Pro Tip: The Key to a Chip-Free Manicure


Our friend Charlotte is not only a top financial PR strategist, fluent in Russian and Spanish, and generally awesome, but she is professionally trained manicurist to boot. Here are her tips for achieving a chip-free mani:

“Until I learnt from the professionals, I never managed to maintain a chip-free set of painted nails for more than two days.  Now, I paint my nails on a Sunday night, and they still look pretty much perfect by Friday (however my short attention span usually dictates a change in colour by at least Wednesday!). There are a number of forces at play which keep that colour stuck to your nail plate, the secrets of which I reveal below in 10 easy steps…

What you need:

  • A fine nail file
  • Cuticle remover (any pharmacy brand is fine)
  • Cuticle pusher
  • 3 or 4-sided nail buffer
  • Dehydration spray/liquid (OPI do a good one called Chip Skip, but anything called “Nail Prep” or “Nail Deydrator” is what you are looking for)
  • A good base coat (I love Seche Vite)
  • A good top coat (Ditto)
  • And a top quality nail polish (OPI, Mavala, Essie are all favourites of mine – in that order)
  • Wine

What you need to do:

  • Ensure your nail, and underneath it, is clean of all grubbiness – give your hands and nails a good scrub with a nail brush and some disinfectant soap before you begin.
  • File your nails into your desired shape.  To avoid breakages and flakiness, always file in the same direction, and use a fine (ie not too scratchy) nail file.
  • Next, dot a little bit of cuticle remover onto the base of the nail, leave on for 3 or 4 minutes, and then push back your cuticles and rub away at the skin which has grown onto the nail.  This skin is often invisible until you have applied the cuticle remover cream and actually start rubbing at the nail, and can grow far down the nail plate.  When you’re done, wipe off the cuticle remover and dry your nails with a tissue.
  • Gently buff the nail going down the grades from sandiest to smoothest (techy terms here!).  Don’t get too over excited or you’ll buff away too much of the nail – just until you’ve got a nice shine.
  • Give your hands another wash, making sure you get rid of all the flaky bits which have accumulated under and around the nail from the filing and buffing.  Dry your hands on a non-fluffy piece of something (ie not a towel – a piece of kitchen roll is good).
  • PAY ATTENTION PEOPLE! THE NEXT BIT IS KEY! Dehydrate the nail and do not touch those babies until you apply your base coat.  Dehydrating the nail is essential – the reason why nail polish chips is because there is moisture (or dust – hence why number 5 is so important!) on the nail plate, causing the product to lift off the nail.
  • Apply one layer of base coat – go right to the edges if you trust your nail painting skills.  If not, leave a small margin away from the skin.  This will also make your nails look longer and thinner.
  • Apply two coats of colour.  Apply the colour in the middle of the nail, and push back towards the cuticle.  This gives you more control and reduces the risk of blobbing nail polish onto the cuticle. ‘Cap’ the end of the nails with the colour polish – this again reduces the risk of chips.
  • Apply one layer of top coat – ‘cap’ the nail with this too.  If you’re using Seche Vite, you’ll be done, dusted and ready to get on with your day within a couple of minutes.  As ever, wear gloves when washing up or cleaning – or get someone else to do that stuff for you (preferred method).
  • Have a glass of wine to congratulate yourself on your beautiful nails, and send the All Dolled Up gals and me a picture!”
And there you have it! Go forth and paint, my lovelies. Thanks Charlotte! xxx
Follow Charlotte on Twitter @Jewelsnottools1

5 comments on Pro Tip: The Key to a Chip-Free Manicure

  • Tamsin

    I can hear Charlotte’s voice so clearly in this! I think All Dolled Up should sell JewelsNotTools-approved manicure kits…

    • Char

      Amen to that TamTam

  • Jo

    I can’t wait to give this a try, but how do I ‘cap’ the end of the nail??

    • Camilla (author)

      You brush the polish along the edge/tip of the nail. It can be a little messy if you aren’t well practiced, so keep some cotton buds and nail polish remover handy for clean ups xxx

  • Pingback: Review: OPI Chip Skip Nail Lacquer | All Dolled Up

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