Does anything make you feel quite as polished and put together as a fresh manicure? I fully believe that with cleaned-up cuticles, shaped nails, and a brand new coat of paint, we are better equipped to take on the world. But nothing, and I repeat nothing makes me feel jankier than walking around with nail polish that is chipping and peeling. If we are lucky, there are about two weeks in between this quick turnaround—which isn’t a lot of time—but what if we could make the glory last just a little bit longer? I did a deep dive to find the best manicure tips because I’ll do anything to extend the hard-earned time and cash that goes into one, and I’m willing to bet you would too.
1. Use cuticle oil
If you use cuticle oil already, I commend you. I feel like not many people actually do, but maybe hearing that it is one of the best manicure tips of all time will convince you to start—it has for me, at least. To maintain healthy nails and a lasting manicure, we should be using cuticle oil daily, but this is an especially crucial step right after your polish is dry. The vitamins in the oil will keep your nails and cuticles moisturized and less likely to break and tear, which ultimately prevents your mani from being disturbed. If you don’t feel like going out and buying cuticle oil specifically, no worries—you can use coconut oil and olive oil directly from your pantry.
2. Avoid applying too many coats
Base coat and top coat aside, you should only be applying 1-3 coats of your color of choice. If you go beyond that, your polish is more prone to chipping off all in one piece. Unless you like a sheer look like Hailey Bieber, avoid choosing a color that needs multiple coats in order to see color payoff. Keep this in mind when you head to the salon—either pick a color that would only need one or two coats OR communicate to your manicurist that you don’t want to go beyond two coats even if it is still sheer.
3. Seal the edges
Have you ever watched your manicurist drag polish horizontally across the top edge of your nail and wondered why? Well, take note because this is one of the ultimate manicure tips. This step seals (or caps) the polish where it is most likely to start chipping. If you’re an at-home manicure girl, make sure that your brush doesn’t have too much polish on it when you go to cap your nails. All you need is a thin layer to seal and protect the edges. Follow this step after your second coat, allow it to dry, and follow up with your top coat to achieve the best results.
4. Refresh your manicure with a topcoat
I know I said don’t apply too many coats of colored nail polish, but this is different! When it comes to topcoat, you should reapply every two or three days. This coat will add a fresh layer of protection to your nail polish and help maintain its strength. You can even do this with a gel manicure if you have a UV light at home. For best results, apply a thin layer of topcoat across your entire nail and then seal the edges with a thin layer. If you have gel polish on, lightly buff your nails, wipe off the top layer with rubbing alcohol, re-apply topcoat, and cure under a UV light.
5. Wear gloves when cleaning
You should wear gloves anytime you are using harsh cleaning products to protect your hands, but it is especially important to wear them when you are trying to get the most out of your manicure. If you’ve ever scrubbed a shower with foamy bleach or used detergent to go at a mean stain without gloves, you will be familiar with dried-out hands and nails. Trust me, your manicure won’t stand a chance. So to keep the peace with your polish, throw on some gloves before you get to work.
6. Avoid hot water
If you’ve ever run your hands under hot water to soften up and remove your gel polish (me), then you will be familiar with this. When hot water seeps underneath and around your polish, it starts to lift up and peel, so avoid hot water for long periods of time. This includes hot water in the shower, hot water when washing your hands or the dishes, and hot water in the tub. Don’t worry though, you can still indulge in self-care time in the bathtub, but just make sure that you keep your nails out of the water to protect your polish.