Heat prevents nails from “curing” (hardening) and drying fully. Avoid directly being in the sun, shower, sauna or even blowing your nails (since your breath is warm). Even hot water (washing dishes or jumping in the tub) can affect the process of curing. Steer clear away from heat for 2 to 12 hours.

Oil nails regularly. Nail and cuticle oil is the best way to get the moisture your nails call for, preventing peeling and splitting. While moisture is to be avoided while doing your nails, it’s important to oil them once they’re done on a daily basis to stop the polish from leaving the nail bed. Avoid traditional lotions and moisturizers with alcohol and fragrances. They tend to dry the cuticles and crack polish. (Never push back dry cuticles!) Nail oils have vitamin E and jojoba oil that can penetrate deep into the nail, beyond the layers of polish.

– Mattie James

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