Wednesday, May 22, 2013
Manicure 101: Why do you need four coats of nail polish?
We've all been in this situation: You're sitting at home, getting ready to give yourself a manicure (or maybe in the middle of one), when you find yourself thinking, "Are all these steps really necessary?" Heck, you may have even read a few of my Manicure Monday posts and wondered why I'd bother applying two coats of polish if I said that one coat gave me the color pay off in the bottle.
Be honest, you've skipped a step or two in the name of saving time. How'd that work out for you? For me, not so great. It usually meant I'd end up with stained nails or a chipped manicure after just one day.
So what exactly is it that your manicurist knows that you don't? Why's four coats of polish (base coat, two coats of color, top coat) the magic number? Let's break it down:
Base coat: This clear coat of polish that no one ever sees plays an important part in your manicure. It's basically your manicure's foundation. Base coat provides a smooth surface for your nail color. If you have ridges on your nails, base coat will help fill those out. It also serves as a barrier between your polish and your nail to prevent staining. And if that weren't enough, it also provides a sticky coat for your polish to adhere to and helps keep your polish from peeling. Consider base coat your polish primer.
Nail polish color: Let's just clear this up now: You need two coats of polish. Let's all just stop fighting it already. The first coat is meant to lay down the color base. It's supposed to be a thin coat that's not entirely opaque. If you get amazing color pay off with one thin coat, you have a polish with great pigmentation. But one coat of polish is going to chip. Fast. It's just not strong enough to resist everything we put our nails through.That's where the second coat comes in. It will round out your color (especially if the first coat wasn't completely opaque) and give it better saturation, even out the overall manicure, and provide a little extra cushion to make your manicure last longer. Trust me, you don't want to skip it.
Top coat: Your final step is your top coat. It serves two major purposes: (1) providing a glossy, smooth finish, (2) and acting as a protective barrier for your manicure. Top coats are meant to be hard and scratch resistant. They are like armor for your nail polish. Don't forget to seal off your manicure by swiping polish and top coat along the top edge of your nail to make it last even longer (by protecting it from the clickity-clack of typing for example).
Now that you know that all these polish coats serve an important purpose, do you feel less inclined to cut corners? Heck, it might even save you some money. Once your manicures start to look as professional as they do when you go to the salon, you'll get to cut down on visits and spend that money elsewhere.