Elle Woods was soooo right. One of the best things in life is a new manicure. It’s not only an affordable way to chill out and pamper yourself, but it’s also a simple way to make you feel as glam as a Kardashian/Jenner. That is, until the next day when you notice your pretty mani has already begun to chip away. UGH. We know our mani can’t last forever — but is it too much to ask for it to last at least TWO weekends?
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Actually, it’s not. Your mani’s expiration date all depends on what you do before, during and after your salon appointment. Here’s everything you need to know to keep your polish looking pristine.
1. Prep The Base
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Whether you’re at the salon or at home, it’s important to have clean hands before your mani. This means not only washing them, but applying white vinegar. For real. The vinegar removes any natural buildup that could create a barrier between your nail and your polish. Apply some vinegar to a cotton ball and swipe each of your nail bases.
2. Skip the Soak
Soaking your nails in a bowl of soapy water sure feels good, but it’s not really that great when it comes to prolonging your mani. Why? As your nails absorb the water, their natural shape expands. So your polish chips and cracks because after your mani’s been applied, the water’s been evaporated which contracts your nails. Your best bet? Bypass the bath.
3. Finish Off With a Gel Coat
Whether you’re at the salon or doing your own at home, cap off your mani with a gel topcoat. It locks in color and shine, and helps protect your polish from daily wear and tear. Try Sally Hansen Miracle Gel Nail ($9) for a DIY option.
4. Dry Nails With Cool Air
Hot air actually keeps your polish hardening, so opt for cool air instead. If you’re at the salon, use its air dryer. At home? Set your blow dryer to its cool setting or use a small fan. Dipping fingertips into cold water for a few minutes also helps.
5. Stay Away from Hand Sanitizers & Wear Gloves
When washing hands, skip the hand sanitizer and use warm water and soap instead. The alcohol in hand sanitizers dulls and strips away your mani’s color. Exfoliators, including body scrubs, are also not good for manis either for the same reason. Use a pair of exfoliating gloves instead. Speaking of gloves, you’ll need to wear a pair of rubber ones if it’s your week to wash the dishes.
6. Nourish Your Nails Often
Your nails and polish crack due to dryness, which is why it’s so crucial to apply a cuticle oil, like Deborah Lippmann’s Cuticle Oil ($18), to your nails daily. Keep one in your purse or make it apart of your bedtime routine. It not only freshens your mani, but it will perk up your nails too.