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Top 5 secrets to making your mani last
by Katie |  Oct 1, 2013

Whether it happens the first day or a week in, the moment your shiny manicure chips is nothing less than devastating. With one flawed nail having the power to ruin your whole look, you wonder - why do I bother in the first place?

Women have been trying for years to maintain a perfect manicure for more than a day. Between avoiding those dishes in the sink and splurging on shellac manicures, we'll do whatever it takes. If you're spending significant time and money on your mani, follow these tips to make sure it lasts:

#1: Fight grime
Dirt is your digits' worst enemy, and a toothbrush could be your new secret weapon. Celebrity manicurist Jenna Hipp told Shape magazine that before a manicure you can use an old, dry toothbrush  with whitening toothpaste to get rid of grime on the nailbeds and reveal a brighter, more dazzling surface. Vodka is also effective at eliminating oils that could hinder your lacquer from adhering.

However, while it might sound counterintuitive, you should also apply nail oil to your fingers every day after your manicure. Redbook magazine noted that when your cuticles and nail beds are dry, your polish is more likely to split or peel. The source recommended looking for products that contain ultra-moisturizing jojoba oil and vitamin E, which can absorb more deeply into the nail. 

#2: Layer your lacquer right
A nourishing base coat and strong top coat are key for a long​-lasting mani. Cosmetics chemist Faina Ritz explained in Shape that they are equally important: The base coat can strengthen brittle nails and provide an even surface so that polish adheres smoothly, while the top coat locks in the color.

Over the past few years, gel manicures have exploded in popularity as women discovered their durability. However, with those perks come some pitfalls. For one, they take forever to take off, and you can't use just any traditional polish remover. Deborah lippmann's gel lab is a base and top coat duo that has all of the benefits of a gel mani, but also lets you avoid the frustration. Since there's no need for special UV lamps or remover, you can use it to get a salon-quality finish at home.

#3: Protect your paws
You have to be picky about what products you use on your hands, as many of them contain ingredients that can break down your manicure. For example, many hand lotions contain alcohol and fragrances that can make your cuticles dry and cause cracks in your polish. Additionally, a lot of cleaning products are formulated with harsh chemicals that are bad for your mani. Shape magazine suggested always donning rubber gloves when you're cleaning or doing dishes. Athena Solomon, a manicurist and nail salon founder, told the source that coating the nails with petroleum jelly before you put the gloves on can help to protect them even further.

#4: Stay cool
Avoid heat on your hands at all costs, especially in the hours right after your nails are done. Redbook pointed out that even the UV lamps at nail salons can negatively impact how well your nails harden. Opt to use a dryer that blasts cool air instead. Then, the source warned that you should wait 12 hours before washing your hands or bathing in hot water. So it goes without saying that saunas, whirlpools and hot yoga are all a big nail no-no.

#5: When in doubt, BYOB
It might sound bratty to bring your own bottle of nailpolish, but Jane Park, CEO of Julep Nail Parlor in Seattle, told Harper's Bazaar that it's often the only way you can be sure that thinners haven't been added to the solution. You could also just request a freshly opened lacquer, which she says can extend the life of your mani by weeks.

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