How to Make a Manicure Last Longer

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From choosing the color, to painting our nails, to waiting for them to dry—we put in a lot of effort to get our manicure to look just right. Even if you don’t do the labor and opt for a professional’s help, it’s still just as devastating when it chips after a day (or worse, in just a couple of hours). Luckily, there are tips that can help make you nail polish stay on just a little longer, and it starts before the color ever goes on.

First, make sure that your nails are clean and buffed pre-polish. “It’s really important that the natural nail be prepared properly and that a good manicure is given,” says Custom Nail Solutions president Katie Saxton. “The most important step is buffing. The natural nail bed needs to be buffed thoroughly to remove the bumps and cracks.” Rococo Nail Apparel founders Ange and Vernice Walker agree, saying to, "Gently buff the nail plate with a white block, paying special attention to the cuticle area."

Just like with hair color, healthy, clean nails hold nail polish better than weak ones that bend and flex, so wipe your nails with nail polish remover to get rid of any excess oil, then apply a base polish that acts as a treatment like Rococo Superbase Treatment ($16.50). It prolongs the life of your manicure and prevents discoloration.

Another great tip—avoid creamy or opaque nail polish because the dense pigment makes it harder for the polish to grab onto your nail. Plus, dark polishes are more likely to show any nicks or chips. If you want a worry-free manicure, try a lighter shade, or for staying power, choose a metallic nail polish because "the glitter particles grip," says the Rococo founders. 

They add that when painting your nails, a great tip is to “cap” or create a shell over the tips of your nails with polish. "Round it to the edge and coat the end so you’re creating a shell over the nail." This helps to prevent chips. Then follow with a liberal coat of topcoat to seal in the color.

A routine you can adopt to give your beautiful nails lasting power is to apply a coat of quick dry nail polish a day after you initially paint your nails. Then apply a drop of cuticle oil every night to keep your nails moisturized and healthy. It’s also a good idea to wear gloves when doing chores like washing dishes or cleaning.

Another great way to get a lasting manicure is to create custom press-on nails. Custom Nail Solutions sends you a kit to create an impression of your nails that is used to make an artificial nail that’s unique to you. They’re guaranteed to never chip, crack, stain or yellow and they can be painted any color.

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  • Anna F.

    Great question, Anon! We really like using Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat and Milani Glossé Top Coat. Hope this helps.

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  • Anon

    Nice! Whats a great topcoat you suggest??

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