“A clean and dry nail surface is the basis to lasting color,” says Essie Weingarten, president and founder of Essie Cosmetics. “If there’s any residue, like lotion or oil, on the nail, it’ll prevent polish from adhering.” Use a nail cleanser after old polish is removed to provide a stronger bond between your nail and polish. Never skip the base coat. It’s designed to let polish go on smoothly and be resistant to wear. After painting on two thin coats of polish, finish with topcoat to protect and lock in your nail color. Keep in mind that vibrant and deep nail polish hues can be short lived, but lighter tones last longer because they contain less pigment. Luckily, this fall you’ll not only be on trend with a soft shade of gray at your fingertips, but your manicure will also hold up. “And always moisturize your hands,” says Tracy Dinkel, manicurist for L.A.-based Manicures R Mobile spa. “Polish is more susceptible to chipping and peeling when nails and cuticles are dehydrated.” Here’s our pick of manicure essentials to help color endure.
1. TIP: Use an acid-neutralizing primer before base coat if your polish tends to last only a couple of days. A coat of Orly Primetime Chip Preventing Primer will balance the pH levels of your nails so that color stays in place. $10 | orlybeauty.com
2. TIP: “Use a ridge-filling base coat when applying sheer polish to help it go on more evenly,” says Weingarten. Dermelect Makeover Ridge Filler contains anti-aging peptides to renew damaged nails as it conceals ridges and discoloration. $18 | dermelect.com
3. TIP: Proper drying is essential for a beautiful paint job. Zoya Hurry Up Drying Drops completely dries your mani or pedi from top coat through to base coat in just five minutes, enhances color vibrancy and extends wear for up to two weeks. $16 | zoya.com