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How do I extend the life of nail polish on my nails?

When I apply nail polish I usually start by cleaning my nails and applying Opi Chip Skim then put on a base coat like CND sticky then put on my 2-3 coats of color and top off with a top coat, usually Seche Vite. Then usually within 24 hours the polish magically lifts off my nails like a snakeskin does to a snake and leaves a perfect little nail polish copy of my nail on my pillow or on the floor or in my pocket. The nail polish just chips completely off in one piece.

This doesn't change regardless of what product changes I make. If I use a different base coat, or a different brand of nail polish, or just 1 coat of nail polish or no top coat or a different top coat.  No matter what I do I always get the polish to just lift off my nail.

What causes this and what can I change/add/remove in my routine to make my polish last more like 3 days? (I read the tips to stronger nails, and I'm good on all those things)

Thanks in advance!

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8 Replies

2 years, 2 months ago
Re: How do I extend the life of nail polish on my nails?

While buffing works for many people, if you have thin nails it can permanently damage your nails. Be very careful when you do this. Several issues could be going on here. 1) Make sure to swipe your nails with a bit of nail polish remover before applying your base coat as any moisture can affect the wear of your polish. 2) Body chemistry could be an issue. Different polishes simply wear better on different people. Try experimenting with different base coats. Also, the nail polish you are using might not work well for you. For example, China Glaze and OPI wear really well on me, but Zoya doesn't last on me at all. 3) Limit your nail exposure to water. If washing dishes, use gloves. After washing hands be sure to pat dry thoroughly. 4) Your top coat could be part of the culprit. Some top coats do not play well with others. You should also reapply your top coat daily to extend the life of your polish.

2 years, 2 months ago
Re: How do I extend the life of nail polish on my nails?

I like to use a finely gritted (like 200 or 240 grit) file or buffing block to quickly go over my nails right before I put on the base coat. This creats a finely textured surface which grips my polish longer. You don't want to have perfectly smooth nails or else the polish will chip off in one piece. I've gone through what you're going through and this method has helped me a lot! 

2 years, 1 month ago
RE: Extending Life of Nail Polish

First of all, listen to Volta   She gives pretty much the same advice as I would!  I would add 1 tip that has worked wonders for me.  When you apply your base coat, the first step should start with the tips.  Take your polish brush and wipe most of the product off (in the bottle) and apply a light coat horizontally over your tip only; overlapping the front of tip.  Being as our polish usually lifts from the tips, this works to avoid that!  I do this to every nail, let it dry, and then finish base coating and finish polishing as normal  I also put a fresh layer of top coat on my nails every 2 to 3 days to keep the shine and protect my polish.

I hope this helps!

2 years, 2 months ago
Thanks Volta

I'll give that a shot next time :)

2 years, 2 months ago
Nail Polish life

I use Butter London, and take it to my manicurist. I purchased it at Ulta. It is pricey, but worth it.

2 years, 2 months ago
long-wear nail polish tips

I agree! Butter London polish lasts the longest on my nails. Especially when used with their base & top coat. It is free of the nasty chemicals that are in most polishes, yet manages to last 5-10 days depending on my activities. It won't ruin your nails like shellac/gel polishes. I make jewelry, and never used to do my nails because the polish came off the first day. But Butter lasts through it all.

I also recommend swiping your nails with a little nail polish remover, or rubbing alcohol before painting them. This removes any oils on your nails, allowing the polish to adhere better.

2 years, 2 months ago
Nail Polish - Tips

I agree with and have used all of the above tips.  I lightly buff with a fine grit buffer my nails before painting them and have used both nail polish remover and rubbing alcohol to wipe them off with first.  I have seen (and fell in love with ) a few of the Butter nail polish colors but couldn't justify the additional expense, I'm splurging when I spring for OPI, but I'll try it after reading these comments. 

The only thing I disagree with is the comment that gel/shellac manicures ruin your nails in any way.  It works great for my nails and I've had acrylics, tips etc... before but just got tired of them and also I don't care about the length, I just like for the polish to stick and it does with gel nails.  What I do if I get a gel manicure is a I get a light color and wear that for awhile until they start to grow out a little bit, I'll buff them where they have started growing out so there isn't such a line of demarcation between the gel and my natural nails, then I can paint them any color I want (too dark and you can't paint a different color over the top without it showing through) and it will still last a really long time.  If you've ever noticed, it's usually the tips of your nails that will chip first, so the part down near your cuticle where the gels have grown out still holds the polish as well as the rest of the nail that has the gel on it.

2 years, 2 months ago
Very helpful discussion!

My manicure routine is nearly identical to that of the original poster, slagoon, and although I usually get more than 24 hours' worth of wear out of my manicures, I often find that the polish lifts off at the edges of my nails and the layers can then be peeled off in a solid piece. I appreciate all the suggestions and will be trying Butter London's products. Thanks to everyone who offered their advice! :)

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