With spring finally here, we’re ready to break out our fresh bright manicures and pedicures, but is there anything more frustrating than investing an afternoon at the salon only to see our nails chipped the very next day? Keep those nails looking glamorous as long as possible with these expert tricks and tips.
1. Don’t soak for long before polishing.
Soaking expands the nail plate, so if you polish then, the adhesion slips after the nail dries out and contracts again, says Nailtini celebrity manicurist Elsbeth Schuetz. For the same reason, don’t use soap or lotion on nails before polishing. Better yet, wipe the nails clean just before polishing with pure acetone to completely prime the surface and remove all oils, filing dust and residue that can affect adhesion.
2. Never skip a top coat.
“To extend the life of a manicure, I advise applying a coat of high gloss top coat, such as JINsoon Top Gloss ($18, jinsoon.com), over your existing nail polish three days after getting a manicure. Don’t forget to touch up the tip of nails! This too will extend the life of your polish application,” says Jin Soon Choi, editorial manicurist and founder of the JINsoon nail lacquer line and Jin Soon Hand & Foot Spas in NYC.
3. Protect your hands.
Use gloves while gardening and doing dishes to help protect your polish from chipping and lifting. “Gloves will also help protect your cuticles from drying out due to soil and moisture,” says Crystal Richards, spa manager and director of marketing of the Style Bar Day Spa in Palm Beach.
4. Apply cuticle oil every night.
This helps to prevent your cuticles from drying out. “Applying cuticle oil prevents hangnails and dry cuticles which can cause polish to peel and chip. It also keeps your fingers and tootsies looking picture perfect,” says Richards.
5. Hydration is important—that includes your toes!
“The secret to achieving a long-lasting pedicure is to apply moisturizer daily. Wearing flip flops regularly contributes to dry and dirty feet, which can ruin a pedi within a week. Cuticles begin to look dry and chipping may occur,” says AWAY Spa at W Austin‘s Spa Director Candice Betz. Applying moisturizer after a shower or soak provides instant hydration & protection from daily assault.
The best way to moisturize feet is with a bit of warmed lotion. “It takes an extra minute to prepare, yes, and it’s so worth the effort. Drop about 5 pumps worth of lotion (or roughly 3 tablespoons of body butter or cream) in a microwaveable glass container. Cover and microwave for 5-10 seconds. Work quickly, as it cools down right away, and enjoy the indulgence of warm cream nourishing the skin. It relaxes the nervous system as it softens skin and cuticles,” says Betz.
Read more: 10 Nail Polish Colors Every Woman Should Own