By Jennifer Velez, InStyle.com
When it comes to achieving the perfect manicure, it’s all about the prep. One important step you should never overlook is the base coat. They provide nails with a smooth canvas for polish, prevent staining, stimulate growth, and can help give your manicure a longer lifespan. But instead of swiping on any old formula, you should use one that caters to your specific nail needs. Have unsightly ridges? Sensitive skin? There’s a base coat for those problems. Keep scrolling to find one that best suits you.
If You Have Weak, Brittle Nails:
If you thought you couldn’t work kale into your beauty routine, think again. Nails Inc.’s Superfood Base Coat ($15; sephora.com) is infused with kale extract, which by now we all know is chock-full of vitamins A, C, and K. This boosts keratin production (the protein that makes nails hard), leaving you with stronger, healthier-looking nails as a result.
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If Your Nails Have Ridges:
Ridges can sabotage a perfectly good manicure, and aging nails are at a higher risk. The good news is a ridge-filling formula like Essie’s ($10; nordstrom.com) will provide you with a smooth, even foundation every time you use. And because it’s hydrating, your nails will have a more youthful appearance.
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For a Longer-Lasting Manicure:
Nothing is more frustrating than chipped polish, especially when it happens a day or two later. That’s why we recommend Julep’s Oxygen Smoothing Base Coat ($18; sephora.com), an innovative formula that’s designed to help your manicure last that much longer, while also preventing dark colors from staining.
If You Have Sensitive Skin:
Have sensitive skin or eyes? This one’s for you. Thanks to Clinique’s Nail Enamel for Sensitive Skin ($13; nordstrom.com) you can properly prep your nails without the fear of having an allergic reaction. It works double duty as a glossy top coat, too.
For an All-in-One Treatment:
Have breakage, ridges, yellowing, and everything in between? No problem—Deborah Lippmann’s All About That Base ($20;sephora.com), a CC cream for nails, will cure those woes in one quick step. It can even be worn alone for a nude, matte finish.