Well-groomed nails make a pulled-together statement, but between work and play, finding the time to always have the perfect manicure can be tough. Some women love manicure pampering and have their favorite nail shop saved in their phone, but for others, going the DIY route is a regular event. If you dread the task of constantly painting your nails, here are some nail hacks that will help make the process tolerable and the results long lasting.
1. Choose neutral shades.
Soft, neutral shades always come off as professional - especially in conservative offices - but they also have one big perk: They tend to mask chips and blips. The closer the shade to your skin, the better you can hide these mistakes, and the longer you can go between manicures. In addition, it's not as noticeable if you have to do some quick touch-ups in-between full-blown polish sessions. Choose polishes like Morgan Taylor In the Nude, OPI's Over the Taupe or Venique Naked Getaway.
2. Use a base coat.
Professional, salon-quality products will last longer than others, but it's also key to use other products that will make your manicure last. The most overlooked? A sticky base! A product like CND Stickey creates a glue-like layer on the nail that will hold color in place and help prevent chipping.
3. Use thin, even coats.
It's easy to go overboard with polish wand in hand, but thick, goopy layers are far more likely to smudge, streak and cause general manicure mayhem because they take longer to thoroughly dry. Instead of 2-3 thick coats, try 3-4 thinner, even coats (plus a top coat, a given), which will be more likely to dry quickly and less likely to smudge. Try this technique with the next OPI finger nail polish you use.
4. Don't forget the edges.
Chips typically start around the edges of the nail, especially at the tip. When using a top coat like China Glaze Fast Forward Top Coat (which dries in seconds - another big time saver!), be sure to focus on the tips and run the brush along the edges to help seal off the color.
5. Avoid fans.
It's easy to want to blast your nails with air to dry, but nail polish isn't like your hair. Actually, fans are a great way cause smudges. Invest in a quick-dry product like OPI Treatment & Finish RapiDry Spray Nail Polish Dryer, or check out these other tips for fast drying nails.
6. Skip the polish.
Yep, there's still a way to have great looking nails without going the fire engine red route. Taking good care of your nails and hands in general is a great way to look polished - without the literal polish.
Keep cuticles soft and in check with moisturizing treatments such as Cuccio Pomegranate & Fig Conditioning Stick, and treat hands to rich treatments like OPI Avoplex High-Intensity Hand and Nail Cream, OPI Avojuice products or a CND lotion. Exfoliation - try OPI Papaya Pineapple Scrub - is also key to take care of calluses or rid the leftover winter dry skin.
A nail strengthener like Morgan Taylor Go Ahead and Grow Base Coat will keep nails in tip top shape even if you don't apply color. Prior to polishing, use your trusty file to work away snags and a buffer to get rid of ridges and produce a natural shine on nails. We love CND's Glossing Buffer, which comes in a 4 pack to share (or keep to yourself - we won't tell).
Whether you take the bright color route or opt for all natural nails (with a little help), the important thing is showing them a little love in some form so you can put your best hands forward.