5 Top Tips On How To Make Nail Polish Last Longer

After you’ve spent time and effort perfecting your at-home manicure, there’s nothing more frustrating than having your nail polish chip, lift or flake.

If you’re someone that spends time researching the latest nail trends to recreate at home, you’ll want to make sure that your nail designs stay in place for as long as possible. 

We’ve pulled together our top 5 tips for making your nail polish last longer. We’re listing our dos and don’ts to guarantee blemish-free, fabulous and flawless nails using classic nail polish.

Table of contents

How can I make nail polish last longer without chipping?

  1. Nail prep
  2. Base coat
  3. Applying your nail polish
  4. Never skip your top coat!
  5. Aftercare
  6. Things not to do to make your polish last longer

How can I make nail polish last longer without chipping?

If you love to frequently change your nail colour or have healthy, natural nails, traditional nail polish is a perfect choice.

Easy to apply and remove, the only real downside to nail polish is its staying power compared to gel and acrylic nails. Whereas gel polish can last up to 28 days, nail polish tends to show signs of wear after around 5 days.

Although some chipping is unavoidable, there are some small changes that you can make to your application and aftercare techniques to ensure that your nail polish stands the test of time.

  1. Nail prep

As you’d thoroughly clean and gently prep your face before applying products, the same love and care should be applied to the surface of your nails. 

Start by washing your hands to remove any dirt and residue, then use a cotton pad and some nail polish remover to lift any impurities and stray polish from the surface of your nails. 

Check your cuticles 

Once you’re happy that your nails are clean, check your cuticles are well-groomed and pushed back. 

Overgrown cuticles can cause your nail polish to lift prematurely. If you accidentally paint onto the skin of your cuticles, if the polish lifts, it will lift from the surface of your nail, too, causing it to chip or tear.

Pushing back your cuticles offers a larger nail surface to paint your polish onto and cleaner lines for a smoother, flawless finish with a reduced risk of chipping or peeling. Rubbing an oily balm into your cuticles pre-polish can also help with this, as it prevents the nail polish from drying on your skin. If you accidentally paint your skin, wipe away the balm and polish once you’re happy with your application.

OPI Cuticle Oil

If you’re using cuticle oil at this stage, wash your hands again or use nail polish remover to remove any excess oil from your nail’s surface before applying your base coat.

File and buff your nails 

Before applying your base coat, file your nails in the same direction using a 240 grit nail file, then follow with a buffer

nail files and buffers

Shaping your nails offers a sleeker finish to your manicure, whereas buffing will remove any lumps and bumps from the nail surface and make it more adhesive for the base coat. Remember to buff the free edge of your nail to seal in the keratin layer and remove any snags or rough edges that could peel and cause your polish to do the same.

  1. Base Coat

Applying a base coat is essential to make your nail polish last longer. A good base coat protects the nail’s surface, giving your nail polish a good adhesive surface to cling to. 

Apply your base coat in a thin layer of around three strokes, one down the centre of your nail and two on either side. For best results, try to avoid flooding the cuticle by keeping your base coat thin and even. 

  1. Applying your nail polish

The staying power is in the application for longer-lasting nail polish at home.

Make sure your base coat is dry before applying your polish, and in a similar style, apply using three thin and even strokes. Again, avoid flooding the cuticle and clean away any mistakes with a cotton pad and remover or a cuticle stick. Finish by painting the free edge of your nail, too, to seal in your manicure.

Paint each nail one at a time, so when you reach your final nail, your first should be dry and ready for its second coat. Multiple thin layers may take longer to apply but dry much faster than two thick layers; therefore are much less likely to smudge or chip. Always make sure that each coat is fully dry before applying the next.

Choose long-lasting nail polishes for the best results that provide a gel-like, chip-free finish to enhance your manicure’s longevity. 

  1. Never skip your top coat!
CND Vinylux top coat

You’ll need a good top coat for a high-shine finish that’s perfectly protected.

The top coat prevents your polish from peeling, yellowing and smudging and enhances your colour for a long-lasting vibrant manicure. 

Once your polish is dry, apply a thin coat to each nail in three strokes. Allow to fully dry before you perform any activities, to prevent premature smudging and chipping. 

For best results, go for a strong, chip-resistant top coat and reapply every two to three days to properly protect the surface of your nails from damage.

  1. Don’t shy away from aftercare.

Aftercare is super important for keeping your nails healthy. Polish is much less likely to flake and chip from healthy nails, so it’s important to add it into your manicure routine.

When your top coat is completely dry, add some cuticle oil to each of your nail beds to nourish the skin and allow the goodness to soak deeper to encourage healthy growth.

If you notice any chipping to the free edge of your nails, gently file these away and apply another fresh layer of topcoat to prolong the length of your manicure. 

So now you know the things to do to keep your manicure looking at its best; there are also some things to avoid if you want to make your nail polish last longer.

Things not to do if you want your nail polish to last longer:

  • Avoid soaking your nails at all costs! If you soak your nails in the bath or when washing the dishes, your nails will expand, and their shape will distort. By applying polish to the nail, your polish will chip and crack once it returns to its original size. Similarly, avoid soaking your fingernails for too long whilst wearing nail polish.
  • Don’t clean without wearing gloves! Whether you’re doing the dishes or just cleaning, the chemicals in most cleaning products can cause your polish to lift or crack, so always wear gloves if you want your manicure to stay intact.
  • Don’t shake your nail polish bottle, as this causes air bubbles in the polish to set on your nails, causing chips and an uneven finish. To achieve an even colour, roll the bottle instead.
  • Don’t apply too much nail polish. Thick coats of nail polish take an eternity to dry out, so your nail polish will be less likely to smudge if you apply fine, light coats instead.

To make your nail polish last longer, it’s important to take care of your nails. Before application, make sure to take time to clean and prep your nail beds and surfaces, so they bond much more easily with your base coat and polish. 

Never skip steps in your manicure routine and always apply products in thin layers to decrease drying time and avoid premature lifting and chipping. Finish with a strong no-chip top coat and frequently reapply to help your polish last as long as possible.

Treat your nail bed and hands to cuticle oil and moisturising hand creams regularly to keep your skin and nail health in check and protect your nails when cleaning to avoid unwanted chips.

Shop our full selection of nail polishes at Nail Polish Direct

Find base coats, top coats and nail polishes at Nail Polish Direct ahead of your next at-home manicure, or shop the links above to add key products to your at-home manicure kit.

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