How to Keep Your Nails From Chipping (So You Can Finally Justify Getting That Manicure)


Who doesn’t love a little pampering? Getting your nails painted to perfection and leaving the salon with nails so shiny they could be used to signal for help on a shipwreck? We love it. The feeling of freshly painted nails is like no other, but too often it is fleeting. In a few days, polish inevitably chips off leaving your nails looking lackluster. It’s enough to make you second guess getting that monthly manicure at the salon. Luckily, we’ve got a few of the best tried and true tips for making your manicure last, because we all deserve a little pampering now and then without having to worry that it’s going to go to waste.

  • Do your hair before: According to Bustle, blowdrying your hair subjects your hands to excess heat that can lead to chipping. Keeping your hands away from heat will make for a longer-lasting manicure.
  • Stay away from hand sanitizer: Products with alcohol eat away at nail polish and lessen the longevity of your manicure, according to Cosmopolitan. Opt for regular ol’ soap and water to extend your manicure’s life.
  • Bring your own polish: Salons are notorious for using thinners to extend the lives of their products. This also means that the polish is likely to chip more easily, says Reader’s Digest. Instead of settling for this, bring your own and ask them to use it so you can be sure it doesn’t contain any products that will shorten the life of your manicure.
  • Roll, don’t shake: According to Beth Shapouri of, shaking your bottles of polish can cause air bubbles to form, which can create an uneven application of polish and lead to chips. Roll your bottles between your hands instead before application.
  • Choose softer nail shapes: Nails with square edges or pointed ends are more prone to breakage than nails with softer, more natural edges. Filing nails to a round shape can prevent chips and damage, according to Reader’s Digest.
  • Keep your nails short: As writes, longer nails sustain more wear and tear than shorter nails. Keeping nails short will prevent them from snagging and keep them looking pristine.
  • Be consistent with moisturizing: Your hands go through a lot. Keeping them moisturized is a good habit to get into anyway, but the hydration will also prevent your nails from chipping or breaking, says Glamour.
  • Keep polish away from cuticles: Polish that touches the cuticle becomes lifted and prone to chipping as nails grow out, says Cosmopolitan.
  • Use a neutral shade: Sometimes, chipping is inevitable. Reader’s Digest suggests using a neutral polish shade that is close to your skin tone. A neutral shade makes chips less noticeable than an eye-catching, bright color will.
  • Avoid quick-drying polishes: According to Allure, the ease of quick-drying products also comes with some drawbacks—they dry out your natural nails which can lead to peeling, flaking, and chipping.
  • Seal the edge of the nail: Your index fingers and thumbs tend to chip first. Sealing the edge of the nail with a horizontal swipe of polish will help prevent chips, says Jin Soon Choi, founder of Jin Soon Hand & Foot Spa in New York City.
  • Always use a base coat: For longer-lasting polish, these are a must. Makeup artist Michelle Phan says that this will provide a smooth base for your polish to stick to and protect your natural nails from breakage.
  • Apply top coats frequently: According to Cosmopolitan, adding an extra layer of top coat every few days will help prevent chips and add shine to your manicure.
  • Get rid of old polish: Nail polish that’s been sitting around for awhile can become a sticky, goopy mess. According to, it’s best to toss old polish, as they lose their staying power after awhile.
  • Add glitter on top: If all else fails, use glitter—using it on its own or putting it on top of another polish will mean less chips because it has a better grip on the nail and holds up to chipping. However, it’s best to note that it’s also harder to remove, according to Huffington Post.

What are your best tips for making a manicure last? Let us know in the comments below!

Featured photo by @diaoborna