How to make a manicure last longer on natural nails.

You go to your favorite nail bar or salon, 30 minutes to an hour later you come out with a beautiful fresh manicure and you feel great. Fast forward to a week later (if you are lucky) and you cringe at the sight of your once beloved manicure let alone the idea of someone noticing it. So what do you do? It might make more sense to get a gel manicure or even acrylic nails  after all they generally last a lot longer than a manicure done on natural nails.; but what if you prefer to have your natural nails on display instead. There are a number of reasons why someone might prefer to stay away from our standard acrylics and gel manicures. Whatever the reason, experiment with these tips or ask your manicurist to try them out(if they aren’t already). With these tips you will be able to get at least two weeks out of your manicure and it will still look fresh. Feel free to let me know if these tips work for you and what other tips you have found useful.

  1. Prep and prime your nails properly; Take the time to remove any excess oils and any remnants of old nail polish from your nail with a cotton swab and nail polish.
  2. File the proper way; We probably all make this mistake, even many of our manicurists  do it. Instead of filing your nail back and forth, file it going in one direction. Filing your nail back and forth, may form rough and jagged edges which will eventually lead to your nail breaking and nail polish chipping. Also follow the shape of your cuticles when filing your nails because this will reduce breakage.
  3. Leave cuticle trims to the professionals; If  you are not a nail technician, it might be best to leave this part to those who are pros at doing it just because a wrong snip can cause damage and pain and possibly an infection. That said unsightly cuticles and overgrown cuticles can make or break your manicure, so a safer option would be to push your cuticles back gently using an orange stick. After pushing the cuticles back, use a cuticle remover gel to remove any dead skin from your nail and cuticle area. Wipe off remaining gel and wash your hands making sure none of the gel remains before moving on to the next step.
  4. Use vinegar; If you are going to apply nail polish on your nails, you want to make sure your nail has no excess oils on it.  White vinegar, vodka or  isopropyl alcohol if you prefer can do the job quite will. Use a cotton swab or Q-tip to apply it onto the nail. 
  5. Do not soak your nails;  Sometimes manicurists will soak your nails in warm water just to soften the cuticles but this is still not a good thing for a natural nail manicure. This is because the water causes water retention and expansion  in the nail and once they are painted, they shrink and you will notice that your nail polish will not fit your nails any more. The next time you do your nails, skip the warm bath and use cuticle oil instead.
  6. Apply a base coat; Even nails need a base before you apply anything else to them. Make sure you apply a base coat before you add nail polish because this will help stretch your manicure and also protect your natural nail from stains when you use darker shades like red or black. A good base coat to consider is a tacky one as the nail polish will stick to it and will also help your manicure last longer. When applying your base coat, apply an extra layer to the tips of your nails for stronger nails especially since the tips are more likely to chip due to texting, typing, etc. After applying a top coat onto your tips, paint another layer of base coat across the entire nail.
  7. Roll don’t shake; Pretty much everyone shakes the bottle before they proceed to use the nail polish. If you want to get a nice even layer of polish with zero bubbles, roll the nail polish bottle between your hands. DO NOT SHAKE!
  8. Apply the right amount of layers the right way; Make sure you are applying your nail polish the right way. Apply only two layers of dark nail polish and only three ultra thin layers of lighter shades. You can also try using a white color layer before adding your chosen color. It’s important to remember that thick coats of nail polish dry slower and with less strength than thin ones. Use a light hand and apply the polish in thin strokes, only adding extra coats if necessary for maximum but neat  coverage.
  9. Correct any spillages and overlaps immediately; Try as much as possible not to let nail polish get onto your skin. If it does, use nail polish remover with a Q-tip or nail brush to rectify the mistake. Leaving nail polish on your cuticles and sides of your fingers looks bad but more importantly causes your manicure to peel off faster.
  10. Do not ignore the edges of your nails; Polish the edges of your nails by pulling the brush around them so that they are also coated. This ensures that your entire nail is sealed and protected.
  11. Leave an itty- bitty gap;  I know some people who really don’t like this step but I think if done properly it is worth a try. When applying your colored nail polish,  leave a very… very tiny gap away from the cuticle area. This works really well because when you apply your top coat over the colored layer and over the small gap you previously left behind, you are in fact sealing the polish in place which means no peeling.
  12. Let them dry; Allow your nails to dry in  between layers. Try not to be in a rush to add another coat before the old one is dry. If you don’t want a bulky or messy looking manicure, take your time.
  13. Use a good quality top coat; The top coat seals  your nail polish in place and a good quality one will increase the wear of your manicure, give you a beautiful shine and protect your polish from chipping and those hideous cracks.
  14. Reapply a top coat every other day; This keeps your manicure looking fresh and revives a dull nail. Make sure to do this every 2-3 days to prevent chipping.
  15. Save your moisturizer for last; It’s common to use oils or moisturizers before nail polish is applied. However it is key for the nail to be oil-free, clean and dry before you put any nail polish on it. Applying moisturize before your nail polish will make your manicure fade or chip quicker, so save it for after your nails are done.
  16. Wear Gloves;  When doing household chores or anything that may potentially chip or damage your nails, wear gloves. This will protect your hands from drying out and prevent ridges or splits forming on your nail which in turn reduces the chances of your manicure chipping.
  17. Wash your hands with a mild soap; As much as possible avoid using harsh soaps that dry out your hands and strip away the topcoat of your nail polish. For the same reason try using a milder soap instead of hand sanitizer.
  18. Moisturize your nails and hands daily; After your manicure is done, feel free to make use of a moisturizer like a nail oil. Dry cuticles are more likely to break and tear.
  19. Do damage control; If you notice your polish has started to chip, file the tips of your nails down and cover them with a layer of top coat. Another trick for chipped tips is to add very thin french tips to the nail. This helps prevent further damage and saves you the trouble of having to re-do the whole nail. Finally if you happen to smudge your nail polish before it is completely dry, do NOT just paint over it (guilty!)Instead smooth the smudge with a Q-tip  dipped in polish remover and then proceed to paint a fresh coat of polish and top coat over it.
  20. Make use of nail strengthener products; Using strengthening products in between manicures will improve the health and strength of your nails. The healthier your nails are, the longer they will hold the polish. Nail strengtheners can also help repair nail damage and keep your nails from breaking.

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