Chipped nails, though inevitable, can be the bane of our beauty existence. This is why we look for high-quality and long-lasting nail polishes, both in the salon and when DIY'ing a manicure at home. But, here’s the thing: Just because a bottle of nail polish is dubbed long-lasting on the label, doesn’t mean it’s actually going to last beyond a few days.
With this in mind, we tapped top nail experts to find out more about the lifespan of a manicure and how to prevent pesky manicure woes like peeling, plus their top picks for the best long-lasting nail polishes.
Why does my nail polish peel off?
Nail polish can peel due to a variety of reasons, says Rose Herr, the founder of Polished Mani, a manicure tracking app. “Not having a proper base or top coat and being especially rough on your hands and nails can all contribute,” she explains.
Additionally, how nails are prepped pre-polish is vital and can mean the difference between staying on and peeling off. Rachel Apfel Glass, the founder of GlossLab says preparation is key for preventing peeling nail polish. “Always make sure your nails are filed, buffed, and dried with an alcohol pad to eliminate any moisture in the nail for a smooth application that lasts,” she explains.
Do certain nail polish colors last longer than others?
As far as long-lasting nail polish is concerned, it’s typically more about formula than color. However, color is still important as some can show more wear than others. “A small chip on a super dark color is more noticeable than a large chip on a neutral one,” says Mazz Hanna, celebrity nail artist and the CEO of Nailing Hollywood. If you are prone to chipped nail polish, Hanna says to make sure you prep your nails properly before application, which includes removing any oily residue. “Wiping the nail with an alcohol pad before painting can help with chipping,” she explains.
Nail growth is another reason why some might prefer light-colored nail polish vs. dark-colored nail polish when it comes to longevity. “Dark and light colors last the same on the nail, but the benefit of doing a light-colored mani is that it hides the nail growth better than a darker shade,” says Glass. With that in mind, those with fast-growing nails might prefer lighter colors.
How to extend the life of a manicure
No matter how durable a long-lasting manicure formula may be, there are still some things you can do to support the longevity of your manicure. First, Herr says to wear gloves when washing dishes and to avoid using your nails as tools at all costs (that means no prying things open or using them to cut into boxes). “Topcoat is definitely crucial to helping your manicure last,” Herr adds, noting that reapplying a top coat every few days can help extend the life of your manicure.
Another way to support a longer-lasting manicure is to moisturize. While moisturizing beforehand is a no-no for application, once your manicure is finished and dried, Glass says hydrating with oils such as coconut oil throughout the week “actually prevents chipping and peeling.”
5 best long-lasting nail polishes
If you’re looking for a long-lasting nail polish that can last for two weeks and, if you care for your nails properly, sometimes even longer, Dazzle Dry is a fantastic pick. “It’s a proprietary, clean formula that was developed as a system to be quick-drying and long-lasting,” says Hanna. She loves this polish because it is applied like regular polish, can last as long as gel, but is removed like regular polish, too, making it a good choice for those looking to break up with gel nails. “It’s truly revolutionary and one of my favorite products,” Hanna adds.
With gel in the name, Sally Hansen Miracle Gel has a professional gel manicure effect but is actually regular polish. Hanna swears by it because it’s not only an accessible product—most drugstores and Amazon Prime carry it—but it’s also easy to apply and lasts up to 10 days. Not to mention: The brush covers the nail with ease for an even, salon-worthy application. “The pigments are also impressive, especially for a product at this price point,” Hanna adds.
This nail polish is another one inspired by gel manicures without the fuss of UV curation. “The brush makes application a breeze and the formula is super creamy and smooth,” says Hanna. She loves this line of long-lasting nail polish because it also has tons of amazing colors (though she gravitates toward the reds, noting that they are *chef’s kiss*).
“ORLY polishes adhere to the nail particularly well when used with their base and top coat,” Hanna notes. She swears by the brand’s rubberized Bonder Basecoat ($8) for prepping the nails for extra longevity. “It has a cult following and you’ll find it in nearly every celebrity manicurist’s kit,” she notes. The best thing about ORLY (aside from the long-lasting formulas) is that it pays particular attention to color and has a fun range of hues, including neons and one of the largest glitter lines Hanna has ever seen from a brand.
Even though it doesn’t have a gel-inspired formula, Hanna says Mineral Fusion is another nail polish brand that “is super clean and lasts for over a week with minimal chips, especially when used with their base and top coat.” Considering the quality, the brand also has an accessible price point and is easy to find at many natural food stores including Whole Foods. If you’re more drawn to nudes and neutrals, Hanna says this is the long-lasting nail polish brand for you.
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