So a few weeks ago, I decided to open my big mouth and mention that I have a my own little method that can make an at-home manicure last for about 10 days. At your (and Emily’s) request, I am happily sharing my secret in hopes of long lasting manicures for everyone.
But, as soon as the article was assigned, I had one of those “What have I done?” moments. I thought, now that I had to actually prove that I could pull off a 10-day at-home manicure, I had doomed myself. There was no way that it would actually work out. Was it even true to begin with? Or had I just fabricated it in my head all along? Do I even paint my nails?
Yea, I paint my nails.
Well guys, I lied. My manicure didn’t last for 10 days.
It lasted for 14.
As much as I’d like you all to think that I am some mythical creature that can just get things like this right on the first go, remember, I’ve ACTUALLY tried everything (see above), so there’s no reason I shouldn’t have all the answers by now. I may not be able to tell you how to file your taxes or even how to correctly tie your shoes (FACT) but I can tell you how to make your manicure last.
The two weeks I had this manicure were weeks like any other, full of a lot of wear and tear on my hands and nails, so I can assure you this really did last a full 14 days.
Here was the fresh set two weeks ago.
Now here's how I did it.
To start, file your nails into the desired shape, and make sure they’re not long enough that they’re going to bug you in two weeks time. I left mine just a bit longer than I would have normally, to make sure that they were exposed to realistic wear. I also buffed them a bit to make sure they were even and smooth, which I don’t do often, but they were looking a little crazy.
STEP ONE: Butter London Horse Power Nail Fertilizer, $19.
This can be used as a base coat, and I use it under another base coat because it is great to strengthen nails. This step isn't totally necessary to extend the life of the manicure, but I figure if I’m going to have the same polish on my nails for so long, I might as well put down a base of something nourishing. They also say to use it every day which I do not, but it definitely has helped strengthen my nails even without daily use.
I bought it because Marianne swears by it, and she clearly seems to have her life together more than I do so I’ll do anything she tells me to. Plus, have you seen her nails? They’re like the fastest growing nails I’ve ever seen.
STEP TWO: Next, I use another base coat, the base from Butter London’s Patent Gel Top & Tails set, $40.
Use that as normal -- it sets up quickly so you’re not going to be waiting 20 minutes for your two base coats to dry. I’m not trying to keep you here all day.
STEP THREE: Polish as normal, using whatever. I used Floss Gloss because like, why would I use anything else.
I used 95% Angel, $8, from the fall 2014 “Lifestyles of the Floss and Gloss” collection. It’s the perfect periwinkle, giving me Nelly circa 2002's “Air Force Ones” era, while visions of Baby Phat dance in my head.
Though it’s opaque in two coats, my advice for this or whatever polish you’re using is to go for three thin coats. Even if you get full coverage in two coats, which you will, hit it with a third just to be safe. I’ll tell you why in a sec.
STEP FOUR: Now that you’re all painted up, use the topcoat from Butter London’s Patent Gel Top & Tails set to top it off.
I’ve used every base and topcoat system that promises gel-like stay power, and this is the only one that is worth spending your money on.
The reason I told you to do three coats is because the topcoat is a little thicker than normal, but not sticky or stringy, like some of them tend to get after a while. When I’ve done only two coats, the topcoat will sometimes pull the polish at the top of my nail, leaving a sheer little oval at the top. It doesn’t happen all the time, depending on the brand or color or polish I used, but it never happens when I do a third coat. So do that.
STEP FIVE: Just like we used to base coats, we’re going to use two topcoats.
The Butter topcoat is great on its own, but it stays a tacky and dentable a little longer than I’d like (especially when I use it and then immediately plunge my hand into a bag of Doritos…) I sealed it off with Seche Vite, $9.95, which hardened everything down, and also gave the entire manicure more durability.
And BAM, you’re done! The whole process only takes minutes more than your normal manicure, and will last much longer -- two weeks, in fact.
Here are my nails after two whole weeks of wear:
What do you guys think? What do you do to extend the wear of your polish? Share your secrets in the comments BECAUSE I SHARED MINE. Feel free to tell me any other secrets too.
Tynan’s nails aren’t chipped on Twitter @TynanBuck.