The Eva Chen Manicure

Essie 'Bright Tights'
Chanel 'Frenzy'
Essie 'Absolutely Shore'
Essie 'Sew Psyched'
Jin Soon 'Risque'
L'Oreal Paris Colour Riche Nail Lingerie in 'Something About Her'
Jin Soon 'French Lilac'
Ciate 'Red Hot Chili'
Yellow French Tips
Nail art by Steph Stone
Nails Inc London 'Porchester Square'
OPI 'Live and Let Die'
OPI 'Samoan Sand Gel'
OPI 'You Don't Know Jacques'
OPI 'Fiercely Fiona'
Prabal Gurung 'Loden Green' and 'Call to Arms'
Revlon 'Bubbly'
RGB 'Pool'
Sally Hansen 'Malbec' for Tracey Reese
Sally Hansen 'Punch Drunk'
Sally Hansen 'Sheer Bliss'

If you follow Eva Chen on Instagram, you’re familiar with her ever-changing manicure. A constant photo stream of her perfectly painted fingers clutching, say, a toy elephant or a new OPI shade. And we always wondered how a woman as insanely busy as Eva—the new editor in chief of Lucky magazine—finds the time to visit the salon so often. This past Paris Fashion Week, during an enlightening car ride between shows (thanks for the lift!!), Eva confirmed that she refreshes her nail color an average of "2.5 times a week," but, shocker of shockers, she usually does it herself. In the backseat of a cab. On the way to work. Here's how:

"I painted my nails in the car on the way to a breakfast this morning. I know that sounds crazy, but the trick is to do all of the prep work at home. I use pure acetone Nail Polish Remover from Nails Inc. to really strip the nail. It’s actually important to dehydrate your nail a little bit to get rid of all of the oil before you put color on, then the color will really stick. Then, I use OPI BondAid. It’s a liquid dehydrator that you paint onto each nail. Your nails look really scary and desiccated, but that’s good. The nail bed and the skin around the nail turn white, but it’s nothing a little cuticle oil won’t heal. Give that a minute to dry, then apply Orly Bonder. It’s similar to CND Stickey, as it’s essentially a sticky base coat. But don’t touch it, because your skin’s oil will degrade the nail polish. I have that in a pro size, which is the size of a Poland Spring. When I travel I keep it in a nail polish bottle, but I decant it. You know how at the nail salons, the nail technicians decant nail polishes into smaller bottles? That’s me!

Then, in the car, I apply the polish. Today I used RGB Tropic, which is a dark, lush rainforest green, and Dior Gel Coat. Of all of the greens, grey-green and dark green are very cool. This is one of my favorite greens right now—and I love RGB because their polishes are deeply pigmented.  You really only need one coat, but I like doing two so it’s extra thick and glossy. Again, leave a minute between each coat. I finish off my manicure with Dior's Gel Coat, which has a thicker consistency than most top coats. It dries quickly and leaves your nails really shiny. I also have Essie Vested Interest in my bag. This is how we Lucky girls roll. [Laughs]

During fashion week, I tend to do a gel manicure because it’s easier. But I just had one for three weeks straight, so I’m ready for a polish. When I use a polish, I end up changing my nail color 2.5 times a week. The '.5' is when I get them done and notice it’s not perfect—I’ll fix it myself. It actually lasts longer when I do it myself. And Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure polish always lasts a full week. It’s crazy and true! I don’t know what’s in it—powdered unicorn horns? It's so good; it’s my favorite brand of nail polish. I typically use a nail polish color once and then send it out into the universe—give it to a friend, a colleague, or to my sister-in-law. So I’m fresh out of Sally Hansen right now."

All images from Eva Chen's Instagram.

Let’s Talk About It! JOIN IN

    I love that orange Essie shade.
    Dior gel coat is also really good!

    Sarina x

  • rachna sharma


  • Arijana84

    I think I met my nail polish doppelganger :D

  • Arijana84

    I think I met my nail polish doppelganger :)

  • Charlotte

    Eva Chen is the best! Thanks for the article.

  • Anne

    Can I please just disagree on the stripping the nails thing? I actually came across the (very useful) suggestion of using coocnut oil before a manicure on your nails on make up alley the other day to prevent chips and while many girls swear by it, it doesn't fix chips for me (so far nothing has). BUT it keeps my nails super healthy despite using nail polish very frequently. It may seem very counter intuitive at first but it does work well and no weird things are happening to the polish.

    • Sabrina Rice

      You probably just have to let it soak in. Coconut oil does absorb quickly into the skin/hair/nails though. So if you have the time, why not?

    • Nita

      I agree with you! I can't strip my nails because then I won't be able to wear polish as often as I do since my nails gets so weak. I make sure I apply some type of cuticle oil prior to painting.

  • Lilly

    Love the nail art in the second picture, it's so simple and cute!

  • angie

    LOVE here! thanks!

  • Bird

    Such a fan of Eva Chen's nails! She must be fairly accustomed to applying polish - there is no way I could apply super-pigmented dark green polish n a moving vehicle. Although the nail prepping sounds helpful, does anyone else's nail chem just NOT work with these sticky base coats? My polish always peels and I've tried both the Stickey and Bonder.

    • Nicole

      mine also doesn't work that great with stickey (polish chips the same day) or bonder (a little better than stickey). i've found that butter london ridge filer works pretty well, and as a bonus it can be used with the 3-frees and regular polishes.

      • Bird

        Oo! Thanks so much. I'll certainly try that!

  • Nancy

    Does anyone know what the Lancôme shade is? Love it!!!

  • Heather P.

    I know what I'll be doing this evening! I have a few new polishes I really want to try out!

    The acetone swipe before painting my nails has been a game changer. The first time I did that, my manicure lasted twice as long. I don't remember where I first heard it, but it wouldn't shock me if it was thank you ITG!

  • hayley durrant

    Sally Hansen is the best nail brand to go for if you want your nail varnish to last!! I swear by it!

    check my blog out at

    • Sabrina Rice

      That's for sure. If I don't use a base coat with them they take my actual nail w them when they chip!!

  • Kara

    Love Eva! She is such a down to earth person and I think that's great she pays her polishes forward. I can barely share with my sister!!

  • Alice

    love her!


  • murt

    That was my first thought - that the nail polish would stink up the entire car.... I'm surprised the drivers haven't said anything to her.

  • samantha

    how the heck does she get a perfect application in the car?! i can't even manage on a flat, non-moving surface.

  • merredee

    I love polish but never have the patience to do my nails without a quick dry top coat! Also she only uses them once and then gives them away? I want to be her best friend ;)


    I'm absolutely dying to know the polish in photo #8!

  • Olivia Frescura

    I LOVE Eva!

  • Sabrina Rice

    I have the OPI 'Live and Let Die' which is a gorgeous color but it chipped in a day! I use a base coat/top coat bla bla bla. Usually my at-home mani's last a week! So disappointing

  • babs

    Love love love this post. Suddenly I feel the need to purchase an orange polish, a watermelon polish, an olive green, Frenzy by Chanel...

  • Karen Derbyshire

    I love the Dior Gel Coat....super quick drying when you are in a rush in the mornings! Paint one colour and whizz this over the top and your good to go!!

  • seret

    I just bought some Sally Hansen nail color and base/top coat and I have to say this is the first time I have ever done my nails this easy and mess free in my life. I usually can not paint my own nails. It always gets messed up and I have to take it off but this polish went on so smooth and easily that my nails look professionally done. Thank you for recommending it. I will not be buying any other brand again. I will leave Essie and Opi to the professionals.

  • Behind the Mirror

    I love Eva Chen, I read a while back that she is the "first editor in chief of our generation.” And I am very excited about that!

    - behind the mirror

  • Jani

    Does anyone know the shade of the RGB polish she is wearing? It's gorgeous!

  • amelia

    Essie absolutely shore and chanel frenzy, gorgeous!

  • Sarah Fentem

    If you're doing all that work at home, why not just paint the nails there too?

  • In A Snap

    The second picture is so cute! Love a good nail art mani!

  • Debbi

    The mani with the pearls is everything.


    It's been hard to find my favorite shades after going vegan/cruelty free, but now that I've found some keepers I change my nails at least 4 times a week!!

Nails Inc. Express Nail Polish Remover Pot
OPI BondAid pH Balancing Agent
Orly Bonder
CND Stickey Base Coat
RGB Nail Color, Tropic
Dior Gel Top Coat
Sally Hansen
Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure