How to make your nail polish last longer: Tips, tricks, and techniques to employ for an impeccable manicure

How to make your nail polish last longer: Tips, tricks, and techniques to employ for an impeccable manicure

Built to last

Text: Emily Heng

Image: Instagram | @paintboxnails

As any nail buff can attest, no moment is quite as devastating as the discovery of a chip, nick, or smudge after a fresh manicure. What's worse, the likelihood of such incidents often increases tenfold when you're at the precipice of a vastly important event that demands an immaculate appearance (see: big dates, job interviews, or when you're looking to humble-brag about your newest Diptyque candle on your Instagram story). In times like these, it seems prevention is truly better than cure — and so, we've hunted down the numerous tips and tricks that come with extending the longevity of your polish, from tried-and-true methods to entirely unexpected. May your digits be slayin' in the days (and, hopefully, weeks) to come.

Wash your hands before applying your polish

According to freelance nail artist, Jay Deau, this gets rid of any remaining film and oil on your nails, thus allowing for the polish to adhere better. Technicians sometimes opt to wipe polish remover on bare nails for this very reason, ensuring a smooth, even coat with no warps or bubbles. Alternatively, you can also wipe down nails with white vinegar to remove any remnants of product or buildup on your talons.

File your nails in a single direction

Using back-and-forth motions actually encourages peeling and breakage, so be sure to file across your nail in a single direction to see optimal results.

Pick the right basecoat, and apply twice

Look for stickier, tackier formulations, and apply another layer at the top half of your nails for additional protection. Jay swears by a good basecoat as it protects nails from all manner of stains, smudges, and stains while also strengthening them in the long-run.

Wait before applying a second coat of polish

One to two minutes is a sufficient amount of time for the solvents in your nail polish to evaporate, which, in turn, locks in and 'holds' the nail colour better.

Buff, baby, buff

Skipping out on buffing leads to the build-up of natural oils on nails, which can transform into tacky, sticky residue that results in paint smudging and streaking during application. Opt for a standard sponge buffing block and be sure to go at it gently before painting.

Use thin, light layers of paint

Big blobs or chunks of nail polish tends to give a bumpy, uneven finish. Jay recommends starting with thin, light layers and going over the nail multiple times until you've reached the ideal opacity.

Never skip out on topcoat...

This one is self-explanatory. Victoria Yap, founder of 8Twenty8 Nails, is an advocate. Be sure to apply a nice, even layer, as topcoats tighten when they dry, leading to little bumps and ridges when they're not applied properly.

... or, failing that, ask for a soft gel overlay

Tania, a freelance nail artist, guarantees durable, longer-lasting nails with this technique. As with most gel services, though, be sure not to peel them off (tsk) as you're actually removing layers of your nail in the process.

Keep nails well-protected when doing household chores

This applies especially when you're doing any washing up, as hot water and harsh cleaning chemicals are a surefire way to ruin your flawless mani. It's a good excuse to avoid doing the dishes as any (heh), but if that doesn't fly, Victoria advises you to slip on a pair of rubber gloves.