Keep Them Short
While long nails are lovely, it’s a fact that they don’t hold up as well as shorter cuts do. Shorter nails are less likely to break, chip and peel so opt for this style when clipping and filing.
Choose Your Topcoat Wisely
Choosing to go matte or high shine aren’t the only questions to ask yourself when selecting a topcoat. You’ll want to opt for a formula that boasts chip-resistance, protection, and strengthening—and bonus points if there is a hydrating component, too.
Use the Right Base Coat
We all know that it’s what’s on the inside that counts, right? While many are quick to blame the polish or the topcoat for their manicure woes, the basecoat is equally, if not more important—and it’s a step that many skip over entirely. By using a grippy, strong basecoat, you’ll significantly extend the life and look of your manicure.
Reapply Your Topcoat Every 2-3 Days
Contrary to popular belief, topcoat is not a set-it-and-forget-it type of application. Like most things worthwhile in life, it requires maintenance. For best results and preservation of your mani, reapply your topcoat every two to three days.
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Take Care of Chips Right Away
Ever look at a chipped nail, roll your eyes, get annoyed and then totally forget about it? Yep, us too. But tackling chips when they first happen will help to preserve your manicure in a few ways and the sooner you restore your nails back to a cohesive, flaw-free look, the better. Odds are if you let the chip sit, you just might peel and pick your way into mani-destruction. Also, fixing the chip will prevent it from spreading and getting worse on it’s own.
Protecting your hands from water, harsh household cleaners and any heavy-duty work is always a good idea, but it is an especially important part of protecting your polish, too. Celebrity manicurist Michele Saunders previously told Byrdie readers to avoid damaging their nails and cuticles by wearing quality rubber gloves anytime you engage in handy-work. (See what we did there?)
Skip the Hot Bath
You know how you can get pruny after spending too much time in the pool or bath? Well, just think of what that’s doing to your nails at the same time. Being submerged in water for a significant amount of time can result in moisture seeping in beneath the surface of the polish, which can cause peeling and flaking prematurely.
Although nails are firm to the touch, they are actually made of several layers that have the ability to absorb water. Submerging your hands in water or taking long, hot baths can make the nails expand as they absorb the water. Then, when they dry, they contract. The expanding and contracting can cause the chipping of your polish.
Let Them Dry Properly
Waiting for your nail polish to dry is about as exciting as, well, watching paint dry. But, it’s a necessary evil if you want to preserve your mani. Did you know that most polishes aren’t completely dry for nearly an hour after application? We were surprised, too.
So even though they may feel dry to the touch after a few minutes, or if you’ve had them in the dryer for the recommended amount of time, it’s not really hardened and settled for quite sometime after that. Keep this in mind and tread very carefully while your nails are still wet.
Choose Your Color Wisely
While we love vibrant, deep, dark hues for a statement mani, unfortunately, they are the first to show nail growth, breakage and chipping. So, to make your mani last longer (or at least look good for a bit longer) opt for more mellow colors like pastels and neutrals or even a french manicure.
Paint ONLY Your Nails
It’s not intentional, but sometimes when applying polish, it will bleed onto your cuticles or skin. Try to avoid this at all costs, because it can essentially break the seal between the polish and your nail so that when it comes off your skin or cuticle, it will lift off the nail as well.
This sounds like a no-brainer but is often easier said than done. Even if you’re not a nail biter, biting your cuticles or any skin around the nail can lead to a manicure disaster, so avoid biting or putting your fingers anywhere near your mouth. For many, biting your nails is a subconscious nervous habit. In other words, when you feel the urge to do so, try to focus on your breath instead (three breaths slowly in, three out). There are also foul-tasting topcoats you can try, too.
Read more → Maintain your pedicures last longer!