There's nothing more frustrating than nail polish chipping after a day or two of a freshly done manicure! And I know we've all been there. There are plenty reasons why nail polish chips and I will share them with you, along with some tips on how to prevent them. Let's get started!
Soaking your hands in water is great to soften your cuticles, but not so great for your nails. Nails absorb water while soaking, preventing polish from adhering properly to your nails. What happens is that nails absorb water and they temporarily expand. So when the water evaporates, their shape goes back to normal, causing the polish to lift off the surface of the nail and chip. Avoid soaking your hands in water for a long time during the manicure and even better try doing a waterless manicure, using a cuticle remover to make things easier. It's also important to avoid water after the manicure and don't forget to wear gloves when needed.
Our nails produce natural oils the same way our skin does. When it comes to our manicure we do not want any oils, either it's the natural oils of our nails or residue from soap, hand lotions etc. Any kind of oil will prevent our polish from adhering to the nails. It's important to prep our nails before we start polishing. After pushing up/cleaning our cuticles we can use a sanding/buffing block to gently remove the shine from our nails (do NOT overdo it with the buffer, we don't want to weaken them!) and then we can either use a special product (primer) to remove the oils from our nails, alcohol or pure acetone, which is more drying and harsh for your nails. Nail polish removers aren't ideal for this because they contain oils or other moisturising ingredients to be less harsh and wouldn't completely remove the oils from your nails.
Nails are porous, they can absorb the pigments in polishes and get stained. Using a basecoat before polishing can help from absorbing the pigments, but still not 100%. A 3-4 way buffer block/file can help smooth the nails, add a beautiful shine to them and seal the pores of your nails, preparing them for the basecoat and nail polish. This way they have less chances of absorbing the pigments. And while the sanding/buffing block will remove the natural shine and oils from your nails and add a slight texture to them, allowing the nail polish to adhere properly, a shinning buffer block might prevent it from properly adhering to the nails. Everything has its pros and cons, so you might want to weigh them and then make your decision.
Bad Polishing Technique:
For a longer lasting manicure there are three important steps: 1) Basecoat, 2) Nail Polish, 3) Topcoat. For best results never skip steps. Remember to apply thin layers of polish and always seal the free tip of your nail in each step. It's better to apply 3 thin layers of polish than 1 or 2 thick ones. Thick layers of polish dry slower and might create air bubbles during application, which can possibly interfere with the proper adhesion. Finally, once you're done with your manicure, you also might want to apply top coat every day or every other day to help maintain it longer.
Nail Polish Quality:
It's important for nail polish to be Formaldehyde, Toluene and DBP free, because they are proven to be toxic. All those nasty chemicals might make polishes longer lasting, but is it really worth "paying the price"?
Nail Polish Consistency:
As mentioned above, thick polish dries slower and might apply bubbly, causing it to chip. It doesn't really mean you have to toss it away though. When your polish gets thicker, only use a nail polish thinner to thin it out. NEVER use alcohol or nail polish remover. If you think about it, it doesn't make any sense using a product that dissolves it, to thin it out. It might work for a short period of time, but in the long run it will only ruin your beautiful polish and it will eventually get thick again. Also, you want to avoid shaking your polish up and down the same way you would shake a soda can if you were to pull a prank on a friend! Lol! That will only create air bubbles and we DON'T want that! Instead, try rolling it between your palms, holding it upside down. And last but not least...
Nail polish tends to lift off and chip on weak and brittle nails more often than on healthy and strong nails. Filing them back and forth can weaken them, cause them to peel and break. Try filing them only in one direction. Also frequent usage of acetone and a buffing block can dry up and weaken the nails. If all the above are not the case, then maybe you want to look for the suspect on the inside. Weak and brittle nails can be caused by lack of iron, zinc, biotin. or may be a sign of a medical condition. See your doctor and follow their instructions. Don't play doctor yourself! A more nutritious diet could make a huge difference, also a ridge filling, calcium enriched, or strengthening basecoat could help. Finally, from my experience nail polish lasts longer on short nails rather on long ones, since they're less exposed. And I know this is irrelevant to the nail condition and has to do with length, but I thought I'd just mention it here.
Well, I really enjoyed writing this post and I hope this was interesting and helpful for you. Nail polish and nail art are fun, but always in moderation! Remember to give your nails a little break from time to time and try to keep your nails and cuticles moisturised from the inside and out. If you have any other tips that I may have not included, feel free to let me know. I'm always happy to read comments. ;)