My Tried and True Nail Routine

For literal years, a long-lasting, at-home manicure (or pedicure) seemed to elude me. I would spent 30 minutes polishing one evening, just to wake up in the morning to a chip or smudge. It was annoying, on a this-doesn’t-really-impact-my-life sort of way. After trying many different brands, methods, and tricks, I’ve finally found a way for my manicure to last at least three solid days without a chip! 
I love going to a nail salon for a no-chip manicure, especially if I have events or a lot of travel and don’t want to have to deal with nail polish, but it’s not realistic for me to go to the salon every week for a new color. So, I use this combination of products every time I polish and it works really well for me. 
The only two brands of polish that last more than a day on my fingernails are OPI and CND Vinylux. I can use Essie on my toes, but it’s a waste of time to try it on my fingernails. Which, by the way, is also obnoxious because Essie has the best colors!

I start by buffing my nails, to rough them up a little bit and remove the natural oils, so that the polish can “stick” a little better. I use Essie’s All In One Base Coat, which is a tried and true base for me. I follow that with 2 (or 3, depending on the sheerness!) coats of my color of choice. Then top it with CND Vinylux Weekly Top Coat, which is what dreams are made of. I use this top coat with any other brand of polish, not just CND. It adds a nice thick top coat that really protects the polish and creates the illusion of a no-chip from a salon. 
When I’m doing my toes, I follow the same routine, except I usually use an Essie color. I’ve been loving this off-white color all Summer. My toes can last about 2 weeks without any nicks with this combination of base, color, and top coat. 


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  1. I need to try that top coat.. I've totally stopped painting my nails because I hate spending all that time just to have a chip the next day! 🙁

    Posted 9.1.16 Reply
  2. Melanie wrote:

    Have you ever tried Zoya brand polish? They have it in some salons, but it is the only one that lasts for me. If i do a full base coat, polish, top coat (using their base/top) my nails easily last a week without a chip. They have pretty awesome online sales every once in a while where you can get a few free polishes and just pay shipping. Just something to look out for 🙂

    Posted 9.1.16 Reply
    • I have tried just about every brand and these are the only ones that really work for me!

      Posted 9.2.16 Reply
  3. I've found that different shades of the same brands doesn't last the same, I have an essie polish in Smokin'hot that lasts only a couple of days, but essie in style cartel lasts almost a week, so I think that the lasting power depends on the pigments of each shade.
    I have the vinylux top coat, but I've never used it with other brands of polish, I will give it a try. Have a nice day!

    Posted 9.1.16 Reply
    • It definitely does. The formula of the different brands makes a big difference, too!

      Posted 9.2.16 Reply
  4. Lauren wrote:

    I want to see these colors on you! They aren't colors I would normally be drawn to but I'm curious!

    Posted 9.2.16 Reply
  5. Have you tried Essie's new gel color and topcoat? My manicure lasted TWO WEEKS!!!! And that's with two full weeks of washing bottles by hand 😉 I never used to paint my nails because they would chip the next day! It's seriously amazing. Also, their gel topcoat (not the one that has to go with the specific polish colors–just gel topcoat by itself) over any polish makes my pedicures last at least two, closer to three weeks. Crazy.
    Libby 🙂

    Posted 9.3.16 Reply
  6. Fun post! I tried ordering the CND topcoat using the link above but have had some trouble- hoping my order will arrive soon! Thanks for the tip on a good, affordable topcoat!

    Posted 9.28.16 Reply
  7. How long do you let the Polish dry between coats? And how long at the end? It always seems to take mine forever to dry!

    Posted 10.19.16 Reply
  8. How long do you let the Polish dry between coats? And how long at the end? It always seems to take mine forever to dry!

    Posted 10.19.16 Reply

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