Two Nail Polish Mistakes You Keep Making (And How To Fix Them!)

Photo by Ruslan Dashinsky
Straight from NYFW, Deborah Lippmann dishes her go-to tips for a poppin' mani! 

Due to a weird obsession with nail beds (don't ask), I take full advantage of New York Fashion Week by scoping out manicure designs that will easily translate from the runway to real life. Per usual, Deborah Lippmann--who is responsible for Uzo Aduba's mani on our September cover--provided nail designs for several shows including Narcisco Rodriguez, where I got to preview the simple, chic polish look. 

Ahhh my dear, Narciso, always make me work for my money. Luckily, I get some love in the end. #NYFW #DLNYFW xoxo DL

A photo posted by deborah lippmann (@deborahlippmann) on

In order to fully compliment the bold feminine vibes of Narcisco’s pieces, Deborah created a custom color by mixing her clear “Hard Rock” ($20, sephora.com) and camel creme “Terra Nova” ($18, deborahlippmann.com) shades. The result is a beautiful sheer mustard veil that's reminiscent of leaves changing color in the fall; talk about perfect timing! 

You can replicate this easy look, but there is a small catch. 

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“In general, it will sheer it out. However, for real life, it affects the wear of the nail,” she told me. “The polish won’t last as long because you’re messing with the formula. If you want to do it for a night or one look, that’s fine.”

If you do decide to blend colors or give yourself a fall manicure, she recommends keeping two important habits in mind: patience and tip capping. For instance, if your nails are constantly chipping away, that could indicate a couple of different things. 

According to Deborah, one of the biggest mistakes we make is using too much color at once. “Polish is like paint. If you’re painting your wall at home, you need to wait before the second coat,” she says. “You’re supposed to wait until the solvents evaporate from the nail (about 60 seconds).”

The 60 second rule applies to every coat you apply: the base (which most people tend to forget), color and top coat. “Even if the first coat looks like it’s great,” she says, “If you want better wear, wait for it to matte out a little, do your second coat, wait another 60 seconds and then finish with top coat.”

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To give your paint job lasting power, also make sure you’re capping the nail tips with each coat. Think about all of the ways you use your hand daily. Whether you’re doing a low impact activity like typing or something more strenuous like cleaning the house, the top part of your nail is directly impacted. 

“You’re going to get much better wear,” says Deborah of the simple technique. “Try to polish in three strokes: one down the center of the nail and one on either side. Then you cap the tip; it makes a huge difference.” 

Shop Deborah’s fall-friendly “After Midnight” collection here!

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