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This Simple Trick Will Make Your Manicure Last Longer, Experts Say

Manicurists and salon founders give advice on how to keep your nails looking flawless.

Whether you do your nails yourself or get them done professionally, there's no better feeling than a fresh manicure. But sometimes it feels like right after the paint dries, it's chipping again. Are you being careless, or was your manicure just not made to last? As it turns out, there's an easy fix to make sure your nail color stays put longer than just a few hours. Read on to find out what manicurists and beauty experts recommend to make sure your nail game stays strong.

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There's a simple way to make sure your manicure lasts longer.

Manicure tools and makeup

The best way to make sure your manicure lasts is surprisingly easy. You don't need expensive products and you don't need to involve a professional. Instead, you just need to make sure your nails are completely dry.

Celebrity manicurist Julie Kandalec suggests trying a waterless manicure to make your nails last. If you haven't heard of one, you're not alone. "Your nails are like a sponge—they absorb water and become porous, preventing the manicure from lasting," the founding creative director of New York City's famous Paintbox explains. If you soak at a salon—which Kandalec calls "old school"—your nails might not be fully dry when they're being painted.

The nail artist, whose clients include Selena Gomez and Mariah Carey says, "When the nail shrinks as it dries, the polish won't shrink with it and that's why it chips." With that in mind, you should skip soaking entirely, whether at the salon or at home. If you do like to get manicures from professionals, Kandalec recommends trying a Russian manicure, because they don't use oil, cuticle softeners or water, so the polish will last longer.

Waterless manicures work with any kind of nail polish.

woman filing nails on bed

Rachel Apfel Glass founded chic unlimited mani/pedi salon GLOSSLAB, which counts Neil Patrick Harris and Jennifer Garner as fans. The beauty guru agrees that a waterless manicure is the way to go, whether you're using regular polish or gel.

As Glass explains, "The water causes the nail plate to expand, which then causes the polish to chip once the nail dries and assumes its original structure."

Don't be afraid to ask your manicurist to skip the soaking step that many still fall back on. "You can always request a waterless service at any salon" to make your polish stay on, Glass says. It could make all the difference.

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The products you use after your manicure also matter.

woman getting a manicure

Once you've finished your nails, you're not quite done. Beauty expert Saffron Hughes reminds people to re-apply their top coat every two or three days. See if you can pick up an extra top coat at your nail salon or the drugstore to keep the color.

You'll also want to invest in a cuticle cream or use coconut oil to soften the cuticles. And if you have brittle nails, you should work on strengthening them. That way, your nails won't be breaking and damaged.

Mina-Jacqueline Au, CEO of Vivre SkinLabs, recommends a nail strengthener to protect damaged nails from the effects of moisture, friction, or nail dystrophy. "This keeps the nails healthy, and when you have healthy nails, the polish stays longer," she assures.

Choose your color carefully. 

Disorganized bottles of nail polish, makeup

Finally, make sure to check what color the manicurist is using. You can always grab the color yourself or a dupe to quickly fix any small chips that arise. Hughes says color choice is important because "statement colors show nail growth, chipping, and breakage more easily," so pick a nude or pale pink that will grow out and last longer. While nail art looks its best immediately after, once it starts chipping, you might wish you had chosen a simpler color.

Beauty expert and nail artist Lina Buk agrees that polish choice can be most important. "When it comes to making your manicure last, not all polishes are created equal," she says. Beyond choosing a light color, Buk suggests you "look for a long-wearing formula that is specifically designed to last longer."

Next time you indulge in a little self-care, make sure to keep these tips in mind. That way, you'll be rocking glossy nails for a week—or even longer.

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