How to Prevent Nail Varnish from Chipping

I’m by no means an expert in nails – I’ve just about got the hang of a good French Manicure and the most dramatic thing I ever do is a sweep of red nail polish!  I look on with sheer awe at nail artistes such as Maryam from  Zama Nail Art who can transform their talons into veritable works of art.  Speaking of whom…the talented Maryam got in touch with me through my Facebook page recently to see whether I might know of any magic cures to prevent nail varnish from chipping.  Sadly, I don’t have any magic cure that will totally prevent chips but I have picked up a few tips from industry experts in my travels which may help you to prolong your nailwork.

Prepare your nails

Gently remove any ridges on the surface of the nails with a nail buffer / buffing block.  File the tips to a smooth finish.  Wash nails thoroughly to remove any dust.

Apply a base coat

Apply a clear base coat to your nails.  This will; (a) provide a grip for the coloured polish, and (b) prevent the nails from becoming stained by coloured varnishes.  I like ‘Goodbye Yellow’ by Barbara Daly for Tesco.

Apply your colour

Apply two thin coats of colour for an opaque finish. Avoid thick coats which take longer to dry and tend to chip easily.   Do each coat in 3 even vertical strokes – one down the centre and one on either side.    Avoid half-strokes, twisting the brush etc.  Wait until the first coat is dry before applying the second.  Avoid touching the cuticle or the sides of the finger with the brush and ensure that you drag the brush over the tip.  I like Rimmel, OPI, Revlon and Chanel colours.  Tidy up any mistakes with a small cotton bud dipped in nail varnish remover.

Apply a top coat

Seal your work with a quick-drying top-coat such as Sally Hensen’s Insta-Dri Top Coat or Seche Vite.  This will help to prolong the paintwork and protect the polish from chipping.  Remember, while your nail varnish will be touch-dry in a few minutes, it will take 2 hours for it to set properly so be extremely careful in the meantime. Once your nails are dry, be sure to avoid tasks that could potentially weaken or chip your manicure e.g. cleaning, gardening.  Protect your nails when doing the dishes, for example.

Storage & preservation of your nail polishes

Store your nail varnish bottles upright, at room temperature and out of direct sunlight.  If you notice that the varnish is separating, don’t shake the bottle vigorously; instead, swill the bottle in a circular motion and the gently turn it upside down a couple of times.  If the product has become thick and gloopy, mix in a couple of drops of nail varnish thinner (NOT nail varnish remover) such as Seche Restore.  Discard your nail varnishes after 2 years.

Products I use


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