How To Make A Manicure Last Waaaaay Past Its Expiration Date

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How to make a manicure last

We all love the look of a fresh and pretty manicure, but all too often we leave the salon and our nails seem to chip within a few hours. We find ourselves frustrated and wondering how to make a manicure last.

But how can we do that? Well, it’s about two things: technique, and using the right products. And maybe taking better care of your hands and nails after you leave the salon to make the manicure last longer.

Your manicure can last if you treat it right. And here are just a few products to ensure a long-lasting paint and polish.

RELATED: How To Paint Your Nails For A Perfect Manicure Every Time

Step 1: Prep

1. KBShimmer Nail Prep pH Balancing Pre-Polish Treatment

KBShimmer Nail Prep is used prior to a base coat and helps adjust the pH of your nail to allow the base coat to bond, helping to extend the life of your manicure. If you have oily nails or want to remove lotion before polishing, KBShimmer nail prep can do that too.

(KBShimmer, $6)

2. Essie Naturally Clean Gel and Polish Remover

With nourishing botanicals, this is energizing one-step treatment for the hands, nails and cuticles. Infused with eucalyptus oil, it's known to provide natural antiseptic benefits, and delivers the skin nourishing properties of AHA fruit acids to gently exfoliate dead skin cells.

(Check prices and reviews on Amazon)

3. EO Botanical Lavender Hand Sanitizer Gel

“If you don’t have any nail cleanser, some lavender hand sanitizer does the job. Dab some hand sanitizer on to the nail and then remove with a lint free pad,” Gonzalez-Longstaff advises.

(Check prices and reviews on Amazon)

4. ISDIN Si-Nails

This is an easy-to-use, one-click applicator pen that is clinically proven to strengthen brittle nails by increasing thickness, flexibility and durability of the nail. Apply directly on to nail bed and cuticle, and in as little as two weeks after daily use, nails appear less rough and smoother, with improved hydration.

Celebrity Manicurist, Elle, says, “Si-Nails works dually to strengthen and hydrate the entire nail structure, which bridges a major gap in the current nail-care market. Most products cater to only one aspect of nail-care, whereas Si-Nails is a multi-beneficial formula that delivers visible results in just 14 days.”  

(Check prices and reviews on Amazon)

5. Rossie System Nail Hardener with Garlic

Keep your nails strong between nail appointments so they'll be ready and able to handle those gel manicures. This nail hardener may smell a bit like garlic, but use it twice a day for a few weeks and your nails will grow stronger and longer. Plus, it'll keep those vampires away...

(Check prices and reviews on Amazon)

Step 2: The manicure

6. GERManikure Glass Nail File Set

Cuticles need to go, and that means making sure the nail plate is cuticle free.

“The cuticle is a living tissue around the eponychium of the nail, so once it sheds (think snakeskin), the dead skin is what needs to be removed. Use a glass tip stick such as GERmanikure to help push back the cuticle and the glass point to remove the loose pieces of tissue that are left on the nail,” says celebrity manicurist, Naomi Gonzalez-Longstaff.

(Check prices and reviews on Amazon)

7. CND Cuticle Away

Some cuticles are stubborn and will need extra help. And the Cuticle Away Cuticle Remover is a liquid gel that quickly removes dead tissue from the cuticle area. It can be used to soften calluses for easy removal as well.

Adds Gonzalez-Longstaff, “If you have stubborn cuticles, use CND Cuticle Away to help. It has an alpha hydroxy agent to help break down stubborn cuticle.”

(Check prices and reviews on Amazon)

8. ArtNaturals Tea Tree Oil

ArtNaturals Tea Tree Essential Oil is 100 percent pure, unadulterated, therapeutic grade, and GC/MS tested. Used with a carrier oil for massage, its clean, refreshing scent helps ease the effects of a long, vigorous day and its renowned healing properties boost a variety of hair, skin and nail conditions.

But once nails are cuticle free and shaped, pay close attention to the free-edge of nails. Says Gonzalez-Longstaff, “Sometimes you’ll have some splitting of nail or some jagged ends from filing. Apply a tiny amount of tea tree oil with a buffer, smoothing out the extension edge of the nail in downward strokes. This creates a twofold benefit: tea tree oil nourishes the nails, and also protects.”

(Check prices and reviews on Amazon)

9. MAXUS Base Coat

Apply your base coat thinly and wait for it to dry to a tacky touch, ensuring your free-edge is covered. Also leave a thin margin around the side of nails to frame the nail.

Suggests Gonzalez-Longstaff, “All base coats are made to focus on different nail issues, so when selecting one pick the one that targets the health of your nail.”

(Check prices and reviews on Amazon)

10. KADS Kolinsky Sable Nail Brush

This multi-function nail brush is great for acrylic powder, drawing lines, and is a quick way to create artistic designs on your nails.

Adds ​Gonzalez-Longstaff, “Apply the color thinly the first coat, and wrap the color over the extension edge. Let it dry to a tacky finish and polish again.” This is key because if the polish is applied too thick, it will dry and peel or chip quickly. 

(Check prices and reviews on Amazon)

11. Chanel Beauty Le Gel Coat

Activated by natural light, the innovative, clear top coat bonds to nail color for flexibility, strength and unprecedented wear. The result is an ultra-glossy, gel-like look without the UV lamp.

For your top coat, wait until the nails are a bit dry from color before applying. “Using a dry fast top coat tends to dull the shine of polish quicker; however, products such as Chanel Beauty Le Gel Coat helps nails dry, protects the manicure, and keeps polish shiny,” Gonzalez-Longstaff recommends.

(Chanel, $28)

RELATED: Why You Need To Drop Everything And Get Your Nails Done, STAT

12. Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat

But when it comes to having a good manicure that lasts, it’s all about the top coat. And this one works on gels, fiberglass/silk, and acrylic nails. It makes nail polish adhere to nails better and last longer, prevents nails from staining or yellowing, and helps strengthen nails.

“Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat is hands down the best one on the market. This little bottle of clear magic is all you need to seal your manicure properly for a shiny, lasting effect. It’s designed to go deep down to your base coat to safely preserve every layer of polish,” says Adina Mahalli, a beauty expert.

(Check prices and reviews on Amazon)

13. Deborah Lippmann Quick-Drying Drops

Just like hair spray is our ideal finishing touch for a blowout, so is quick dry for our nails.

“Extend the polish and top coat onto the front edge of the nail, which helps to minimize chipping. Deborah Lippmann Addicted to Speed Top Coat with The Wait is Over Quick Dry Drops give it that long-lasting finish,” says Crisalli.

(Check prices and reviews on Amazon)

14. Color Street Nail Strips

These are easy-to-apply strips made of layers of real nail polish that go on dry and look just like a regular mani. They last for up to 10 days, have tons of shades, zero dry time, and are a fraction of the cost of a salon manicure.

(Color Street, starts at $11)

Step 3: Making it last


15. Lauren B Cuticle Oil

This is luxuriously light oil for your cuticles anytime you need a little extra moisture. It's non-toxic, eco-/vegan-friendly, has no formaldehydeDBP, toluene, camphor, xylene, or TPHP.

As always, keeping nails nourished is another tip for a long-lasting manicure. “Use cuticle oil every day. Lauren B Cuticle oil smells delicious and will not leave fingers and hands greasy,” says Gonzalex-Longstaff.

(Check prices and reviews on Amazon)

16. Vanilla Absolute Cuticle Cream

Vanilla Absolute Cuticle Cream by Beekman 1802 is specially formulated to soften cuticles and nourish brittle nails. It gets nails growing right from the ground up, and is scented with natural vanilla essential oils with no artificial fragrances, chemicals or dyes.

(Check prices and reviews on Amazon)



17. MelodySusie Portable Nail Dryers 

This nail dryer works with most regular and acrylic nail polish, is portable, and runs on batteries. The button requires only a gentle press by your hand/foot for the fan to stay turned on.

Adds Mahalli, “Improper drying is one of the leading causes of polish chipping and smudging. So do your manicure a favor and get two of the MelodySusie Portable Nail Dryers to give yourself a boost right after you’ve applied your polish."

(Check prices and reviews on Amazon)

18. Waterproof Rubber Latex Kitchen Gloves

Soaking the nails in water for long periods of time may result in peeling or lifting of polish. Instead, this product prevents the sleeves from being dampened by water.

​“Consistently using gloves when hands will be in water for extended periods of time (like while cleaning or washing dishes) will maintain your manicure,” says Dave Crisalli, founder and CEO of PROSE.

(Check prices and reviews on Amazon)

19. Margaret Dabbs London Nourishing Cuticle Serum

This nourishing nail and cuticle serum strengthens, hydrates, and protects nails and cuticles. And you only need to apply a thin layer. But between manicures, continue to nourish and hydrate your cuticles.

(Check prices and reviews on Amazon)


20. Margaret Dabbs London Hand Protection Spray

“Want to make your manicure look fresh in between appointments? Try spraying the nails with Margaret Dabbs London Hand Protection Spray. This thin transparent spray of breathable film will protect hands and nails from drying, and will prolong the manicure while hydrating the cuticles,” Crisalli advises.

(Check prices and reviews on Amazon)


RELATED: 15 Ways To Make Your Manicure Last — And Get Your Nails To Grow Fast!

Aly Walansky is a NY-based lifestyles writer who focuses on health, wellness, and relationships. Her work appears in dozens of digital and print publications regularly. Visit her on Twitter or email her.