With spring finally here, we're ready to break out our fresh manicures and pedicures, but is there anything more frustrating than investing an afternoon at the salon only to chip your nails the very next day? Keep your fingers and toes looking glamorous as long as possible with these expert tricks.
1. Don't soak your nails before polishing: Soaking expands the nail plate, and it will contract back to normal size after it dries. But if you apply polish before it contracts, the polish won't adhere correctly, says Nailtini celebrity manicurist Elsbeth Schuetz. For the same reason, you shouldn't use soap or lotion on nails just before polishing. And make sure your nail technician (or you, if you do your own nails), wipes the nails clean with pure acetone just before polishing to completely prime the surface and remove all oils, dust, and residue that can affect adhesion.
2. Apply a topcoat after you leave the salon: "To extend the life of a manicure, I advise applying a coat of high-gloss topcoat, such as JINsoon Top Gloss, over your existing nail polish three days after getting a manicure," says Jin Soon Choi, manicurist and founder of the JINsoon nail lacquer line and Jin Soon Hand & Foot Spas in New York City. And don't forget to touch up the tips of nails, too—this will extend the life of your mani or pedi.
3. Protect your hands post-manicure: Use gloves while gardening and doing dishes to help protect your polish from chipping and lifting. "Gloves will also help protect your cuticles from drying out due to soil and moisture," says Crystal Richards, spa manager and director of marketing for the Style Bar Day Spa in Palm Beach, Florida.
4. Apply cuticle oil every night: This also helps keep your cuticles from drying out. "Applying cuticle oil prevents hangnails and dry cuticles, which can cause polish to peel and chip," says Richards.
5. Keep your toes under wraps—and moisturize them daily:"Wearing flip-flops regularly contributes to dry and dirty feet, which can ruin a pedi within a week," says Candice Betz, spa director at AWAY Spa at the W in Austin, Texas. She says the secret to achieving a long-lasting pedicure is to apply moisturizer daily. Apply moisturizer after a shower or soak to provide instant hydration and protection from daily assault.
The best way to moisturize your feet is with a bit of warmed lotion. "It takes an extra minute to prepare, yes, but it's so worth the effort," says Betz. Put about five pumps' worth of lotion (or roughly three tablespoons of body butter or cream) in a microwaveable glass container, then cover and microwave for five to 10 seconds. Work quickly, as it cools down right away, and enjoy the indulgent feeling of warm cream against your skin.