One thing that has always irritated me was my inability to a) apply the perfect coat of nail varnish and b) how to stop it chipping within the hour. I’ve never been a fan of false nails and do have a good strong set of my own that grow well and rarely break. Applying nail varnish is not an activity I have previously deemed to be so important that I would dedicate a large amount of my precious time to, however I have learned that in order to get a good smudge free, lasting finish you have to have an hour out and do it properly, which lets face it, is not an entirely terrible thing if you’re a busy mum like me.
In the past, I’ve thrown on a coat of nail varnish, given it a drying deadline of 5 mins using which ever blowing methods were to hand – hairdryer, hand dryer (if hastily applying in the loo on a night out) or manual (warning – can lead to dizziness) and then been incredibly disappointed when in the next 10 minutes I have smudges and imprints on my nails and can spot hints of the nail colour on handbags, cups, in hair etc. This is not the way to do it!!
Following my finger frustrations I decided to test ways of applying nail varnish so I get a good finish that lasts a few days chip free. Here’s what I recommend.
STEP 1: Be Primed and Ready
After shaping your nails with a file apply a nail primer. This will help stop chipping and protect your nail from any damage while painting and removing nail varnish. Once the Nail Primer is completely dry move on to the next step.
STEP 2: Base is Brilliant!
I’d heard of applying base coats but never really bothered with it for some reason. However – this is essential to getting a good finish. Not only does it hold your nail varish to your nail, it helps protect your nail and allows for easy removal. Don’t be shy with the primer and base coat. I apply all over the nail as they are both clear and you want to make sure you have a full coverage for when you apply the colour. Allow to completely dry before applying your varnish.
STEP 3: The Colour
Once the base coat is dry apply a first coat of colour, Different nail varnishes will give you different finishes. In my experience, the cheaper brands can go on uneven and will require more coats. I love a glossy even coverage and recently bought this gorgeously sassy red ‘Le Smoking’ Estée Lauder Pure Color Nail Lacquer. It glides on easily and has a super glossy finish. Once the first coat has dried apply a second and if needed a third allowing each coat to dry in between.
STEP 4: Top It Off
Ensuring that the nail varnish has completely dried apply a top coat. This will seal and harden the nail varnish and give it extra shine.
I bought a great little kit by Orly from Boots for £13 which has a primer, basecoat and topcoat all in one. The Mani Mini Treatment Trio is super handy and saves you money as you don’t have to buy all three separately.
STEP 5: Chill Out
Put your nails in a bowl of freezing cold water for as long as you can stand. This also helps harden the varnish and will make it last even longer.
In my experience, applying your nail varnish this way gives you up to 5 days of perfect nails. It does of course depend on what your hands get up to on a daily basis but this method will help you get the most out of the hour you take to paint your nails.