Expert Advice: How to Make Your Manicure Last Longer?

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How to Make Manicure Last Longer

Just applied that polish and bang! What have you done to deserve a horrible fate of a freshly-painted, yet chipped polish? WHY?! Why now? Right before that big date/best party of the year/important meeting/I just really liked that manicure! I bet it was due to one of the small yet fatal mistakes we’re talking about today.

After many years of painting nails and mounting frustrations with all that pesky chipping, subsequent research, perfecting product combinations and techniques and trying product combinations and techniques on friends (just to make sure they’re REALLY working), has led to the following priceless, precious, and super-effective tips.

5 Easy Tips on How to Make Manicure Last:

1. Treat Those Babies Right!
The thing that I have found to be one of the most effective in making a manicure last more than a day or two are strong, healthy nails. With proper care, maintenance, and not treating your tips like Swiss army knives (Essie says it best “Your nails are jewels, not tools!”), a manicure should last about a week to 10 days.

Some vital nail care tips include:

  • Daily moisturization: Apply cuticle oil at least twice a day. I keep bottles in my purse, at my desk, and by my bed. There’s never a bad time for come cuticle oil. A healthy, happy, soft cuticle promotes nail growth. This will also prevent cuticles from cracking and tearing, and give you less reason to…
  • Pick!: Seriously, just don’t! So bad. Pain, bleeding, tearing, possible infections. And then what good would polish do? This also makes acetone like hot lava – good luck with that. Picking also causes polish to begin lifting. Keeping something in your hands can also help curtail this habit.
  • Regular manicures: Nails should be given a proper 5-star manicure every two weeks (once a week if your poor nails need some rehab). Soften cuticles, push back, exfoliate and don’t forget to moisturize those cuticles – after your mani, of course.

2. Prep, prep, prep!
One of the keys to making a manicure last, no matter what the product, is nail prep. Product adhesion is dependent on a clean, dry, and well-prepared nail plate. Always start by softening and gently pushing back cuticles, lightly buffing the nail plate and edges (get those pesky little hangers!), and then dehydrate the bejeezus out of those nails. Using pure acetone and a brush, clean each nail – cuticle, nail plate, free edge, and under the nail – to remove all excess oil and debris.

3. Be a Product Snob.
When it comes to nail polish brands, I’m an equal-opportunity polish buyer – that is, if it’s pretty, I want it. Except, of course, when you’re talking base and top coats. Let’s talk base coat. Rubberized and bonding is the way to go. My absolute go-to base coat is Orly Bonder. When I discovered this product for the first time, it was a total re-awakening. If anything is going to hold that polish down, it’s this bad boy. Applies thin, dries super quick, and I swear a bottle lasts a million years. Top coat? While that’s a much discussed (and often disagreed upon) topic, my tried-and-true baby will always be Seche Vite.  While it’s notorious for shrinkage, when used right, this can be avoided (read: how to avoid top coat shrinkageand the benefits are worth it.

A great alternative to this combination is the Sephora Formula X The System, which, in my experience, has all the benefits of Seche Vite, without the shrinkage.

4. Round Nails Are Happy Nails!
We all love square tip at one time or another. But in the long run, I’ve found chances of breaking, catching, and chipping are reduced drastically when there are no sharp corners. Even if you still like a flat edge, rounding the corners makes a huge difference (like on the photo above). Less broken nails, less chipped polish.

5. Lastly, and most importantly…
GLOVES. Seriously, people, I can’t say this enough. Get some dish gloves. Get two pairs. Maybe five. I’m seriously serious. Because holes happen. And then nails soak in water and then… chip, chip! So use gloves. When you’re doing chores, using chemicals, washing dishes (especially washing dishes). Anything that brings those precious nails in contact with water or chemicals for an extended period of time – USE. GLOVES. Soaking polish and nails in water is never a good thing. This softens both your nails and the polish, which loosens the bond, and compromises everything you’re trying to maintain. So yeah… YOU REALLY NEED SOME GLOVES. I’m not kidding here.

Putting all of these easy tips into practice will help you make your manicure last much, much longer. Plus, without extra effort, you can improve the health of your hands and nails significantly.

What are your tips for a long lasting mani? Did we miss anything?

Gena del Portillo,
Professional Nail Artist, Florida
Photos: Maria Vlezko.

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  • Thank you Gena! I loved reading this post. Not only because it was entertaining, but it enforces these importance of these yet simple rules. It doesn’t hurt to have a kindly reminder once in a while to keep me on track for pretty nails. I’m much more diligent with my cuticle oil application these days (I have a bottle at work, beside the bed, and in my bag) however my weakness is i pick, bite, chop those pesky dry hang nails. I discovered Orly Bonder by chance and I’ve still got my mini bottle… it lasts FOREVER. definitely a devotee now. I like to combine this with Posche top coat, i find these work as well if not better than Seche, I also find Posche doesn’t smell as strong as Seche Vite does (each to their own preferences).

    I’m also going out to buy 100 pair of gloves this afternoon. Thank you again xoxo

  • Paulina Piskorz

    I always use method presented here http://www.listonic.com/protips/get/icbjdxsdue
    This way, my nail polish remains unscathed for over a week. I hope it will be helpful

    • Great tip Paulina! Thanks for sharing! I guess it serves the same purpose as acetone does – dehydrating your nails before mani. x

      • Paulina Piskorz

        You’re welcome, Maria :)

  • I have the strange feeling I’ve already read this exact text in the past… but maybe because those are great tips!

    • Agree! How many times we’ve heard about the gloves. But then how many of us actually use them? ;) So it’s nice to be reminded about some good-old nail care tricks while learning new tips too. For instance, ORLY Bonder, I haven’t tried that base yet but I’m keen to give it a go!

  • you are spot on about gloves, I keep telling my Mum to wear gloves and not complain about chipping, but she just won’t wear them !

  • Katrkr

    Good tip, not really rocket science ;) but worth saying again and again .. My new favorite is Nail Pattern Boldness Digital Hydration basecoat and Digital Flash topcoat!! (found at Edgy Polish)

  • Rachelle

    I’m surprised there’s nothing here about nail strengtheners. I find for me and I suppose everyone, my nails are much weaker without polish. I just left my fast food job since I’m away at college, but then of course I couldn’t wear polish but my nails broke like crazy! I started using a nail thickener, though it seems somewhat less important with the polish. However, I do notice after a few days a few of my nails have a few light cracks since that’s where they bend. Not sure how to fix that, because they definitely don’t feel weak anymore! But that’s where most of my chipping occurs too, where my nail bends.

    • I think Gena implied the use of strengthener in Part 1, 2 and 3. Giving yourself proper manicures, looking after your nails and using good quality products. But yes, I agree with you 100%! A nail strengthener is a must if you have weak, brittle or dry nails. I used to have the same problem (no more, thanks to Orly Nailtrition). So thank you, Rachelle for emphasising the importance of a good nail strengthener in your nail care routine! x

  • Stacey

    What is the name of the red polish on the picture? It’s beautiful!

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