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10 Expert Tips on How to Make Your Manicures Last Longer

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Photo by Tetra Images/Getty Images

A beautifully manicured set of nails can instantly elevate your outfits and boost your confidence. However, nothing is more frustrating than spending time and effort on a flawless nail polish application, only to see it chipping away within a day or two. If you find yourself constantly reaching for the nail polish remover, fret not! We're here to share some expert tips and tricks that will teach you how to make nail polish last longer.

It’s no surprise it all starts with proper nail preparation. The key to a long-lasting manicure is what happens before the polish is even opened. But there are also a few application techniques and post-manicure care tips that contribute to a durable manicure too. So, whether you're a nail art enthusiast or simply want your nail color to survive the daily wear and tear, keep reading to discover tips to avoid premature nail chipping and make your manicure last weeks at a time.


About the Experts: 

Mazz Hanna is a professional manicurist and CEO of Nailing Hollywood.

Michelle Nguyen is a professional nail artist and the founder of Paris Lash Academy, specializing in nails and lash products and training for professional technicians.


10 Tips to Make Your Nail Polish Last Longer

1. Clean and Prep Your Nails

Before applying nail polish, ensure that your nails are clean, dry, and free from any oils or residue. Use a nail polish remover to eliminate any traces of old polish, natural oils, or dirt. This will help the polish adhere better to the nail beds. Buffing your nails is also a great idea to maximize shine.

“Prep, prep, prep. Prepping is the most important step in painting nails. Oil and dirt on the nail surface is the main reason gel or lacquer polish starts peeling off or chipping. Start with washing your hands prior to painting and wipe down the nails with alcohol to remove any extra oil,” says Michelle Nguyen, professional nail artist and the founder of Paris Lash Academy.

2. Carefully Apply Your Base Coat

A high-quality base coat is essential for long-lasting nail polish. Apply a thin layer of base coat to create a smooth surface for the polish to adhere to. This will also help to prevent staining and promote better adhesion. This makes it a true essential to keep in your at-home manicure stash of tools.

3. Use Thin and Even Coats of Polish

To prevent thick and easily peelable layers, apply thin coats of nail polish. Start with a small amount of polish on the brush and spread it evenly, avoiding excessive brush strokes. This will help the polish to dry faster and last longer. “Thicker layers tend to not cure properly and can peel off prematurely,” explains Nguyen.

4. Don’t Forget the Edge of Your Nail

“When applying polish, don't skip the tip of your nails. Make sure you wrap the polish around the tip with the brush. This will make your nails look perfect from every angle and prevent it from chipping,” says Nguyen.

5. Maintain Cuticle Hydration

“Keeping your cuticles and the skin around your nails hydrated is key to making your nail polish last longer. My favorite product for this is CHRISTIAN DIOR Crème Abricot. Put it in at night and your cuticles will be like new in the morning,” says Mazz Hanna, professional nail artist and CEO of Nailing Hollywood.

6. Seal the Edges

Make sure to apply the nail polish all the way to the edges and tips of the nails. This will create a seal and prevent water or other substances from getting underneath and causing lifting or chipping.

7. Don’t Skimp on Drying Time

Allow ample drying time: Patience is key when it comes to allowing your nail polish to dry thoroughly. Wait for each coat to dry completely before adding another layer or applying a top coat. This will prevent smudging, denting, or premature chipping.

DAZZLE DRY is the perfect option for those who are looking for something that will last longer than regular polish at home and don’t want the maintenance of gel. It also dries completely in five minutes, which makes it an amazing option for those who are used to gel but want to take a break,” says Hanna. If you’re frustrated with drying time, this is the perfect nail polish brand to try for your next mani. It dries quickly and has strong staying power.

8. Apply a Top Coat

A high-quality top coat is essential for long-lasting and chip-resistant nail polish. It adds an extra layer of protection, enhances the shine, and helps to prevent chipping. Reapply a thin layer of top coat every few days to maintain the longevity of your manicure.

“If you have naturally weak nails, opt for a polish or top coat with a little bit of extra strength. Builder in a Bottle by ORLY is a great way to add strength to your natural nails to keep your manicure lasting longer. If you’re not into gel nail polish, Shining Armor by ORLY is an incredible top coat that dries fast and keeps your polish in place for over a week,” says Hanna.

9. Protect Your Nails From Wear

Remember, your nails are not tools! Wear rubber gloves while washing dishes or doing anything that may expose your nails to water, chemicals, or abrasive surfaces. This will help to shield your manicure from potential damage.

“Wear gloves and skip soaking in hot water for a long period of time, as both gel polish and lacquer don't do well with being in hot water for a long time. If you wash dishes, make sure you use gloves to protect them from peeling. Long, hot baths can also lift your gel polish a bit, causing them to chip easier—so watch out with those,” warns Nguyen.

You should also avoid things like opening boxes or picking at intricate things in an effort to not chip your polish in between visits to the nail salon.

10. Moisturize Your Hands and Nails Frequently

Keeping your nails and cuticles moisturized is important for healthy nails and long-lasting polish. Apply a nourishing hand cream and cuticle oil regularly to prevent dryness and brittleness, which can lead to chipping.

By following these tips and incorporating them into your nail care routine, you can significantly extend the life of your nail polish and enjoy beautiful, chip-free nails for days on end.

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Article Last Updated November 7, 2023 12:00 AM