If I’m going to put so much effort into creating cool nail art, how can I guarantee it won’t chip away the very next day?
Fixing nail polish that’s chipped already and preventing it from happening from the start are two totally different dilemmas. Investing your time in detailed handiwork validates the placement of a security blanket—that is, a good quality base coat and top coat. But not all protective layers are created equal, and some are more useful in particular instances. Instead of a 2-in-1 solution, look for separate formulas with two specific solutions: a base that will hold on to your polish for a long time and a top coat that’s protective and won’t cause shrinkage in your polish (shrinkage being when polish seems to “pull” back from the tip of your nail after a day or two—quick-dry formulas are the biggest offenders of this!). Orly Bonder Rubberized Polish Gripping base coat ($5, orlybeauty.com) dries with a rubber-y finish that adheres to your first coat of polish without damaging the nail beneath. It also doesn’t contain DBP, formaldehyde, or toluene in its formula. A cult classic top coat for nail enthusiasts is Seche Vite Dry Fast top coat ($8, sallybeauty.com), which has a thicker-than-average formula and is best applied when polish is still slightly wet. To really extend the life of your manicure, apply a coat of Seche Vite every day—its shiny finish will flatter your artful digits like a luxe frame does the Mona Lisa!
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