So, you’re finally going on that long-awaited summer vacation. Naturally, you decide to get your nails done beforehand, so they’re in top shape for the trip. Polished vacation photos demand polished and flawless nails, after all.
However, if you’re like me, you may be feeling anxious as to whether or not these nails can go the distance. ‘Will they last until the end of my vacation’? ‘Do I need to bring back up gel nail polish in the event of chipping, or god forbid, will I have to spend precious vacation time redoing my whole manicure’? These are dilemmas you’re likely brooding over long before and even throughout your trip, painstakingly and carefully going about your daily activities for fear of chipping your nails.
If this sounds like you, then fear not. I have some expert strategies to share that will help you extend the longevity of your manicure through the end of your trip and beyond.
1. Use base coat and top coat the right way
Keep reading, and I’ll reveal the simple secret to an enduring mani: proper use of a base coat and topcoat.
The base coat is one step that most people skip altogether, ultimately sacrificing the durability of their manicure. The base coat is the sticky, grippy layer of clear polish that serves as a primer underneath the colored polish. Use a strong base coat to extend the lifespan of your mani by at least a couple of days.
Most people mistakenly believe that a top coat is a one-and-done nail treatment. However, to get the most out of your clear polish, including its protective and anti-chipping qualities, you must reapply every 2-3 days. As a bonus, file gently around the edges before reapplying the new coat, which will help it adhere much better.
Lastly, choosing the perfect formula is crucial. Pick one with strengthening, anti-chipping, and moisturizing properties, as this will keep your mani sturdy and sleek.
2. Opt for a short, rounded style
Although I love long, witchy coffin-shaped nails just like anyone, a shorter style is your best bet for an extended vacation. I recommend saving the long, influencer-inspired nails for a less risky week when your favorite nail tech is only a few blocks and a phone call away.
According to the nail experts at Byrdie, keeping your nails shorter will also keep them from snagging and breaking. Even better, round the tops slightly with a file reducing your chances of a snag. Unlike rounded nails, other popular shapes have corners, and sharp corners are likely to snag on towels, clothing, bedding, and more.
3. Fix all chips immediately
Although it may be tempting to ignore a chip, or even worse, pick at it, I recommend repairing that chip or hangnail pronto. If left to its own devices, the chip may spread and even eventually peel off the rest of that fingernail’s mani (the horror!).
To remedy a chip or hangnail, I advise keeping a nail file and a bottle of topcoat on you at all times. In case of a hangnail, file it down and then apply a top coat to keep everything secure. The same goes for a chip. You can reapply the colored polish later as a spot treatment.
4. Moisture is key
If you’re not obsessively applying cuticle oil and lotion every hour, are you even protecting your manicure?
Moisture is an underrated tip that most people miss. When you are under moisturizing, your nails run the risk of showing wear and tear. This is especially true if you wash your hands frequently, which has an incredibly drying effect on the entire hand, including nails and cuticles.
Extend the longevity of your mani by adding cuticle oil and hand cream to your morning and nightly routines.
5. Try Gel Polish
When all else fails, try gel polish! If your vacation is longer than a few days, you may want to give this a try anyway.
Gel nails are the Holy Grail of semi-permanent manicures and pedicures. If you don’t pick at them, they are nearly indestructible for two weeks. At the longest, gel nails last up to four weeks. Although this option is a bit pricier than doing your own or even getting nail polish at the salon, the longevity is worth the price. As a bonus, gel nails appear glossier for longer.
However, the above tips still apply to you if you choose to go this route. Importantly, if things start to get a little bit rocky with your gel mani, you can also still apply a thin top coat polish to keep everything in place. If your nail chips, ‘glue’ the chip down with some topcoat. Finally, keep them short and round and moisturize routinely.
Now you can ditch your vacation manicure anxiety. No longer do you have to fret about chipping, tearing, cracking, and peeling polish while on a beach that is far, far away from your favorite salon back at home. With these tips, your vacation mani will be infallible. Your nails should always look as fresh as the day you first got them done. Oh, and feel free to show off that flawless manicure in your vacation photos.