Review: Make your manicure last with a rubberised base coat

It’s really amazing how much small things can bother you sometimes, isn’t it? And if you don’t quite agree with me, I have two words for you: chipped nails. On you or on someone else, doesn’t matter. They’re just… irksome. Sure, it’s not a big deal, I’m pretty positive no-one’s ever gotten cancer from a chipped nail. But still, it’s like a little glitch in your universe that makes itself known every time you manage to forget about it. A small thing that you really, really could do without.

How to prevent nail varnish from chipping?

Well, there are a few ways to avoid getting chipped nails, the first and most obvious one being not painting your nails at all. Which, admittedly, is a little bit like telling you to wear your dr martens to a date, since your patent heels will get scratched anyway. You can (and you know I totally would), but it’s probably not a helpful way to think about it. So, what are your other options? You could go and get your nails done in a salon, by a professional, for a price that’s likely to be a little bit excessive and with results that you still might not be happy with.

Or you could buy all the necessary nail products and practice a little bit at home until you’re able to do your own lasting manicure in a matter of minutes. Does that sound a little too sci-fi? It did to me as well. But we live in the 21st century and there are inventions that make our lives easier, even when it comes to something as literally superficial as nail varnish. In this case, the solution lies in so-called rubberised base coats, the most famous of them being the Bonder by Orly.


Like other similar products, Orly’s Bonder works by creating a coat that never dries to a smooth and shiny finish, instead remaining slightly sticky to the touch, a little bit like a rubber surface. The idea is that the colour then sticks to it and does not chip as easily as it would with a traditional base coat. And it does work, most of the time. Rubberised base coats really make your manicure last longer, although the success does depend on the nail varnish and the top coat as well. For some, however, even the special base coat might not be enough. If you’re one of those people, fear not and keep reading for a neat trick that will really make your manicure last for ages.

Care for a sandwich?

All right, now to the method that will make rubberised base coat work for you no matter what. It’s fairly easy, fairly quick, and just to make it more fun, it has a silly name: the sticky sandwich method. Yep, you read that correctly, we’re making a sandwich here. A sticky one. Don’t worry, I promise the results will be anything but messy.

The sticky sandwich method again requires three products: your Orly Bonder or other similar rubberised base coat, a colour nail varnish of your choice, and a quick-drying top coat, for instance the RapiDry by OPI. The particular brands are really not that important, what matters is that both the base coat and top coat are of a good quality. This is also a great way to make use of the more disappointing nail varnishes in your collection - the ones that are too runny, the ones that take ages to dry completely, the ones that require at least two coats to go opaque.

bonder2Beautiful nails for days (and weeks)

The application is very similar to the traditional base-colour-top approach, the main difference lying in the addition of two more steps to the process. We’re obviously starting with the base coat, putting on a thin layer and leaving it for about half a minute to a full minute, just to get that slightly sticky finish that the colour can hold on to. Then comes the main event - I can definitely recommend the L’Oréal Color Riche varnishes for both great consistency and great shades.

Wait a couple of minutes and apply another layer of base coat, then one more coat of colour, and a fast-drying top coat to seal it all together.

It might take a little bit of trial and error, but I promise the sticky sandwich method will make your manicure stay with you for at least a week. If you’re anything like me, you’ll probably get bored with it before the first chip even shows up... and that’s not an entirely bad thing.