15 Tips for How to Make Your Manicure Last Longer

Nail PolishesMy obsession with everything nail polish started a few years ago, and I’ve picked up some tips and tricks for how to make your manicure last.

Now whenever I paint my nails, colors last 7 days on average before I see a single chip.

You take great care applying nail polish, so it sucks big potatoes when it chips after only a day. Find out some easy things you can do to get more manicure mileage!

Tips for How to Make Your Manicure Last Longer

  1. Wear a Base Coat – This acts as a primer to allow the polish to adhere more easily. Plus it helps prevent some colors from staining your nails.

    Nail Tek III Foundation Ridge-Filling Base Coat

    Nail Tek III Foundation Ridge-Filling Base Coat

  2. Wear a Top Coat – It seals in your manicure sandwich, absorbs shock impact & provides an extra layer to protect the color from changing, chipping & becoming dull
  3. Wrap Your Tips – Don’t forget to paint the edges of your nails with the base coat, color & top coat. After I learned about this, it literally added 3-4 extra days to how long my manicure lasts! I highly suggest you do this every time especially if you have a job like I do where you need to type on the keyboard all day.
  4. Wait for Each Layer of Polish to Dry Before Adding Another – While you may be tempted to slick on another layer right after, hold the polish! I’ve had great results from waiting 10 minutes in between layers.
  5. Wear Gloves When Washing Dishes or Doing Household Chores – The less time you can expose your nails to harsh cleaning agents, the better. You don’t have to be anal about this, but if you really want a manicure to last, gloves are your friend.
  6. Avoid Using Your Nails as Tools – I’m guilty of using my nails to peel off stickers. This puts extra pressure on your polish & increases your chances of chipping. If you’re on Day 7 of your manicure, then pick away! But I try not to do this in the early days.
  7. Don’t Bite Your Nails – First of all, eating nail polish can’t be good…even if some colors look delicious! Biting your nails is just asking for chips, scratches & ragged manicures.

    OPI Expert Touch Lacquer Remover

    OPI Expert Touch Lacquer Remover

  8. Sport Shorter Nails – When you have long nails, they hit everything before the pads of your fingers. Shorter nails don’t do that as often. I enjoy sporting all nail lengths, but it makes sense to me that longer nails suffer more wear & tear.
  9. Buff Your Nails – When you have a smooth, ridge-free surface to work with, your nail polish applies more smoothly & adheres to your nails better. This improves your chances for a longer-lasting manicure.
  10. File Your Nails in 1 Direction – Sawing your nails back & forth can create a rough edge or even splits. And when you paint over this, your polish may follow suit & chip. Use a glass nail file for the smoothest results!
  11. Prep Nails w/Polish Remover Prior to Adding Polish – Oil makes it harder for polish to stick to your nails. If you use a cotton pad to swipe each nail with polish remover prior to your manicure, you remove the oil & provide a matte surface for your polish to stick to.
  12. Always Remove Old Polish Before Adding New Polish – Old polish has a higher chance of chipping. Putting more polish on top of old polish just makes it a thick, ugly mess that won’t last.
  13. Give Your Polish Time to Cure – We’re all busy. But if you can, try giving your polish an hour or 2 to dry after you’ve applied your top coat. (I always paint my nails at night, wait a couple of hours while I’m watching some TV & then go to bed so my manicure has all night to completely cure.)
  14. Gently Push Your Cuticles Back – After a shower, use a cuticle pusher. You can also soak your fingers in water to make the cuticles softer. This ensures that the polish adheres to your nail instead of skin.

    Sally Hansen Cuticle Pusher

    Sally Hansen Cuticle Pusher

  15. Don’t Mix Big-3-Free Formulas with Non-Big-3-Free Formulas – The “Big 3” chemicals found typically in older polishes are Formaldehyde, Toluene & DBP. If your colored polish contains the Big 3, you need to use base & top coats that also have the Big 3. Similarly, if your colored polish is Big-3-Free, your base & top coats have to be Big-3-Free, too, or you risk a short-lived manicure.

Try out some of these tips the next time you give yourself a manicure, and you might be surprised how long it’ll last!

Do you have any tips and tricks that you’d like to add? Feel free to share them!

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