Base Coat – wait – Polish – wait – Top Coat – wait…Is it worth the trouble?

We’ve all been there. You’ve been getting ready for the big event all day. With only an hour to go before you leave, you start your makeup routine. As you look in the mirror, you shriek at the sight of your chipped, week old polish that is on your fingertips. Ahhh! What do you do? There’s not enough time to do your nails properly.

You grab the acetone polish remover, remove the hideous looking chipped polish, finish getting ready and slap a coat of red polish. You are seen waving your hands as you run out the door, drying them on the go. Easy-peasy, a one-step manicure in less than 5 minutes. Disaster averted.

Although you can get away with last minute nail emergencies once in a while, for long lasting healthy nails that look great, it is important to take the time and actually go through some additional steps, using a base coat and top coat when getting your polish fetish satisfied. If you want to forgo the salon and spend some quality time with your fingers and toes, follow these guidelines for an over-the-top gorgeous result.

Base Coat

Many forget this step, but applying a base coat can not only extend the time between manicures but also help to maintain nail health. Have you ever noticed that after applying that latest sexy hot red color to your nails, you notice that your nails have turned yellow underneath? That’s because your nails have absorbed the strong pigmentation and chemicals of the polish, staining them. A good quality base coat is made to prevent this from happening and also providing many other benefits.

The base coat formulation usually remains slightly flexible and sticky. This allows the nail to flex, improves adherence to the nail and provides a better surface for the polish to stick to. Some brands include cellulose and vitamins to also help the nail remain healthy. The better the polish sets onto the base coat, the better chip resistance you will have. Also, a smooth application of a good base cost will help to smooth out the natural lines and ridges your nails can develop as you age.

My favorite brand is OPI. They have an amazing Natural Nail Base Coat

Don’t rush it. Wait for the base coat to dry, otherwise the polish will seep into it and instead of an even yellowing of your nail, you could get a spotty staining of your nails. Be patient and wait until the base cost is dry to the touch before proceeding.

Nail Polish

This is the part everyone sees, the actual color. The darker and bolder the color, the more pigmented they are. If you opt for a darker color without a base coat, the chance of staining. Always opt for the more expensive brands if you can afford them. Although tempting, using cheap polishes will have you wishing you hadn’t bothered in the first place. The better quality polishes typically have a better formulation that goes on thinner and more even. Cheaper polishes go on thicker and take a longer time to dry. The better ones also usually come with a better brush, which will ultimately allow for a much better final product.

Be sure to shake the bottle for a minute or so, to ensure that it is consistent. Make sure the pea (the little stainless steel ball) moves around freely as you shake the bottle.

Don’t settle for one coat. If I want a really good job, I’ll put at least 2 thin coats on, most times 3. I allow the coats to dry for a couple of minutes. If you rush it, it will have a chance of clumping. Finally, allow the last coat to dry properly before proceeding to the top coat.

Right now, I’m totally digging OPI’s Infinite Shine series of polishes. Really love the finish they provide.

Top Coat

The Grand Finale. The top coat is what gives hardness, durability and shine to the polish. I will start with what you should not use. Do not use the base coat as your top coat, unles it is formulated and marketed that you can. You will not get a good finish. Also, clear nail polish is not a top coat. Clear nail polish is just that, a nail polish that is void of pigment.

A good top coat will dry faster than nail polish, and will provide a durable, hard protection layer to your nails.

I like to use 2 coats of top coat, as always, giving adequate time between coats for drying.

Again, i’m a sucker for OPI. Their Top Coat always gives me a great finish.

If, after you’ve given yourself a few manicures, you notice your top coat bottle is starting to look tinted (i.e. no longer crystal clear) or the tip of the brush is colored, then you ARE NOT waiting enough time for the polish to dry. Girl, do I need to say it again…be patient between coats.

That is it…yes, there are only 3 steps, but lots of coats and lots of waiting.

A beautiful manicure and pedicure says a lot about a person. It conveys sexiness, confidence and shows people that you take care of yourself. If you take the time, the end result will be spectacularly sexy and hot…just like you!

With love and Hugs.
V

photo by: waluntain

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