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What Should I Consider When Buying Nail Polish?

Clear nail polish.
Certain brands of nail polish contain strengtheners to make the nails harder.
A nail technician polishing a woman's fingernails.
Article Details
  • Written By: Dana Hinders
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 03 July 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2014
    Conjecture Corporation
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With over 10,000 shades of nail polish on the market in the United States alone, buying nail polish can be a daunting task. However, there are a few different approaches you can use to make the job easier. You can try buying nail polish that matches your lipstick or your outfit to create a coordinating look that’s perfect for parties and other special occasions. If you’re looking for a polish that’s suitable for everyday wear, try buying nail polish in a light or sheer color that’s slightly darker than your skin. When you’re torn between two colors, remember that fair-skinned women look best in blue-based nail polish shades and women with darker complexions find yellow-based polish more flattering.

In addition to choosing the right shade of nail polish, you’ll also need to determine if your manicure will require other supplemental products. A top coat can be very useful in preventing chipping, especially if you don’t have the time to touch up your nails on a daily basis. If you prefer very dark nail polish colors, a base coat can help minimize yellowing and other signs of discoloration.

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Although all modern nail polishes are basically made with nitrocellulose dissolved in some type of solvent, slight variations among the different brands can be very important when buying nail polish. If you have sensitive skin, experts recommend buying nail polish that is labeled as either hypoallergenic or unscented. If you are pregnant or think you might be trying to conceive in the near future, avoid buying nail polish with dibutyl phthalate, toluene, or formaldehyde. Some studies have indicated that these ingredients may increase the risk of certain types of birth defects.

When buying nail polish, remember that you can’t expect any brand to work miracles. If your hands are poorly maintained, no amount of polish will give you model-worthy results. It’s important to make sure your nails are well-shaped before your manicure. Use an emery board to file down rough edges and gently push your cuticles back with an orange stick. Once your nails are in top condition, apply the polish from the base of the nail to the tip—using about three strokes per nail. Let each coat dry thoroughly before applying the next layer of polish.

After your manicure, place your nail polish in a cool, dry place to prevent spoiling and separation. If you have the extra room, take a cue from professional manicurists and store your polish in the refrigerator.

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