The Secret To a Long Lasting At-Home Manicure

The Secret to a Long Lasting At-Home Manicure - How I Gave Myself a 9 Day Chip Free Manicure - After many years, I think I have perfected this process - Remaining Meg Blog

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UPDATE: I recently discovered that Sephora has DISCONTINUED my secret weapon, UGH! I will update you and this post when I find an adequate replacement!

How I Gave Myself a 9-Day Chip Free Manicure

I love getting professional manicures, who doesn’t enjoy getting pampered?! But if you’re like me and don’t have the time or money to get your nails did on a regular basis, you give yourself at-home manicures. Which I also love doing. It’s quiet “me” time that I reserve right before bed so that there is less of a chance of messing them up. I give myself manicures at least a few times a month, and after many years of practice, I think I have perfected this process. When I do my nails myself, my manicures usually last a good 6-8 days before I see any chipping. These results are better than some actual manicures I have had at salons. And no, I don’t use a gel light or gel polish, just regular polish and an amazing top coat! I’m also not easy on my nails, I spend my days chasing around a 2 year old tornado, doing dishes, changing diapers and all that other fun stuff.

Let’s Talk About the Basics

One of the most important steps to a professional looking at-home manicure is choosing a quality nail polish! I always stick with either OPI or Essie. For many years I thought OPI was the only way to go, I’ve decided that Essie is also worthy of my money, plus, Essie has amazing, trendy colors that I don’t always see with OPI. With beauty products in general, I’m ALL about quality over quantity. If you have old, thick polish at home, put that junk right where it belongs, in the trash! It will take forever to dry and then on top of that it will smudge, chip, and just look awful. Buy yourself some new polish before attempting a great manicure yourself.

The Real Secret

Formula X by Sephora Top Coat- My Go-to Top Coat! - Remaining Meg BlogYou can’t have a long lasting manicure without a great top coat!  This really is the key step here. A few years ago while shopping at Sephora (my happy place), I was in the market for a new top coat and really wanted to invest in something that was going to make my at-home manicures last. I was sick of trying crappy ones, and I knew that Sephora wouldn’t let me down. I discovered Formula X by Sephora. It retails for $10.50 at Sephora and is worth every penny. It’s also available through Amazon. I’ve tried tons of top coats over the years and none that did the trick. However, Seche Vite is pretty good too (also available through Amazon).

Here are the steps I follow when I give myself a manicure:

  • First, I start with the basic steps of filing and (sometimes) buffing (It usually depends on whether or not I can locate my buffing block as my mini me tends to steal all of my manicure tools)
  • I skip a base coat because I’m lazy and that’s just one too many steps for me
  • Before I start with my nail polish I always give my nails a quick swipe of nail polish remover (This was a tip I read about many years ago and it really seems to help keep nail polish from chipping)
  • Next, I start with my polish, always either OPI or Essie. I apply 2 coats, allowing polish to dry in between each
  • Lastly, I apply 1 coat of Formula X Top Coat.
  • Bonus Tip: When applying your top coat, swipe a little underneath your nail as well to help seal it in.

The end. You have a perfect manicure! Formula X by Sephora Top Coat has a high shine and is also fast drying, yay!

The Results

If you follow me on Instagram you probably saw that I posted a picture last weekend of my most recent manicure, which lasted 9 days!

Day 1
Day 1- Why is it so awkward to take a photo of your own hand?
Day 7
Day 7
Day 9
Day 9

The last photo is the photo I posted on Instagram on day 9. By day 9 the top coat was not as shiny as it was on day 1, but hey, the matte look is in. If it holds my polish, that’s all I care about. By that night I did start to see some chipping, but I was very impressed that it lasted that long with no chips. To be honest, the chipping wasn’t bad enough for me to remove it until day 12. I had just opened up a new bottle of polish so having some super fresh polish could have helped contribute to the staying power, but like I said, 6-8 days is the norm for my manicures.

I have not used the Formula X polish yet, just the top coat, but it is on my wish list of beauty products to try.

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21 thoughts on “The Secret To a Long Lasting At-Home Manicure

  1. I love OPI and Essie! I agree, I go for Essie more because they have more on-trend colors and a larger range in general. I also like the brushes! Have you ever tried Essie Good to Go Top Coat?? It’s ah-mazing, so now I am really curious to try the Sephora one!

  2. Your manicures always last forever, inneed to start taking your advice! I’ve been hooked on the gel nail polishes but I need to give Formula X a shot!

  3. I *love* Formula X, I have a great little FX Clix set of last summer’s must-have colors that I got from Sephora, also my happy place – we can share a happy place, right? 😉

  4. I started using Seche Vite for my topcoat about 2 years ago and it has really lengthened the lifespan of my manicures. I haven’t tried the X Sephora topcoat yet, but I’m going to give it a whirl and see if it stands up to Seche Vite.

  5. I love changing my colors often (and have an alarmingly large Essie collection that continues to get bigger) so I always do at-home manicures! I’m going to have to give that top-coat a try, I haven’t found a great one yet!

  6. When you find the right base coat for your nail chemistry, that will also help the longevity too as polish is designed to stick to the base coat and base coat designed to stick to the nail 🙂

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