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Five Nail Polishes That Will Last Through Surf, Sun and Sand

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Checking out the pedi while riding the nose

Active lifestyles are not conducive to flawless nail art. I'm obsessed with following nailstagrams (@stephstonenails is a good one) but I hesitate to splurge on 3D art and intricate color jobs when it could all be chipped away with one strong set wave. I dipped my toes into the shellac craze but didn't care for the color commitment and the chemical treatment for removal. Instead, I always keep an eye out for polishes that don't easily peel or chip. These are my favorite brands (and current favorite colors for fall) that I depend on whether I'm applying them at home or taking them to a professional for an even longer lasting mani-pedi.

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The Floss Gloss nail polishes are my favorite not only for staying power but also for color saturation, coverage and ingredients. The product is made in California, and the color collections perfectly suit the beach-inspired lifestyle. I wore the louder colors throughout spring and summer and transitioned to the darker tones this month. From L to R: Stun, Faded and Dimepiece, $8 each, will carry you from now through the holidays.


Black is always a great color for October, and the Illamasqua nail varnish in Swarm, $17, is a sparkly twist on the classic. The glitter glides on evenly and without clumps but requires a top coat for maximum chip resistance. One coat may be enough, but two coats deliver the dramatic, full effect.


Chanel nail varnish lives up to the high price tag. The color is always deeper and truer without ever fading or peeling. If you're partial to neutrals, wear a darker shade during the cooler months like the 559 Frenzy, $27. And if you're looking for a pop of color, wear the Bel-Argus, $27.


The Revlon ColorStay Longwear nail enamel (shown here in Midnight), $5, is the best drugstore option for lasting nail color. The special color collections may not match the runway colors exactly, but you can't go wrong with the straightforward, staple hues.


Orly's nail polishes are solid but the true gems are the top coats like the Matte Top, $10, and the Won't Chip, $10. Without these products, my nail color would quickly deteriorate into a state of shambles. Apply the top coat (one or the other) after allowing the color to dry to avoid the dreaded fingerprint smudging or nicking of wet polish. And a little goes a long way.
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