10 Tricks For Making Your Nail Polish Last Longer

Augusta Falletta

at home manicure

The day we figure out how to make manicures last as long as pedicures will be cause for celebration, but until that day comes, we’ll take every tip and trick in the book to make our nail polish last longer. Our hands go through a lot during the day (makeup application, typing on keyboards, washing dishes, and so on), and poor manicures don’t stand a chance.

Luckily, there are little known tricks to making your nail polish last longer — besides just applying top coat every two days. Here, we share with you 10 tricks for making your manicure stand the test of time, or at least for a week.

1. Shorter nails: When your nails are long, the tips are more exposed and you tend to use them for all they’re worth (peeling off stickers, putting keys on key rings, etc.), putting them in harm’s way. Short nails are shorter than the tip of your finger, meaning that your finger, not the polish, will take the brunt of any activity that could create chips.

2. Invest in the best top coat: Everyone’s got their favorites, but we swear by Formula X for Sephora Top Coat, which consistently keeps our polish chip-free for at least a week. If you only do one thing to make your manicure last, it’s got to be using a good top coat.

MORE: Tips to Removing a No Chip Manicure

3. Use gloves: Washing dishes (or cleaning your apartment) without gloves on can completely destroy your manicure. The water and soap can dry out the manicure, making it less shiny and likely to chip. Get yourself a sturdy pair of rubber gloves to protect your nails from danger.

4. Allow for enough dry time: Smudges and dings during dry time ruin all the hard work you just put in to your at home manicure. A good way to tell if your nails are dry is to make your pinky nails face each other, then gently touch them together. If you pull them apart and they feel slightly tacky, your nails still need time to try. If they don’t stick to each other at all, you’re good to get moving.

5. Seal the edge: If you’re applying a top coat without sealing the edge of your nail, that’s exactly where you’re going wrong. The edge of the nail takes the brunt of the polish beating, so make sure you’re protecting it with a good cover of clear polish.

6. Keep your nails healthy: Ridges? Peeling? Breakage? Fix your nail problems and you’ll keep your manicure lasting longer for sure. Find a good ridge filler or nail strengthener depending on what you need to fix, then work them into your beauty routine to keep your nails in tip top shape all the time.

MORE: The 10 Best Navy Blue Nail Polishes

7. Go for thinner strokes: We know it can be tempting to pack on the polish, but too-thick nail polish can tend to peel off, making the life of your manicure incredibly shorter. Go for thinner strokes, getting just enough polish on the brush that you don’t overload your nails.

8. File in one direction: It doesn’t matter which direction, but make sure you’re filing each nail either to the left or to the right, never back and forth. Alternating directions weakens the nail, making it more prone to breakage and peeling.

9. Stay away from hand sanitizer: The alcohol in hand sanitizer can dry out your nails and polish, making them dull and ready to chip. Instead, go for a mild hand soap and warm water when possible.

10. Stop soaking your nails: Soaking your nails in water at the nail salon (or at home) causes the nail to absorb water, expanding their natural shape. Once your nails are polished, the water evaporates and your nails contract, which causes the polish to chip and crack.

Image via Jamie Grill/Getty Images