For literal years, a long-lasting, at-home manicure (or pedicure) seemed to elude me. I would spent 30 minutes polishing one evening, just to wake up in the morning to a chip or smudge. It was annoying, on a this-doesn't-really-impact-my-life sort of way. After trying many different brands, methods, and tricks, I've finally found a way for my manicure to last at least three solid days without a chip!
I love going to a nail salon for a no-chip manicure, especially if I have events or a lot of travel and don't want to have to deal with nail polish, but it's not realistic for me to go to the salon every week for a new color. So, I use this combination of products every time I polish and it works really well for me.
The only two brands of polish that last more than a day on my fingernails are OPI and CND Vinylux. I can use Essie on my toes, but it's a waste of time to try it on my fingernails. Which, by the way, is also obnoxious because Essie has the best colors!
I start by buffing my nails, to rough them up a little bit and remove the natural oils, so that the polish can "stick" a little better. I use Essie's All In One Base Coat, which is a tried and true base for me. I follow that with 2 (or 3, depending on the sheerness!) coats of my color of choice. Then top it with CND Vinylux Weekly Top Coat, which is what dreams are made of. I use this top coat with any other brand of polish, not just CND. It adds a nice thick top coat that really protects the polish and creates the illusion of a no-chip from a salon.
When I'm doing my toes, I follow the same routine, except I usually use an Essie color. I've been loving this off-white color all Summer. My toes can last about 2 weeks without any nicks with this combination of base, color, and top coat.