Professional Tips on How to Make Nail Polish Last Longer

Rugilė Uždavinytė
5 minutes
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Who can say no to a freshly done manicure? There are so many options to choose from, colors to try, and techniques to experiment with. And while many of us are used to regular salon manicures, more and more people are opting for at-home pampering sessions.

At-home manicures can be just as beautiful and long-lasting as professionally done nails, but initially, finding your perfect routine to achieve salon-grade quality can be challenging.

So, in this article, you’ll learn everything about at-home manicures, how to prep your nails to achieve long-lasting results, and how to choose the best products for your nails and manicures.

Let’s start!

Home manicure vs. salon manicure — which is better?

What should you choose – get your manicure at a salon or do it yourself? Here are the pros and cons of an at-home manicure to help you decide.

Pros of a manicure at home

It’s cheaper

Affordability can be at the top of the pros list of at-home manicures. You can easily buy a set of nail care products and polishes for almost the same price as the cost of a month of professional manicures. According to data from different manicurists, doing your nails at a salon can cost anything from 25 to 100+ dollars per manicure.  

While you may need to spend more money on supplies for at-home manicures, those costs are much lower in the long run compared to professional services.

It’s fun

Manicure is a great way to pamper yourself. Painting your nails yourself gives you a sense of achievement, and you can appreciate it more. Also, you can learn different techniques, use various colors, and experiment with your at-home manicures.

Can be healthier for your nails

While you can choose the type of manicure and polish you want when you go to a salon, the most popular choices, such as gel and acrylic manicures, can potentially damage the nails. Also, you can’t be 100% sure whether the nail tech uses only safe and gentle products. When you paint your nails at home, you can select your favorite polishes and ensure they don’t contain harmful ingredients. 
If you’re used to getting gel manicures at a salon, you should also be aware of the risks. Recent studies show that using UV lamps can cause premature skin aging as well as increase your chances of certain skin cancers.

You can do it whenever

A long-lasting manicure is great, but eventually, even the most stunning color or nail art gets boring. When you have your home supplies, you can easily change your nail color whenever you wish and try different techniques or just let your nails rest. Unlike gel or acrylic manicures, traditional nail polish is easier to remove with simple nail polish remover and, therefore, it's less damaging to the nails.

Cons of at-home mani

Long learning curve

Manicure requires a lot of patience and thoroughness. While painting nails with your dominant hand can be manageable, doing the same on the other hand is way more challenging. So, it takes time to avoid sloppy manicures, smudging your nails, and overflowing your cuticles. 

It doesn’t last as long

While the durability of your manicure depends on the technique and products you use, in most cases, a home manicure doesn’t last as long as a professional one. You can extend the duration by getting gel nail polish, dip powder, or acrylic nails at home, but in general, nail polish that doesn't chip doesn't really exist.

Why does my nail polish chip after 2 days?

What can be worse than chipped nail polish after you've spent hours doing your manicure? But sometimes, your nails chipping has nothing to do with your effort. Most commonly, nail polish peels because of three reasons:

Poor-quality products: If you buy very cheap nail polishes and save on top coats, they are unlikely to look good or last long. 

Insufficient preparation: Even if you invest in expensive and quality manicure supplies, not prepping your nails can result in the polish peeling off after a few days. 

External factors: A lot depends on how careful you’re with your nails after finishing the manicure. If you immediately start to deep clean your house or wash a pile of dishes, your manicure likely won’t last more than a few days.

How to make nail polish last longer on natural nails?

Start with a nail prep

The right nail prep can extend your nail polish by several days. While you shouldn’t expect traditional nail polish to last as long as gel, dip powder, or acrylic manicures, you can easily enjoy 7-10 days of a glossy manicure with the proper prep.

File and buff your nails

When you wipe off your old nail polish and clean your nails, file all broken or brittle nail parts. Try to file your nails in one direction to avoid micro damage. 

Even the smallest breakage can expand and cause nail polish to peel off. After filing your nails, you can also buff the top plate to make the surface ruffer for the polish to adhere better. For that, use a special nail buffer to prevent nail damage. 

Clean your nails

Avoid applying oil or water after buffing your nails, as the polish won’t stick well. Instead, use acetone or alcohol solution to wipe off all the dust and dirt leftovers from your nails. While acetone and alcohol can damage the nail, drying the plate will help the polish last longer.

Pick the right base coats

Many people tend to skip this crucial step, but the base coat can determine how well your manicure looks and lasts. The base coat works in a few ways. First, it protects your nail from polish stains. Secondly, it evens out your nail plate so that the polish doesn't flow into nail ridges. And lastly, the base coat can provide better adhesion.

Correct polish application

After the base coat dries, apply the first layer of nail polish. But remember – the application also matters. It’s recommended to use fewer strokes to prevent uneven coverage and bubbles. Don't use too much polish and try to cover the whole nail with one dip, without flooding the cuticles. 

Let the first layer dry for a few minutes before applying the second layer. Letting each coat dry is important as it will reduce the overall drying time and prevent smudges.

When applying the second coat, cover all the parts of the nail and seal the top. The top of the nail is usually the first to peel off, so covering it can prevent those early chip-offs.

Lastly, don’t forget the top coat, which will give you your desired finish. You can choose from different shades, shine levels, and matte finishes. A high-quality top coat can determine how long your manicure will last.

Take care of your cuticles

Cuticles are often forgotten after the initial manicure. However, they are very important in keeping your nails healthy and chip-free. Cuticle is the part of the nail that sits at the base of your nail plate.

After using nail polish and especially acetone, cuticles might dry out and cause your nails to become brittle or break more easily. Avoid that and keep your nails healthy by regularly applying cuticle oil.

What can I put on top of my nail polish to make it last longer?

A top coat can make or break your manicure. So, it’s important to choose the right product. Three main types of top coats are:

  • Long-lasting and gel-like top coats are usually thicker to create a long-lasting shine effect. They can make your at-home mani look more professional. However, gel-finish top coats might be more prone to creating bubbles. To avoid bubbles, use less product and cover the nail in 2-3 strokes.
  • Quick-drying top coats can be real saviors if you want to speed up your manicure process. They dry quickly, which prevents smudges and uneven finish. But the problem with quick-drying top coats is that they can cause shrinkage, meaning that if you don’t seal your nail polish properly with the top coat, it might create a visible separation between the two coats. To avoid that, try to leave a small gap between the last polish coat and the cuticle to seal it with the top coat and avoid visible shrinkage. 
  • Shiny and matte top coats are great as they give a different finish. So even the same color with a matte top coat will look completely different. Our advice to keep your shiny top coat fresh longer is to reapply it a few days after the initial manicure.

We hope these tips will help you prolong your at-home manis and enjoy professionally-looking nails. 

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