A few years ago I was en route to my new boyfriend's house for a dinner date when I noticed that my red nail polish was beginning to chip. I knew that it would soon become an unsightly disaster, so I decided to avoid any future embarrassment by purchasing some nail polish remover before my arrival. I'm not sure why I had to be so dramatic about the whole thing, but I stopped in to use the bathroom at a restaurant around the corner to clean things up.

Unfortunately, what I uncovered was far worse than chipped nails. A week earlier, I had been on a tropical vacation, and apparently the mixture of sun, SPF and polish had turned my nail beds an unnatural shade of yellow. My nails were the jaundiced shade of a longtime smoker's teeth, and all night long I did my best to keep them hidden. It took about a month for the color to return to normal, so I only wish that I had done something to prevent this whole mess when I was on vacation.

Lesson learned: Be sure to use a good base coat when wearing red nail polish, and always protect your nails when you are going to have excessive exposure in the sun. Try a product like Orly Sunscreen For Nails which is a topcoat that contains SPF, or if it's too late and you need to reverse the damage, Yello-Out Clear Acrylic Top Coat ($7) should do the trick.