5 Ways You’re Secretly Ruining Your Manicure

Caitlin S. Miller
manicure tips story

Photo: ImaxTree

There’s almost nothing more satisfying than looking down at a set of freshly painted and manicured nails. And if you’re like us, you want this feeling to last for as long as possible, because let’s be real, there’s no heartache quite like noticing that first chip. Unless you’re getting gel each week (which we don’t recommend), it’s nearly impossible to maintain perfect tips for more than a few days. According to celebrity manicurist Deborah Lippmann, there are a few common manicure mistakes you’re likely making that are seriously cutting down the wear of your polish. Which ones are you guilty of making?

You’re doing chores without gloves.
Gloves are an essential for walking outside during winter, but did you know you should also be wearing gloves while doing some basic chores around the house? Now we’re not saying you need to go full-on mittens, but rubber gloves are actually key in preserving your polish. When you’re doing the dishes or using cleaning products, wear gloves to protect the luster and wear of your manicure, says Lippmann. “Try to keep your nails free and clear of anything oily or greasy as this will cause nail color to wear away quicker,” she adds.

You’re using the tips of your nails to open things.
OK, we’re all guilty of this one, but using the very tips of your nails to open everything from the mail to that can of Diet Coke is seriously rough on your mani. In fact, using your digits as tools can even tear or break the nail. However, if a break does occur, whatever you do don’t peel it! “If your nail breaks or tears unexpectedly, your instinct might be to gnaw at the uneven edge, but this is causing harm to your cuticle and the surrounding skin,” explains Lippmann. “Instead, keep a nail file on hand at all times to fight these urges.”

You’re filing a chipped nail wrong.
“Filing and shaping nails may seem like a mindless activity, but it can actually weaken and break your nails if done improperly,” says Lippmann. To prevent breaking, she say never “saw” back and forth on the tip of the nail. Instead, gently run the file across the nail in one direction, beginning at the outside edge and pulling towards the center and repeating, she says. “If your nails are thinner and have the tendency to peel or break, be especially careful while filing,” she says. “Rather than holding the file flush to the nail, tilt it so it is underneath. This allows you to see exactly what you are doing and helps protect against over filing.”

You’re not moisturizing.
You’d never skip a day of moisturizing your face, so why would you treat the skin around your nails any differently? “It wouldn’t occur to most women to wash their face and not apply a moisturizer, but they wash hands over and over and don’t apply hand lotion!” she says. To remedy this dryness problem, Lippmann advises keeping a hand lotion that hydrates and protects your skin at every sink in your home, at your office desk, and in your purse. She likes deborah lippmann Rich Girl SPF 25 Hand Cream ($28, sephora.com).  “Easy access is key because when adding a step to any routine, often times, out of sight means out of mind,” she adds.

You’re not touching up. 
If you’re really keen on keeping a mani lasting and lasting, maintenance is your friend. Reapplying a top coat every 2-3 days is an ideal way to ensure strength in nails. Just be sure to use thin coats when doing so as too much top coat can lead polish to peel right off, cautions Lippmann.

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