It’s happened to the best of us: Even the prettiest of shades have a dark side and can sometimes leave your nails yellow or abnormally tinted. To learn more about these unpleasant surprises, we enlisted the help of celebrity nail artist and former finalist on Oxygen’s Nail’d It, Kandi Banks.
ESSENCE: Is applying a base coat the only way to prevent discoloration from happening? How do base coats work?
Banks: First of all, your nails need to breathe. Without a base coat, your nails will suffocate. The reasons why your nails stain is [because you aren’t using] a base coat and you’re keeping high-pigment polish on too long.
ESSENCE: How many layers of base coat are necessary and how much time should pass before applying polish?
Banks: You only need one layer of base coat. The normal time is around two minutes, but I always take one hand and move onto the other hand. And, by the time I’m done with the first hand, it should be dry already.
ESSENCE: What brands of base coats do you recommend?
Banks: I like OPI’s base coat. And, Seche has a really good base and top coat. They have a high-gloss, fast-drying top coat.
ESSENCE: Does scrubbing with lemon juice, toothpaste or baking sodas help whiten nails? How safe are these home solutions?
Banks: I don’t like to use like home products on my clients because I don’t know if they’ll have an allergic reaction—especially with citrus. But, people should try it out and see if it works for them.
ESSENCE: Typically, how long should nail polish be kept on?
Banks: When the nails start chipping, it’s always best to change the color. I say change it at least once a week. If you’re impatient and you want a new color more frequently, then every four days is good.
ESSENCE: What suggestions do you have for improving the overall health of your nails?
Banks: Definitely drink a lot of water and when it comes to the removal of any type of nail, never pick it off—always soak it off with acetone. Whether it’s acrylic, gel, or you need to remove it with, you know remove polish on natural nails with acetone.