10 tips for a long-lasting mani

With hands so busy wiping, washing, scraping, stroking, peeling, patting, and prizing, it’s little wonder a fresh manicure is often mangled within days (if not hours!) of application. Here’s 10 tips for making your mani last longer – without another expensive trip to the nail bar.

By Tamsin Howse

I’ve spent more time painting my nails than I should admit, but one upside is that it has taught me a few tips and tricks along the way. So when Mrs Fox needed someone to share how to get nail polish looking pristine and lasting a long time, I was all too happy to share my knowledge with all you foxy readers. Because here’s my claim to fame: my at-home manicures last an average of 8-10 days.


1. Wash your hands

You want to ensure you don’t get any grit or nasties under the nail polish so always wash your hands before you apply polish.

2. Buff your nails

Buffing your nails with a good nail buffer will ensure you have the smoothest base to work on and will help your nail polish to stick.

3. Apply a base coat

Always apply a base coat. This will protect your nails from staining. Nobody wants gross, yellow nails! Absolutely never ever under any circumstances should you paint your nails red without a base coat! I also recommend using OPI Chip Skip under your base coat (not on top) to extend the wear of your polish.


4. Two thin coats

Always apply your nail polish in two thin coats to speed up the drying process. It’s tempting if you’re chucking on nail polish right before you head out the door to do one thick coat. Don’t! You will damage the polish on your way and it will look awful. If you’re in a real hurry do one thin coat only. It will dry a lot faster.

5. Use less polish

If you have less polish on your brush, it’s easier to control. Wiping the bush on the edge of the bottle will remove excess polish and avoid any random blobs or clumps. This will also reduce your drying time.

6. Three strokes

Paint your nails in 3 even strokes – the middle, the left and the right. This will ensure your nail is evenly covered and reduce the likelihood of messing it up.

7. Don’t touch the sides

Leave a slight gap at both the base of the nail and the edges of the nail, this will make your nail polish look a lot neater and make your nails look the perfect shape, even if they aren’t. This is my number 1 tip for perfect nails.


8. Apply a top coat

In order to get that perfectly shiny gloss, apply a top coat. This can also help your nail polish to dry faster if it’s a quick drying top coat. Although if your top coat dries and the layers underneath are still wet it increases the chances of creating indents in your polish, or getting those stylish sheet marks. If you can let the nail polish dry before applying top coat, that is best. I recommend OPI Rapi-Dry top coat.

9. Cold Water

Dipping your touch-dry nails in cold water or running them under cold water (as long as it’s a gentle flow) will set your nail polish faster. Although it won’t be completely dry you’ll be less likely to smudge or leave little marks in it.

10. Remove your polish

Remove your polish as soon as it has any obvious chips. Especially if you’re trying to appear organised and pulled together. Chipped nail polish is never a good look.


Bonus Tips

Use good nail polish. In my experience OPI make the best polish.


If you do smudge it

Go over a smudge or dent with top-coat (it really works). If you don’t have top-coat handy, run it under cold water, or lick it. It sounds really strange, but the moisture allows the smudge to straighten out.

Happy painting!

Tamsin is a wife, stepmother and blogger with a passion for people and relationships, fashion and beauty, and an inability to successfully complete household tasks. Co-founder of KiKi & Tea and blogger at tamsinhowse.com or you can follow her on twitter @TamsinHowse

What are your tips for making your manicure last longer? 

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  • Angelique

    After step 9, don’t follow up with towel drying your hands! Doh!

    • http://tamsinhowse.com/blog/ Tamsin Howse

      Haha! True! I dry the rest of my hands and leave my nails wet.

  • Marina

    I’ve been walking past the Opi bottles – but now I”ll stop and pick one up :) 

    • FoxInFlats

      Hi Marina, I quite like Opi too. And their mix of colours are fab. 

  • http://twitter.com/iamevilcupcake Evil Cupcake

    I am an OPI whore. Tamsin can confirm this as she has seen most of my collection.

    I use Chip Skip
    Then Nail Envy
    Then 2 x Colour
    The top coat

    Nail envy improves the overall health of my nails.

    I saw on a website that OPI now do a ridge filler.

  • Courtney

    thanks for this fabulous post! so good to pick up your handy tips. will definitely be using them on my next mani! :-)

    • FoxInFlats

      Tamsin’s done a great job!!!

  • Lazzarooch

    This post actually makes me sad.  My nails have been ruined by a few shellac sessions.  They are now weak and brittle and are the shortest they have ever been in my life.  Actually they are not even short – they are non-existent.  Any hints or tips on rescuing them would be greatly appreciated!!  Then I will follow this manicure down to the letter and invest in lots and lots of OPI.  Hurrah!

    • FoxInFlats

      Oh dear that sounds awful. I’ve been doing shellac for about 6 months now and not had a problem, but that SCRAPING of the nail – eeek! Fingers (and nails) crossed they get better soon. x

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  • http://twitter.com/Calendulafitz Irene Fitzpatrick

    I’ve always used tip no. 9! Thanks for sharing the rest though especially the warning about red nail polish :)

  • Lisa mckenzie

    I have always licked my nail if i had a smudge and I love Sally hansen rapid Dry it is good to get your nails touched dried,Thanks for the tips.

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