About Your Manicure

Maintaining Your Manicure

Always treat your nails as if you've just had them polished. Instead of using your nails for the daily exercise of scraping, picking, pulling and opening, use the pads of your fingertips. Along with preventing splitting, chipping and breaking, this will make your hands look more elegant. When cleaning the house and doing the dishes, be sure to wear gloves; prolonged exposure to water can cause nail damage because it will dry out your skin and nails. Tips to prevent nail polish chipping: reapply the top coat regularly, even daily, and try to avoid using fast-drying polishes that don't last as long as regular nail polishes.

Five Ways to Make Your Manicure Last

1. Make sure you have a very clean nail plate before applying polish. The natural oils on your nail, lotion or a piece of cotton fiber will make the polish peel. I like to strip the nails by swabbing them with Sea Breeze or nail polish remover.

Always use a base coat and top coat. It's sometimes tempting to skip them if you're in a hurry. But remember, it's not worth it if your polish chips faster. The base coat acts as a foundation for your manicure, and the top coat is a protectant for your polish.

Let each coat dry for a couple of minutes before applying another. This allows the polish to set so the next layer adheres better.

Wear gloves whenever you do a job in water or dirt: dishes, cleaning, gardening.

Try not to use your nails as tools. Concentrate on using the pads of your fingers and not the tips of your fingers when you reach, grab, hold and type.

Pros and Cons of Quick Dries

Someone told me the quick-dry spray used after a manicure can dull the polish. Is that true? How else can I dry my nails quickly?

Quick-dry products are great when you need to run out the door, but there are some negatives: The quick-dry spray (which dries the top coat only) will dull the polish. If you use it, hold it several inches from your nail. (Using it too close to the nail may also dent the polish.)

Quick-dry oils work well, but donít use it for at least three minutes after you apply your top coat. If you apply it before the polish is dry to the touch, you will get a messy nail.

The best way to dry your nails fast is to us a UV light dryer, available in many salons. You must use it with a special top coat, however, and sometimes salons try to save money by using their regular top coat. The UV dryer will not dry your nails any faster than a regular dryer if you donít have the right top coat. Itís hard to tell what youíre getting, but know that the right top coat has a strong odor.

Gentle Nail Polish Removers

Try to buy nail polish removers that are gentle, but you have to use a lot of it to remove polish. Whatís the difference?

Acetone is by far the best solvent for fingernail polish. Just dab it on the cotton and it will wipe the polish off right away. But itís drying to the cuticles. Companies then introduced acetone-free removers, which are better for your skin, but take forever to remove polish. For the fastest removal, use acetone -- but use it carefully. Wrap cotton on the end of an orange wood stick, dip it in the remover then swab the polish off your nail, avoiding your cuticle area. This is especially important when you are using remover to remove oils from a clean nail bed, before applying polish. (Always clean your nail with remover before applying polish -- it will make your polish last longer!) You might want to check out a remover I developed for my line called The Stripper. Itís an acetone-based remover, but it contains aloe and lavender, which is easier on the cuticles.

Quick Office to Evening Nail Looks

To go from a day to an evening look, wear a sheer beige polish to the office. At the end of the day, add a strip of red (or white) across the tip, as in a duet or French manicure. These days, what is considered elegant for evening can also be worn easily at the office. Shades like gold and silver are great dual shades, as is a duet of hot orange and a subtle pink.

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