Wipe with acetone-based remover before you polish
One major trick to keeping a manicure intact is to strip the nail of as much oil prior to applying polish. Keep away from lotion or oil-based moisturizer just before polishing as well.
Bring your own polish to the salon
“Taking your own polish is definitely a good idea, especially when going to a regular neighbourhood salon,” says Mabelyn Martin, a nail artist at Paintbox Nail Studio in New York City. “Lots of those salons use thinner, which makes polish chip quicker.”
Wear gloves when doing the dishes
“Keeping your nails out of warm/hot water is also key in keeping a mani longer,” says Martin. Hot, sudsy water is a recipe for manicure disaster.
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Use a base coat
Head to the local drug store and buy a base coat. The base coat protects your nail and clings to polish, making it last longer than if you simply applied polish first.
Apply top coat every two days – focusing on the tips
Apply an extra layer of top coat every couple days to keep polish from chipping. Then apply an additional layer of topcoat to the very tips of your nails, where the most everyday manicure trauma occurs (think texting, scratching, cooking). Read our 10 Secrets of the Perfect DIY Manicure.
Softer nail shapes last longer
Consider a round to oval shape, according to the nail pros over at Essie. Nails with square edges chip a bit quicker than softer, curvier edges.
Seal the nail edge with polish
Close up the nail edge, where it’s been clipped or filed down, with polish and top coat. This keeps water out and provides a barrier against everyday bangs and dings that would cause a manicure to chip.
Choose a neutral colour
If you know you need the manicure to last late into the week, consider a polish colour that is close to your skin tone. This way, if it does chip, it’s less obvious than a really bright, eye-catching colour.
Apply cuticle oil throughout the week
Brittle nails chip quickly; cuticle oil will prevent the nail from drying out.
Check out other remedies for dry skin.
Get your chores done before the manicure
Dinging your hands while you wash dishes or tidy up around the house is a quick way to chip a fresh manicure. Finish up your chores and then reward yourself with a manicure. When it’s done, flip through a magazine and relax to provide even more time to dry.
Originally published as Make Your Manicure Last a Week or Longer: 10 Tips You’ll Wish You Knew Sooner on ReadersDigest.com.