If you've ever worn nail polish, chances are you've been faced with chips, flakes, and general peeling. There's nothing worse than finding you manicure just isn't lasting after you'd had it done. A common theme among people who love getting their nails done is that they just wish their nail polish could last longer.
Thankfully for there are plenty of things you can do to help give your manicure a longer life. There isn't one simple solution that'll fix your manicure in place, but there are a few different things that all help add up to longer lasting nail polish.
How To Make Your Nail Polish Last Longer
Chipping your fresh manicure is a nightmare. One minute your nails are looking chic and perfect, and the next they're starting to flake. The worst part is, once that barrier has been broken, there's no saving the manicure. One chip can lead to more flaking and before you know it, your nail polish has started to peel away.
There's no set timeframe that nail polish should last, but if you're careful with your prep, care and maintenance you can help your manicure last 2-3 weeks. Traditional nail polish doesn't usually last quite as long as gel polish. When it comes to regular polish even the best nail polish set is unlikely to be able to compete with gel polish. With special care, you'll be able to get longer out of your manicure, whether it's classic polish or gel based.
Follow these top tips to make your nail polish last longer.
Prep Your Nails Before You Begin
One of the secrets to a long-lasting manicure is to properly prepare your nail. Cleaning, trimming, filing and buffing each nail is good starting point.
Before beginning your manicure, it helps to soak your hands in warm, soapy water. This removes excess oils which helps the polish adhere to the nail better. Soaking your hands also softens your cuticles, which makes them easier to push back. It's a good idea to push back your cuticles and avoid getting nail polish on them, as painting your cuticles can increase the chance of the nail polish breaking down.
It's best to shape your nails before you paint them. If you shape them after you've painted them, it makes the polish more likely to chip and break down.
Trim your nails, then gently file them to their desired shape. Using a high quality nail file, drag it along the tip of your nail in the same direction every time. This helps keep the integrity of your nails and keeps them from weakening.
The last step before painting is to lightly buff the top of the nail to create a smooth surface and remove any residual oils.
Upgrade To Gel Nail Polish
Gel polish is a much stronger alternative to standard nail polish. It's slightly thicker than standard nail polish and instead of being air-dried, it needs to be set using UV light. The curing process makes the polish chip and flake resistant, and providing it's fully cured, it won't smudge either.
As a rule, gel manicures should last around two weeks if they are properly cared for, but if you use the best gel nail polish UK, you can sometimes get 3+ weeks of chip-free nails. High quality gel nail polish creates a durable manicure that won't budge.
Perfect Your Application Technique
Sometimes the key to a good manicure is all in how it's applied. It's important to check how the product you're working with should be used. Both traditional and gel nail polish benefit from a base coat and a topcoat, but these must be compatible with the products you're using. Gel top and base coats should be used to gel polish and ordinary nail polish top and base coats should be used with ordinary nail polish.
Start your application using a thin layer of base coat, and only move onto the next coat when each coat is dried or cured. Thick layers of nail polish are much harder to set for a strong finish, so keep each coat thin. You may need 2-3 coats of your colour of choice, and when that's dry/cured, finish with a layer of topcoat.
Seal The Deal
When you have a manicure at a salon, you might notice they paint your nails slightly differently. A professionally trained manicurist will paint the free edge at the tip of your nail to help seal the polish. To do this yourself, invest in a super fine nail brush to paint the edge neatly, without letting the nail polish run onto your skin.
learn more painting your nails perfectly
You can also neaten the edges of the nail polish and create a smooth curve shape close to, but not touching, the cuticle.
Allow Your Nail Polish to Properly Cure
For the first 24 hours after you've painted your nails, they still need to cure. This is true of both traditional style nail polish and gel polish. Even if your nail polish is dry or your gel polish has been cured with UV, you need to take extra care for the next day.
This means you need to avoid soaking or steaming your nails soon after having them done. Try not to wash up the same day as a manicure or have a hot shower. To avoid these things, you could have your manicure late in the day and do the washing up or have a shower earlier on.
Wear Gloves to Clean
The fewer things you expose your nails to, the longer the nail polish will last. Even using the best nail polish set won't make you immune to to chips if you don't protect your hands.
To keep your fingernails in tip top condition, invest in rubber gloves for all cleaning, even if you're just giving your bathroom a quick wipe down. Have a pair of rubber gloves in every room that contains a sink, and put them on every time you have the desire to scrub.
Avoid Staining The Nails
Peeling polish isn't the only way to ruin a manicure. Staining your nail polish can be just as unsightly as chips and flaking.
Exposing your nails to beauty products like lip stains and hair dyes can alter the colour of your polish. Lighter polish is especially susceptible to stains so take extra care with pastels and shades of white.
Cosmetics aren't the only things that can deposit colour, certain spices can also change the way your polish looks. Turmeric, cayenne pepper and curry powder are all guilty of messing up a manicure or two.
If you can't keep these household items away from your nails, then consider wearing gloves when you're exposed to them.
Taking proper care of your hands and nails has been known to help make your nail polish last longer. This means you should give yourself chance to cleanse and moisturise your hands properly. Avoid harsh soaps that strip the oils from your skin and apply hand cream regularly.
For an extra bit of moisture and to give you silky soft hands, consider investing in some intensive moisturiser to apply before bed, then wear cotton gloves to sleep in. This helps lock in the moisture and keep your hands in great condition.
Using cuticle oil is also great for nail and cuticle health. It keeps your manicure looking fresh and your cuticles hydrated. Apply a drop of cuticle oil to each nail a few times a day and massage in.
Skip The Solvents
This might seem obvious, but using solvents is a big no-no. Lots of solvents dissolve traditional nail polish, and some will dissolve gel polish too. Where possible avoid using them altogether, but if you absolutely must, wear gloves.
Solvents like acetone can degrade all types of nail polish, but they can also degrade some materials that disposable gloves are made of. Do your homework and make sure your gloves can withstand being used alongside the solvent you're dealing with.
Don't Use Your Hands as Tools
Beautiful nails are meant to be admired like jewels instead of used as tools. This means you should avoid using your bare hands or any part of your nails to complete certain tasks.
Opening ring pulls can be very hash on your manicure and even chip the nail itself, not just the polish. Instead, use a spoon to lift the ring, then slide your finger in to open. Peeling things can also be an issue, alongside opening parcels and packages. Keep tools on hand to use instead of your nails or ask someone else for help. Scissors are great for taking over the jobs you might have let your nails do in the past. Even opening the foil on bottles of wine or peeling the tape on parcels should be done with scissors.
Helping your nail polish last longer takes a bit of work and forethought. Providing you're mindful of how you're using your hands and what your nails are exposed to, you should get the most out of your manicure.
Take the steps listed above to keep those nails looking fresh for longer.