Tips and Tricks To Make Your Manicure Last Longer

Last Updated on September 15, 2021
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written by nail expert Jess Rowley

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Here’s how to Make Your Nail Polish Last Longer

Nail polish will finish off any look, complimenting what you’re wearing and making you feel good even while doing the most basic of things- like grocery shopping.

But have you ever walked out of the salon or gone out after painting a fresh set of nails then 5 minutes later they’ve chipped?

We’ve all seen the scene of going to grab your car keys and catching your nail then your once flawless nails minutes later chipped. I feel your pain girl- nothings worse!

Everyone has experienced the short-lived manicure, but what does it take to make them go the distance? There is a chance you’re missing out on a couple of steps.

With so many nail polish manufacturers using cheap formulas to save an extra buck you may find your nails constantly chipping no matter how old the bottle is.

But here’s the good news.

After many hours of research, I can finally tell you that I’ve found tips to preserve your nail polish that actually works.  Some tips actually lasted up to 2 weeks, chip-free! 

Let’s dive into the tips of how we can make polish last much longer and stop pesky chips.

nail polish prep

But how long does nail polish last without chipping? 

Before we get into the top tips to prolong the life of your nail polish let’s answer the question we all want to know, how long does nail polish last?

Truth is, ordinary nail polish usually only lasts a few days before you start to notice the chipping.

However, some long-wear formulas like OPI Nail Lacquer can hold up to 10 days chip-free, they are formulated with ingredients that are much more durable than the next.

But it’s not all about what nail polish you use, it’s also about how you apply it and how you use your hands while the nail polish is on.

If you’re a bit of a germophobe like me and find yourself washing your hands frequently throughout the day this can actually reduce the life span of your manicure, but it varies from person to person.

But here are some tips on how to prep, apply, and maintain your manicure to get the most out of your nails.

Proper Preparation and application

Properly prepping your nails is the most important thing to make your manicure at longer. If you have nail polish on, use nail polish remover to remove the previous color then file.

When filing your nails make sure you file in one direction, don’t file back and forth it will just give you a jagged finish.

If you’re not a professional don’t trim your cuticles, it may actually cause them more damage than good as the cuticle is very sensitive.

Instead, push your cuticle back gently and use cuticle remover gel to gently remove the dead skin from your nail plate and cuticle area. Make sure you wash your hands after.

After prepping the nails make sure you use either rubbing alcohol or vinegar on a Q-tip to get rid of any excess oils so your nails are completely clean.

Make sure you use a good quality base coat, not only it will make your manicure longer but it will prevent staining on your natural nail, especially when using vibrant or dark colors.

Apply thin coats of nail polish and always allow a couple of minutes between each layer, this will allow the polish to dry quicker. If you apply thick coats your nails will take much longer to dry meaning they won’t set properly.

Leave a small gap at the cuticle, so you can cover it with the top-coat. This will actually lock in the color so your nail polish is less likely to peel.

Be patient! Between each layer allow at least a couple of minutes for the color to dry before you put a topcoat on.

Invest in a high-quality topcoat, trust me it’s worth it. It will lock in your color better and overall make the polish last longer. Also, reapply the top coat every couple of days to prevent chipping.

After you’ve completed your look make sure you moisturize, leave this till last, and don’t apply beforehand. It is important for your nail to be completely oil-free before your manicure.

Don’t shake your nail polish, EVER!

This is something we all often do and get confused with, but don’t make the mistake of shaking the bottle before applying, it will actually make your nails prone to cracking!

I know shocking right?

By shaking the bottle actually causes air bubbles in the nail polish and therefore makes it prone to cracking. Instead, if you find that your nail polish has separated roll it in your hand or on a hard surface to remix the color.

Skip the soak:

You’ll probably notice the tip to soak your nails in ice water before applying nail polish in order to prolong the mani, but this is a myth. It can actually strip your nails and be damaging.

It will cause your nails to dry out and shrink once dry and make your nails more prone to cracking.

nail polish pink

Make gloves your next best friend:

When doing daily jobs around the house like cleaning or washing dishes it is important to wear gloves, especially after a fresh manicure.

This is because regular exposure to these chemicals can actually break down the nail polish and reduce the life of your mani-pedi. Also, it can be damaging to the nail if you’re always plunging your hands in chemicals and water.

Don’t bite your nails:

Painting your nails may actually be really good for getting out of bad habits like this. Chipping your nails is the last thing you want as a result of biting your nails.

While this habit can be hard to shake, maintaining nail polish may be the best way to get out of these bad habits.

Make sure you dry your nails with cool air:

If you’re impatient like me and often turn to the hairdryer to dry your nails, make sure you use it on a cool setting.

Hot air can actually prevent your nails from drying properly, so either uses the hairdryer on a cool setting or sit in front of a fan until dry.

But what about gel nail polish?

Gel nail polish will definitely last longer than the next nail polish but are there ways I can make it last longer?

Yes definitely, we’ve all heard of the curing process with either a UV or LED light.

All you need to do is cure your nails in between each layer for a minute or 2 so the nail polish can properly set, meaning your nails will last longer.

If you’re a gel lover I would definitely invest in a UV or LED lamp it will shock you the difference it makes to your nails!

Lastly, take care of your hands and nails

The best way to extend the life of your nails is to look after your hands, we often forget the amount of pressure we put our hands through.

So following these tips and looking after your hands you will notice the difference in the life of your nails, trust me.

Also all I recommend is chuck out the cheap nail polish invest in high quality, long-lasting nail polish, the difference will actually shock you. Check out my guide of Best Long Lasting Nail Polish 

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