Make Your Manicure Last Longer: The REAL Secrets You Didn’t Know

So, you nailed it. You got a gorgeous manicure and were feeling ready to flaunt your nail art then BAM! After hours of work, your manicure starts chipping. Your flawless style is quickly turning to a total mess.

Whether it’s been an hour or a day since your manicure, no one wants to watch all of their hard work disappear into countless scratches, chips, and tears. The good news is that you can make your nail polish last for two weeks with the right tricks.

Here’s how to do a professional manicure - step by step.


How to Prep Nails for Manicure

Want to know how to make nail polish not chip? One of the most crucial steps actually starts long before you pull out the long-lasting nail polish. Preparation is everything if you want to make your manicure last longer. Steal a few tricks from the pros to do a true manicure rather than just a polish swap. 

Shape THEN Soak

If you soak your nails then file them, you are going to end up with nails that split and tear. It’s key to do the shaping and filing first. This is doubly true if you want to grow long nails. Soaking them is helpful for your cuticles but it softens nails far too much to endure a file.

After you’ve done your shaping but BEFORE you touch your cuticles, prep your nail bath. Rather than harsh lemons or chemical mixtures, opt for a nourishing bath blend.

Add a few drops of oil to hydrate and soften your cuticles. Almond or jojoba oil are great, but any oil will work. Leave them in the bath for five minutes then pat dry.

Pro Tip: While cutting your cuticles is a quick fix for making them look better, it’s not the best long-term solution. You risk infection and will always end up with a swollen look. Keep it simple with an orangewood stick and gently push back your cuticles. Once you start doing this regularly, you’ll find there’s very little dry skin to deal with around your nails.

Or Rethink the Soak

If your cuticles are in decent condition, you can probably actually skip the soak. If it’s been a while since your last manicure, soak your cuticles to push them back. Afterwards, wait as long as possible before polishing your nails.

While you need your cuticles to be dry and subtle for removal, you actually want nail beds that are as dry as a bone when it is time to start polishing.

For a long-lasting manicure, it’s important that the surrounding area isn’t swollen (which happens after warm water exposure). You will also want the nail itself completely free of oils and moisture of any kind. 

File Your Nails the Right (or Left!) Way 

While it’s a hard habit to break, it’s important to not file your nails back and forth. To prevent breakage, always file your nails in one single direction. Creating a seesaw motion will weaken your nails and increase your odds of breakage.

Avoid actually cutting your nails at all. The dramatic snap caused by a nail clipper creates damage that increases your odds of getting a break or a crack. Patiently work through the process of slowly working away with a file on them.

The only exception is if you have a hangnail. These must be trimmed (and resist the urge to bite them!). Before you do any cutting though, be careful to fully sanitise your tools,

Decide On Your Length

The shorter that your nails are, the longer your manicure will last. Opt for the shortest style that you are comfortable with or consider artificial nails (which make your manicure last longer too!).

Watch this video for a great natural look that is both long-lasting and ultra-flattering. Do be sure to take your time following these steps for correctly filing your nails.

Doing your manicure properly will make it stay looking beautiful for much longer. Think of it as a chill meditation time when you can just focus on self-care than treating healthy nail care as a chore you’ve just got to rush through. 

If you want to go for a longer nail, opt for a round nail shape. This is the nail shape that is least likely to break so your polish will stay looking fab much longer on an oval or rounded shaped nail. As a bonus, it will also create the effect of slimmer and longer fingers. 

Hydrate Your Nails 

If your nails are ultra dried out, get them well hydrated before you start your manicure. If you can, opt to use nail oil and a strong cream the night before.

Dehydration is a major cause of chips and breakage but timing is key. If your nails are too lubed up when you start your manicure, it won’t adhere as well. Plan accordingly. 

While there are some great brands out, all your hands and nails really need is Vitamin E. Whether you go DIY or buy a department store brand, get your hands on something with natural Vitamin E-rich oils. The best oils are almond, jojoba, sunflower, oil, or coconut oil.

Clean Your Nails

Just before you actually start doing your nail polish, use an astringent or primer to get rid of any oils or excess moisture on the surface. You might have heard that vinegar is one of the best tricks to make your manicure last longer. While experts say it does help, the real magic is really just in creating a clean surface.

You’ll see a range of options for nail primers, dehydrators, bonders, and more. If you really want to dive into professional nail care at home, there’s a whole world out there. Here’s an easy and approachable video that will give you super in-depth knowledge. 

How to Make Nail Polish Not Chip

Ready to apply your polish? Here are a few tricks to long-lasting nail polish that will stay flawless day after day. 

Get Set Up Like a Prop

Get off the couch and head to the table! Start by using a stable surface where you can lie your hands flat and keep your elbows up to prevent shaking. Once you are in a stable place, roll the bottle between your palms. Be sure to avoid shaking your nail polish! It’ll create bubbly looking nail polish. 

In general, having a nice setup goes a long way. While you don’t need a dedicated table, you do need something stable. You also need a special place where you can store your nail polish that is dark and cool. Avoid any light sources and heat, including the bathroom. Make sure that your polish bottles are always completely closed and stored upright.

Use the Right Base Coat 

It’s key to use a base coat to make your nail polish last so find one that works overtime. Rather than a basic base, upgrade to a nail rebuilding treatment that will strengthen your nails. Your manicure will last MUCH longer when you aren’t dealing with breaks. If you have ridges in your nails, use a good quality ridge filler before even touching them with polish. 

If you find that base coats and strengtheners just aren’t enough to stop breakage, pair them with a multivitamin or supplement focused on nail growth (these are great for your hair too!). Fragile nails can be a sign of a deficiency or unlying medical issue. If you’ve noticed a dramatic change, chat with your doctor about it.  A quick test can help you ID any nutrients you may be lacking your body.

How Much Nail Polish to Use

Experts swear by thin coats. Less is more at every stage so apply a very thin layer then let it dry and add a second coat. That means from your nail rebuilding treatment starter to your two coats of long-lasting nail polish to your top coat, you’ve got a total of four layers.

Pro Tip: Got nail polish that is going on really thick? Fix it! Did you know that beauty supply stores sell nail polish thinner that will instantly de-goop your polish? You only need a couple of drops to salvage your nail polish so a bottle of nail polish thinner will last you for ages. 

How to Paint Your Nails 

After you do the final coat, add a horizontal swipe along the top edge of the nail. If you can make time for it, wait another two minutes and add a second horizontal coat to your thumb and index finger as they tend to be more prone to chipping.

Your goal is to only use three strokes to cover your entire nail. Go to the left, right, then down the middle with the brush. Avoid making a million little dots. Long, slow, steady strokes for the win! 

How Long to Wait Between Coats of Nail Polish

When you are polishing, wait a full two minutes between each coat. It’s a good idea here to turn on a tv show you love or something else engaging so you aren’t just sitting there waiting and feeling tempted to rush things along.

Use the Right Top Coat 

While it’s important to invest in good quality products for your nails, it's especially important to splurge on the very best top coat. A good quality top coat is really the most essential part of a long-lasting manicure.

Pro Tip: Consider using a gel top coat. You can actually use normal polish underneath the top coat with a gel top coat. You will need a UV light, but it’s an investment that’ll quickly pay off. Plus, if you opt for just a top coat in gel, it’s much easier to remove at home than a full gel manicure;


How Do You Make Your Nail Polish Stay On Longer After A Manicure?

Whether you did an at-home manicure or went to the salon, even the best long-wearing nail polish can chip if it’s not treated well. Here’s how to make your manicure last for more than a week. 

Keep up the Top Coat 

Apply a premium quality top coat every other day. This will add gloss to your manicure and preventing chipping. You just need one thin coat and you’ll be good to go. While a lot of ladies are tempted to skip this step, it’s so worth it. Investing in a good top coat and you’ll have flawless nails 365 days per year. 

Wear Gloves 

Whether you are cleaning or washing the dishes, wear gloves. The longer that your nails are exposed to water and other liquids, the more likely they are to break. Keep them protected at all times. If you find gloves annoying, use a dish brush rather than a sponge to avoid a bit of extra water exposure.

Tip: While wearing a pair of gloves can be annoyingly uncomfortable, having the right pair will make all of the difference. Opt for gloves that have a cotton interior rather than those clammy disposable plastic gloves. Have a pair for washing dishes and a pair for general cleaning around the house.

Make it Work!

Got a chip on your fab manicure? Get creative! Glitter nail polish will add new life to your manicure and cover any chips. Invest in a diverse collection of glitter polish and you’ll always be ready.

Got a friend who loves having gorgeous nails? Share this guide on How to Do a Professional Manicure - Step by Step. And, if you’re feeling inspired to upgrade your nail game, check us out on Facebook for exclusive discounts on long-lasting nail polish.

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