Got a vacation coming up or unable to make it back to the salon for a few weeks? With your busy life and vacation-planning, your nails should be the last thing on your mind. Enter: the no-chip manicure. No-chip manicures might just be the greatest invention since sliced bread — weeks of un-chipped nail polish bliss, where you can live your life without worrying about a single crack or chip, no matter the color!
Yes, it’s a great invention for when duty (or vacation) calls and you need some un-chipped color for a couple weeks. But no-chip manicures can seriously damage your nails, and can even make them brittle for the long-term after multiple uses. Not to worry though, as there are many ways to rejuvenate your nails after even the most no-chip of no-chip manicures. Here’s how to give the prettiest part of your fingers some TLC after a no-chip manicure.
First of all, correct removal of the no-chip color is just as crucial as the care afterwards. Removing the wrong way can cause microtrauma, or those white spots and tears on your nail. To take off that no-chip polish the correct way, first file away the top layer of the color to break the seal. Then, apply a cotton ball soaked in pure acetone to each nail and wrap with foil to secure the ball in place and let your nails soak. Wait 10-15 minutes and gently scrape off the rest of the color with a nail file or metal cuticle pusher. You can also go to the salon for no-chip polish removal (some salons make you pay, some don’t), but if they’re not going through the same steps, it could be damaging your nails.
Especially if you’ve kept your no-chip on for an extended period of time (hello, two week vacay!), your nails have become used to having a protective coat, so they seem thinner and weaker after the coat comes off. Even just your everyday lifestyle could cause breakage, so consider filing or cutting your nails down to prevent breakage and let them grow back stronger.
Take a break before your next no-chip manicure (they’re not intended to be back-to-back!) and, if possible, take a break from nail color all together. Instead, look for a base coat that contains ingredients like bamboo, gelatin matrix, or field horsetail — all of which strengthen the nail cuticle so they can recover properly, to apply every couple days.
Get ready for this mind blow — nails are made up of keratin, aka the same thing that hair is made of. Nails can become brittle and dry, just like hair, after too much “styling” (remember how parched your poor locks were after that horrible bleach job?). So, the key to getting them back to their full, thick, shiny glory? Moisture (just like hair!). Rehydrate your nails by applying cuticle oil once a day, and use a hand cream, especially after washing your hands when water strips away natural oils. For extra moisture if your nails are really suffering, slather on an intensely hydrating hand cream, put a dollop of oil into the fingers of a cotton or rubber glove, and leave the gloves on for a couple hours (or sleep in them if you’re up for a real challenge!) to lock in hydration.
Try taking a biotin supplement (with a fat like coconut oil for optimal absorption), folic acid supplement, and zinc — all which help strength nails or help them grow. If you want one kind of supplement to simplify your routine, try taking a hair, skin, and nail vitamin that contains antioxidants (vitamin A, C, and E), biotin, and B vitamins. Think about adding foods to your diet like salmon, eggs, oats, and greens, and make sure to get plenty of protein, which will help to rebuild cells in your nails, in tern strengthening them and repairing any damage.