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3 Tips to Keep Your Manicure Chip-Free and Fabulous

essie blue nail polish
Just say no to chips.

Back in 2008, The New York Times tried to make chipped nails a thing.

Yeah…I’m not about that life. I’m all for purposefully messy hair (fun buns 4 life!), but a messy mani gets a HARD PASS. I’ll take my manicures neat and tidy, thank you very much, with a side of “no chips on tips, please.”

There are a couple things that make it easier to live a chip-free nail life, like 1) finding a base and top coat that can withstand everyday life (for me, those are currently the Smith & Cult Base Coat and Essie Gel Couture Topcoat) and 2) taking a few preventative measures to lessen the likelihood of chips at the tips of my nails, which is where I always get them first.

Here are three things that help keep my nails looking freshly painted all week long:

1. Don’t forget to tip

First, before you paint a layer of polish, paint underneath the tips of your nails, and then run the brush along the tip (holding your nail horizontally, brush the polish on the vertical part of the tip).

Wait about 30 seconds before applying your first legit coat.

Why do this, you might ask? Well, because doing it this way covers your tips in an extra protective layer, so as your nails bang about throughout the week, your tips have an extra layer of armor on them.

Taking this tiny extra step makes all the difference in the world for me. I see fewer chips when I paint my nails.

2. Do a three-day refresh

“Siri, remind me to do another layer of topcoat in three days.”

I usually keep the same polish on my nails for a week, and three days is usually the perfect time to freshen up my manis with another topcoat layer.

I mean, you could do one daily, or every other day (I have friends who do that), but if I do too many topcoat layers, it becomes counterproductive because my polish starts to get thick, and then I’m tempted to peel it off when I get out of the shower.

Note: using a good quick-drying topcoat makes you more likely to actually sit down and do this! Sally Hansen has one called the Insta-Dri Top Coat that’s only five bucks and sets in a minute, but right now I’m really into Essie Gel Couture Top Coat overall. It’s super shiny, and it takes about 10 minutes to dry.

3. Do the double-glove

Before you put a pair of gloves on to do anything — wash dishes, garden, work with power tools — put on a pair of latex gloves first, and slip your real gloves on top.

Yes, this is extra and totally next level, but it’ll help your manicure look great longer. Someone in the comments suggested it, and when I’m wearing gloves, I think it does make my polish last longer.

Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,


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