I love freshly manicured nails but I hate the time process to getting them that way! Finding an hour or so where I can do nothing but paint my nails is difficult enough. Then there’s the applying the polish itself. Painting my left hand isn’t so bad, with almost perfect precision but my right is like I painted it blind. It’s kind of like a bipolar love affair and because of this, it tends to happen less and less often. If I wasn’t saving and had a better-paid job, I’d probably pay to get them manicured but alas that ship isn’t about to set sail anytime soon. However, in an attempt to have perfectly manicured nails all the time, I’ve spent the last 18months or so testing out tonnes of different products to find a team that will keep my nails looking beautiful for longer! When I do find time to paint them that is.
And, I think I’ve finally found it…
Hand Cream // Handy Gurugu, Lush
A step I pretty much always forget. Keeping both your hands and nails moisturised is key to ensuring your nails look healthy. Healthy nails mean longer lasting nail polish! I have tried tonnes of hand creams but none have ever compared to ‘Handy Gurugu’ from Lush.
I’m picky with hand moisturisers because I don’t want anything that I can feel on my hands, lotions which don’t soak in fast are a nightmare. You’re forever sitting there, trying not to touch anything until, hours later, it’s all gone. That’s ok if you have the time to just sit and do nothing, but I get bored easy! This cream from lush is so, so thick, it moisturises my hands beautifully but – surprisingly for such a rich cream – doesn’t linger on the surface of the skin. It’s gone in 30 secs and my hands feel so soft and hydrated.
If you can get into a routine of moisturising your hands daily, then perfect but never moisturise before you paint your nails. Your lotion will leave a layer of film on your nails making it hard for the polish to adhere.
File and Buff // The 6 Way Nail File
This one is pretty self-explanatory but it took me a few years to realise it’s importance. I picked up a similar one to this Champneys one in Boots, it has 4 sides with 6 different file intensities so you can really get in and smooth down the surface of your nails. Trim your nails first then go in with the file to shape them the way you’d like. After that use the fine side to smooth out any harsh edges.
I’ve found when I skip this step, my nail break easier. It’s like a rough piece of wood that’s easier to catch on your clothes!
Prime and Treatment // First Base, Essie
A nail primer – like the ones you use before you apply your makeup in the morning – helps to prep your nails and make the environment in which you apply your polish to is the best it can be for long lasting colour. I haven’t really noticed much of a difference between results from alternate nail care primers so anyone you have is fine. I like using nourishing or hardening treatments the most as my nails can dry out fast and flake if I hit my fingers a little.
Nail Polish // Essie & Barry M
I have tried so many brands of Nail Polish that my bank hurts a little. But I’ve finally found two brands that I think come trumps at durability and longevity. And bonus, they’re both drugstore! The first is one I talk about all the time! The Barry M ‘Daylight Curing’ range is the best at longer lasting, no chip polish. You’re looking at £4.99 for a pot but for maximum durability you’ll need to buy the top coat too, also £4.99.
Up next is Essie, at £7.99 it’s cheaper than the Barry M set and the colour range is like no other I’ve seen. They both go on smoothly and last little a week before the chipping gets real noticeable.
Top Coat // Formula X
A good top coat is where I’m willing to spend the extra dollar, you can get a good range of colours anywhere but a good, long lasting, knock proof top coat is where you’re going to get the most out of your money. I picked up the Formula X version back in February of last year and haven’t been as impressed since. It applies evenly, dries quick and honestly adds a good 3 – 4 days to your nail art life. The name kind of reminds me of the Power Puff Girls too and although it doesn’t turn my nails into cute pre-teen super hero’s, it is as if it applies a force field around them.
It was always going to come down to this. If you are treating your body nicely it treats you nicely back. I talked about the importance of water in your diet in The Haircare Diet and my Beauty Regime posts and your nails are no different. The more water you have in your diet the stronger your nails are. Simple.
And that’s that. Pretty simple, and ‘on a budget’ friendly. Have you got any tips and tricks to increasing the longevity of you nail polish? This routine works pretty well for me but I’m always on the look out for new things to try.