How to make your nail polish last and not chip

I have long been a lover of nail polish.

The thing that always frustrated me is chipped nails. So much so that I actually keep nail polish remover in my drawer at work (next to my punch and stapler!) so I can fix my nails immediately.

One day I was at Clicks and happened to see a new nail polish range. I happened to say to the sales assistant, “does this stuff work or does it chip too?”

And she said, “well, any nail polish works better if you use a top coat“.

This was news to me but I bought a bottle and used it together with my new polish and it worked very well.

Since then (a good 2 years or so), I’ve always used a top coat and in so doing, perfected a method that works really well.

How to make nail polish last |

  • Base coat
  • 2 coats of colour
  • Top coat

My favourite nail colour range is Rimmel Salon Pro Lycra followed closely by Essence (not Essie). If you have no patience to let the coats dry, many brands have quick-dry polish (I don’t like the smell of those but you’re welcome to try). Alternatively, Essence makes quick dry drops which I use for Kendra (my 6-year-old)’s nails.

I’ve used all sorts of base coats – it doesn’t seem to matter which one you use – I’m currently using the Essence one.

How to make nail polish last |

However, my absolute favourite top coat is Sally Hansen Mega Shine Top Coat. This was R99 and was completely worth it for me (I don’t normally splurge on this kind of thing) as your nails are then indeed chip-proof and super shiny.

The longest I’ve kept a nail colour has been 7 days. That was only due to my own personal boredom threshold and doesn’t mean the polish chipped or anything like that. Apparently it should last for about 10 days if you can manage to stare at the same colour on your nails that long 🙂

My bottle of top coat is nearly done so I went to replace it. I couldn’t find the exact one so I bought Sally Hansen’s Big Shiny Top Coat…. and a few weeks later, the Essence one. The top coats seem to go thick about half way through the bottle – I squirt a few drops of nail polish remover into the bottle, shake it up and it’s good again.

How to make nail polish last |

This is the colour of the year for Essence and is called My Love Diary. It is a beautiful colour!

That, right there, are all my nail polish tricks 🙂

Tell me your favourite tricks. What works for you? Which are your favourite brands? And how long can you keep a colour before you get bored?

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  1. Ha!!! No wonder my nail polish doesn’t last!!!! I rarely use a top coat and use a base coat 90% of the time. Plus I’m very impatient and never have the time to sit waiting around for polish to dry between coats. Will definitely put this Into practice and I shall report back. I even paint it at work so I can type while it dries, just so I’m not sitting idle waiting for paint to dry! I don’t exactly have a favourite nail polish but a few that I’ve tried that I really like are sinful colours (I found them while looking for my favourite shade of cherry red from Rev.lon), Almay one coat, which is really a one coat polish, if you use more than one it looks awful. A quick dry Maybelline I got last year. I think I should invest in one of those quick dry things

    • Ps: considering my impatience i never get the chance to get bored before it chips

    • Marcia Francois says

      See Julia’s comment

      Same process as mine 🙂

      I’ve even learnt about a new product.

      But seriously, try a base and definitely a top coat – your (nail) life will be changed 😉

  2. My process is identical to yours. My favourites are Wet & Wild and Rimmel. If there’s a sale, then I will buy Revlon and even OPI. Last weekend I treated myself to Mavala at the Clicks buy-3-pay-for-2 sale.
    I do nails on a Sunday (also base coat, colour, colour, topcoat) and then by the Thursday/Friday I am bored. I remove on a Friday night and then prep my nails for the Sunday paint. I file, buff, exfoliate, moisturise and put treatment stuff from Essie on it. Unless, I am going out, then I will make sure it;s done for the Saturday. I use Rimmel’s Nail Nurse. It’s about R60 and can be used as a base and a top coat. I got gifted a Rimmel set last year with base coat and the treatment stuff. I LOVE them. I use Sally Hansen’s cuticle cream that I keep it at my desk and apply sporadically. I have been looking for a good quick-dry product but I keep forgetting. One week out of the month, usually the week before pay day I have bare nails. Then I go to the shops, apply different colours to each nail, make a note of the colours and I keep it on for the day just to see what it will look like in normal light. I have wasted too much money buying colours that don’t look good on me. I do like to use colour based on whatever I’m reading in the bible! Last week (Easter) I wore gold, because to me that symbolises royalty and resurrection. During Lent, I wore purple and grey. This week’s preach was on God’s mercy. According to google, the colour that represents the mercy of God is blue! Not sure which shade of blue exactly but anyway. Mavala Denim is happening!

    • Marcia Francois says

      OH MY WORD, what a fun process 🙂 🙂

      And I did not know that Nail Nurse could be used as a base and top coat. I will get some next time I’m at Clicks.

      (am busy doing my nails right now while I blog)


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