Make sure your nails are completely dry before applying nail polish (whether at the salon or at home). Polish adheres better to a dry surface. To remove old polish, use an acetone remover and lint-free cotton pads.
This way, if you do have a chip, you will have the color on hand to fix it.
Apply polish to the edge of the nail tip (so that it almost looks like it is being painted on under the nail tip).
Nail polish can take up to 12 hours to dry, so avoid extreme heat (Jacuzzis, saunas, etc.) and try not to take a bath or do the dishes without gloves.
Apply oil to your nails and cuticles on a daily basis. The oils made for nails contain vitamin E and other essential ingredients that are designed to add moisture back into your nail beds and help prevent chipping and splitting.
Treatments such as CND Shellac or OPI's Axxium Gel Lacquer are applied like regular polish and "cured" under UV light. They're about double the price of a regular manicure but are designed to resist chipping and stay shiny. They are also hardened and completely dry before you even get out of your salon chair. Both last two to four weeks (depending on how you use your hands).
They both also show a "root line" as the nail grows. Both take 10 to 15 minutes to be removed; each nail is wrapped in an acetone "shellac remover wrap" and OPI Gel Lacquer is lifted by filing the nails and soaking them in remover. Although the new gel nails are not as damaging as acrylic nails, they still have a weakening effect. Give your nails a break every other month so they stay strong and healthy.
This video tells you how to do the perfect manicure and pedicure at home.
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