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Keep your nail polish from chipping

Kori Ellis is an editor and writer based in San Antonio, TX, where she lives with her husband and four children. At SheKnows, she writes about parenting, fashion, beauty and other lifestyle topics. Additionally, Kori has been published i...

Chip-free nails

Nothing looks tackier than chipped nail polish, but not all of us can make it to the salon every two weeks. With some simple tips, you can extend the life of your manicure and make sure your nails are always looking shiny and chip-free.

Go to the pros

Blonde with red manicure

If you want your nails to always look picture perfect, make a standing appointment at the salon every few weeks and get a professional manicure. Technology in nail treatments has advanced in recent years and now you have a variety of options other than acrylic nails when it comes to manicures.

The latest shellac and gel nail treatments are applied like traditional polish but they are cured under a UV light. They are hardened and completely dry before you even step foot out of the salon. So no more smudging your polish while your fumble to get your keys ou of your purse.

Typically, they priced about double that of a regular manicure. You can expect they to stay glossy and beautiful for at least two weeks -- maybe even up to a month, depending how much (or little) you use your hands.

Removal isn't as simple as wiping off traditional nail lacquer with nail polish remover, however. The removal process can be harsh on your nails and skin, but it's also not as typically as damaging as acrylic nail removal. You can do a gel manicure at home but you'll need to have an LED light.

Should you try a gel manicure? >>

At-home manicures

Shellac and gel manicures are great and all, but since not every woman can get to the salon all the time so many of us just do it at home. And just because you do your nails the old fashioned way with inexpensive polish doesn't mean that you have to deal with chipping. With some simple precautions, you can make nail color lasts.

  • Before polishing, wash your hands, and wipe your nails with polish remover to remove any oil and dirt.
  • Always use a base coat.
  • Apply polish in thin coats. Three thin coats of polish will last much longer than one thick one.
  • Let polish completely dry between each coat.
  • Polish the tips and slightly underneath your nails. The tips are wear the chipping begins.
  • Apply a clear top coat to seal your polish.
  • Allow your nails to dry one hour before handling anything.
  • Submerge your hands in cool water after your manicure when the polish is completely dry.
  • Apply cooking oil to each nail and wipe off the excess. This helps seal the polish so that it won't chip,  plus vegetable and/or olive oil is good for your cuticles.
  • Use top coat several times a week to reduce chipping.

Fresh color

Looking for a fresh new nail color this season? Try Deborah Lippmann's new line with cool ice cream-inspired shades.

More about beautiful nails

8 Step DIY French manicure
DIY nail strengthener
Nail tools and products to buy now

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