My 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
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.)
- 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.
- 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!