Hacks to make nail polish last longer

Keep your polish lasting as long as possible.

When you spend so long getting your nails looking salon perfect, all you really want is for them to last as long as they can! The question we all ask ourselves when our freshly painted nails chip, ‘how do I make my nail polish last longer?’ …

We all love a fresh manicure and there is nothing more frustrating than when your favourite nail polish starts to lift or flake. Reducing chips, extending your polish’s lifespan and feeling confident for longer is what it’s all about. You’ve found the perfect look on Instagram, you’ve placed your nail order and now you’re wanting to recreate that flawless finish! And what’s more important? You want it to LAST! Well we’re here to tell you that it can, all with a little extra care and some nail know-how.

Achieving glossy nails for longer is attainable. Carrying out the proper nail prep procedure, using a base coat and top coat, even application and following out our aftercare tips should help you get some extra days wear out of your lacquer. If you are looking for 5+ days of wear, we would recommend switching to gel polish as this can last anywhere between 7 – 28 days, or just until you soak them off! Nail polish is the perfect option if you have healthy natural nails and want minimal to no damage to the nail plate. If you only want to wear your colour for a few days and you love to switch up your nail colours often, nail polish is the perfect product for you.

Keep reading for our top tips on how to apply and maintain a truly blemish free, Insta-ready manicure that really lasts using classic nail polish.

Photo credit: NPD Ambassador @im_pressed


Let’s start with your prep. You need a completely clean nail base with no residue, moisture or remaining polish from your last mani. Soak a cotton pad with non-acetone or acetone remover and give each nail a wipe. Next you need to make sure your cuticles are well groomed. You can use a cuticle removing gel such as CND – Cuticle Away or Mavala Cuticle Remover. These gels are designed to very gently start to dissolve the dead skin that grows around the nail so that you can easily push them down or use cuticle nippers such as OPI’s Mini Nail Cuticle Nippers. Make sure your nails are clean and dry using a nail sanitising spray such as OPI Nail Treatment – NAS 99 Hand & Nail Sanitiser. Your nail grooming also includes filing all of your nails into a nice and even shape. Avoid too much length with natural nails as this can make them easier to catch and split. Keep your nails sculpted and neat with an everyday nail file such as a 240 Edge grit or a Crystal file. Lightly buff the surface of each nail with a 240 edge buffer. This will make the surface of your nail nicely even with less ridges and slightly more adhesive ready for your base coat.


Next up is your base coat. Base coats create an even base for your nail polish to be applied with adhesive qualities. Some of our most popular base coats include OPI Natural Nail Base Coat, CND vinylux Anchoring Base Coat, and Zoya Anchor Basecoat 15ml. Apply a thin, even layer with around three strokes – one down the middle and one to cover each side. Avoid flooding the cuticle and keep your application even and thin.


Once you’ve made sure your base coat is completely dry, it’s time to apply your favourite nail polish colour. When applying your nail polish, thin, even strokes are always best. Again, avoid flooding the cuticles and use the three stroke method. You can apply up to three coats of nail polish to achieve the most vivid colour, however you must ensure that each layer is completely dry before applying the next. If you make any mistakes or nail polish goes onto your skin, simply clean up with a cuticle stick or a cotton pad soaked in nail polish remover rolled into a tip. The more you paint your own nails, the better you’ll become over time. It really does get easier, we promise! For a faster drying time, spray each layer with a quick drying nail spray such as Mavala Mavadry Spray, OPI Nail Treatment RapiDry Spray 55ml or China Glaze Fast Freeze Quick Dry.


Once your nail polish is completely dry and you’re happy with the colour coverage, you’re ready for your top coat. Popular top coats at Nail Polish Direct include OPI Natural Nail Top Coat, Seche Vite Nail Treatment – Dry Fast Top Coat, Jessica Brilliance High Gloss Non Chip Topcoat and Mavala Treatment – Top Coat Fixator 5ml. Your top coat will give you that highly glossy finish, a more vibrant colour and protection from unwanted chips or peeling. Your top coat will prevent yellowing and smudging so you can enjoy a manicure that lasts as long as you do! When applying your top coat, use the three stroke method and apply a thin even layer to cover the entire nail avoiding cuticle flooding.


Give your nails another drop of a quick dry formula and allow to dry fully before doing anything. Just sit back and relax for 15 minutes! Once your nails are completely dry, add a drop of cuticle oil to each nail bed. Less is more… Popular cuticle oils at Nail Polish Direct include Cuccio NATURALÉ Cuticle Milk & Honey Revitalizing Oil, Famous Names Dadi Oil 95% Organic Nail Treatment Oil and OPI Pro Spa – Nail & Cuticle Oil 14.8ml. Cuticle oils are relatively inexpensive starting from just £2.95 online and a worthy investment for really caring for your nails. Repeated use of cuticle oil allows the goodness to soak deeper into natural nails and nail enhancements, maximising health of your nails, preventing dry nails and encouraging healthy nail growth.

Keep your nail polish looking flawless for longer and follow these simple tips for a durable manicure.

  • Avoid soaking hands in water for long periods of time.
  • Avoid soaking hands in hot water.
  • Do not use your nails as tools.
  • Do not pick or pull at your nails. If your nail catches on something, simply repair with your nail file
  • Avoid getting nail polish on your cuticles during application. This will mean the colour will lift much sooner.
  • Carry out a proper prep routine with pushed back cuticles and buffed and filed nails.
  • Apply layers in thin, even coats allowing each layer to dry fully before applying the next.
  • Dry your nails in cool air during the application process to allow colours and formulas to set fully.

Feel like you’re ready to go? Perfect! Find your favourite nail products online at Nail Polish Direct and achieve a manicure that you’ve always dreamed of. For more nail tips, tutorials and advice on how to maintain your healthiest nails, make sure you follow us on our social media accounts @nailpolishdirect and share your nail journey with us.

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