You may have noticed that my nails are almost always polished. Usually with a bold blue, turquoise or orange (love those colours). 
I generally redo them each week, but did you know I can get three weeks out of my manicures? 
Yup, you did read that right…3 weeks. I bet you don’t believe me! 
That doesn’t mean that I never do any gardening (we have an acre of garden so no slacking there) and I’m a dab hand at DIY from felt roofing repairs to decorating, rendering, plastering to name a few and I struggle to do household chores wearing protective gloves! 
So, what’s my secret?...........Good preparation and a little care. Here are some of my top tips for keeping your nail polish looking great for more than a couple of days. 
Good Preparation 
Always remove all the old polish or gel prior to a fresh application. Sounds obvious I know but people often fail to remove all the old polish and just paint over any bits, but a good clean base is best for longevity. 
Once all old polish or gel has been properly removed file your nails into your preferred shape. Don’t use your nail file by sawing backwards and forwards. File in one direction only. 
Use a flexible nail file. Metal nail files don’t bend when you use them so the nail moves which can cause strain and damage to your nail. 
Make sure that your nails are free from oils and dust. Wipe over with a good nail polish remover will usually suffice. 
Apply one coat of suitable base coat and wait to dry. DO NOT SKIP THE BASE COAT. Base coats are vital and should always be used. There are a number of different base coats available, and you need to think about the condition of your nails. Currently I’m using Reward from Jessica. It’s for normal and healthy nails. If I, for some reason don’t get round to painting my nails, I will at the very least have a coat of base coat on. A base coat has a number of functions but the main 2 are to stop strong, bright colours staining your natural nails and to feed and improve the condition of your nails. A good base coat only takes a couple of minutes to dry. (I just did mine before I began typing this.) 
Apply 2 coats of nail polish, waiting to dry in between each coat. Most polishes require 2 coats to get a good even coat of colour. Stronger, bright colours almost certainly look rubbish with only one coat. The depth of colour isn’t achieved as intended, so 2 coats it is. No skimping! Leave time between applying each coat. Your 2nd coat of colour can be applied when your nails are “touch dry”. 
Finishing Touches 
Once you are happy with the colour application and it is “touch dry” you can go on to apply 1 coat of topcoat. Again, DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP. The topcoat acts as a seal to the colour polish adds a shine. My go-to product is Brilliance by Jessica. It gives a strong gloss finish. 
Drip some “Quick Dry” onto your nails and apply cuticle oil and hand cream. Now be careful. Your nails may be “touch dry” but they will not be totally dry and hard for a few hours, so take care. 
After a couple of days apply another topcoat over your manicure. This is a vital step if you want your manicure to last. The topcoat adds a strong layer of protection, particularly on the edges of your nails where they are prone to chipping. The topcoat will also make your nails shine again like they did when you first did them. Add another topcoat on every few of days to keep this additional protection. This is the key to longevity. Apply cuticle oil and hand cream on a regular basis. 
Care of your polishes 
I have a collection of over 300 nail polishes. Some I have had since I first opened my salon over 23 years ago. They haven’t gone thick and are as good as new. I keep them in good order by following a few steps. 
Always keep the neck of your bottles clean. When old polish dries on the neck of the bottle it means that the lid doesn’t fit as tightly, and air gets into the polish making it go thicker over time. When you’ve finished your manicure, carefully wipe the neck of the bottle with a little nail polish remover on a pad. This will ensure a good seal when you close the bottle and prevent your polish from thickening. 
Never shake a bottle of polish unless it tells you to do so. Shaking the bottle can cause air bubbles and this can cause your polish to thicken. Some polishes do suggest that you shake them before use. These are usually ones which have bits of glitter in them, so shaking them will disperse the glitter evenly. Remember to wipe the neck of the bottles to avoid a build-up which causes thickening. 
Keep your nail polish bottles out of direct sunlight and extreme heat. 
Do not thin nail polishes with nail varnish remover, it will thin the polish but it’s just diluting it so the colour will be affected. Instead add a drop or 2 of your base coat (providing it is the same brand as the polish. I only use Jessica or Mii polishes for the quality!) 
So now do you believe me? Follow these tips and advice and let me know in comments below how long your manicure lasts. 
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