November 22, 2017

10 Nail Polish Hacks to Make Your DIY Manicure Last Longer

You know that feeling when you see that your day-old nail polish has chipped? So do I, but luckily, here are 10 nail polish hacks to make your DIY manicure last longer.

And yes, there are ways to at least hold off the chipping until a week after you do your nails!

Trust me ladies, I hear the hallelujah chorus too.

Prep Your Nails

1. Trim and file

Before you begin your self-done manicure, you should trim and file your nails into your desired shape. For me, I’ve always preferred round tips because they require the least maintenance. Your nail shape can also depend on which looks best with your fingers.

2. Wash your hands

Take note that this says wash, not soak. It was common practice before to soak hands in water pre-manicure, but the reality is that prolonged water exposure weakens nails. So just wash your hands with soap and water the usual amount of time, just to get the dirt and oils off your fingers and nails.

3. Remove past polish

It’s probably common sense, but before painting your nails a new shade, you should make sure that no remnants of the old one are left. Use nail polish remover. I know it’s tempting, especially if the polish is lifting already, but don’t peel it off.

If you’re working on fresh nails, then great! Proceed to the next step.

4. Apply alcohol

Yup, you read that right. Before proceeding with the polish, you should apply alcohol onto your nail bed. This ensures that any excess dirt or oils are completely gone. Dirt and oil trapped in your nail bed can cause uneven manicures. Plus, oily nails means that the polish is less likely to stick and will inevitably chip as soon as it can. You can use a piece of cotton pad to apply the alcohol.

Dry any excess moisture left by the hand washing and alcohol, and you’re set to go!

Nail Polish Hacks to Make Your DIY Manicure Last Longer

Time to Polish

After nail prep is done, you can now proceed to actually applying nail polish.

5. Use a base coat

Applying a base coat means spending more time on your DIY manicure, but trust me, it’s worth it. Some colored manicures tend to stain your nails, and having a base coat on will prevent that from happening. Not to mention a base coat helps other polish to stick better to your nail, which means less lifting and/or chipping.

6. Remove excess polish from the brush

A common rookie mistake in nail polish application is that the polish ends up being too gloppy at the end of the brush. That’s probably because you didn’t wipe off the excess of the polish on the neck of the bottle. I have found that the right amount of polish is when one side of the gloppy brush gets the excess wiped off. The small drop remaining on the other side usually lasts me one coat for one nail.

7. Apply thin coats

Fact: polish dries faster when applied in thin coats. Instead of overloading your nails with two thick coats of polish, do three thin coats. Some polishes are so opaque you just need one coat, and honestly those kinds are the best, but if multiple coats are needed, remember this. Plus, thin coats dry so much faster!

8. Three is the magic number


Aside from the three thin coats tip, three strokes are all you need to get one coat of polish on your nail. This technique also avoids unevenness and streaking. Brush one stroke on the left of your nail, one on the right, and finally brush one on the middle.

9. Allow to dry

And I don’t just mean the entire mani. Each coat, including the base coat, should be allowed to dry thoroughly before adding another. If the previous coat hasn’t dried well enough, the whole thing will just take longer to dry in the long run. And before you know it, you’ve nicked your freshly painted nails somewhere.

10. Use a top coat

Several top coats offer different effects, like a gel polish-like or matte finish. But even if you just want the regular ol’ polish shine, you should still use a top coat. Like a base coat, this is necessary for your nail polish to last longer. It seals in the rest of your polish and prevents it from easily getting chipped or cracked.


Finally, here are some other tips that I could offer when it comes to nailing a nail polish that lasts:

  • Set aside time, because as the joke goes, “women are at their most vulnerable when their nails are drying”. You’ll have to avoid doing a majority of things to allow your polish to dry  lest you nick it and have to redo.
  • Go to the bathroom first. Honestly, there have been countless times when I had to redo my nails after nicking them because of my need to pee during or after painting my nails.
  • Do everything you need to first. Bathroom breaks are the least of your problems. If you need to change your clothes, or do any other chores around the house, do them all before painting your nails. (Unless they can be put off for later when your nails are dry and done.)
  • I know it can get tiring to put on polish, but don’t run to your bed until they’ve dried thoroughly. Unless you want fabric imprints on your nails, wait until your nails are dry before napping/ sleeping.
  • Avoid too much exposure to hot water. Showers, baths, dish washing, anything that will put your nails in contact with heated water. Heat makes nails expand, and the polish will expand with it. This leads to cracked or chipped polish.

Doing your own nail polish is great fun, whether or not you’re into more elaborate nail art or just the simple “one color for all nails” look. It’s an art too, because the amount of time you’ll have to dedicate to it can be insane, but you’ll end up being more glamorous by the end of it.

So to ensure that your hard work is not put to waste, follow these nail polish hacks to make your DIY manicure last longer!

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Geraldo - June 21, 2020 Reply

Useful info. Lucky me I found your website accidentally, and I’m surprised why this twist of fate didn’t happened earlier! I bookmarked it.|

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