Top 5 Ways to Prevent Nail Polish Chipping!

Hi Lovelies,

How many times have you gotten a manicure only to have it chip the next day?! Wanna know how you can make your manicure last longer? Look no further!  I did a little research and picked the brains of my local nail technicians to bring you the 5 best ways to make your nail polish last longer without chipping!

Find out if your guilty of making some rookie manicure mistakes! Scroll down for details.

But first… a few nail inspirations from Instagram (@prettygossip)!

Nail Art By PrettyGossip


Just in time for 4th of July…
My most popular nail tutorial on Pinterest (@prettygossip).

Click here for details on this tutorial.

Splatter Paint Nails- PrettyGossip

Okay… here we go~
Top 5 Ways to Prevent Nail Polish Chipping!

1) Avoid water.

  • Water is great for your skin, but terrible for polish on your nails.
  • Your nails should be completely dry when you apply your basecoat. If your nail bed is even slightly wet, it prevents your basecoat and/or polish from properly adhering to your nails. If the polish isn’t adhering to your nails… it’s likely to lift off and chip.
  • After a manicure, you should avoid getting your nails wet. This means stay away from pool, beach, and maybe even ignore the dirty dishes in the sink for a few days. The more exposure you have to water, the faster your polish will wear and chip.

2) Avoid oils.

  • Getting oils, lotions and other types of potions on your nails will also cause chips. My suggestion is to avoid using cuticle creams, hand lotions, or even moisturizing soaps right before a manicure!

3) Don’t shake, just roll.

  • The “mixing balls” in the bottle should really be called “rolling balls.” You should always roll your polish to mix. Shaking your nail polish bottle creates air bubbles within the polish which can prevent an even application.

4) Apply thin layers.

  • 2-3 thin layers are better than 1 thick layer. A thick layer can leave tiny air bubbles in the application which can (again) compromise adhesion to the nail.

5) Apply top coat while your polish is wet…

  • This one was a surprise! Did you know that top coat is most effective when applied to wet polish? Applying top coat to wet nail polish allows the top coat to penetrate through the polish, helping everything bond to the nail bed.
  • If you’re looking for a great top coat… my favorite of all time is Seche Vite. Check out my 5 day test here!

So there you have it! Keep these 5 tips in mind the next time you put a fresh coat of paint on your nails, and your new mani should last for dayyyyyssss. Good luck!~

Got some mani advice to share?! Please share in the comments below!

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41 Comments

  1. flnibklfb
    April 21, 2016 / 2:49 pm

    I can never get polish to stick on to my nails for more than 2 days

    Please Help

    • April 21, 2016 / 2:51 pm

      Always start on nails that are COMPLETELY dry. Use primer which is usually alcohol, then use basecoat, color and topcoat. Also very important to not get any of these steps on your cuticles because as the basecoat, color or topcoat separates from your skin/cuticles… Your manicure will start to lift off and chip as well. Hope this makes sense.

  2. laura con
    March 30, 2016 / 6:32 pm

    Instead of shaking your polish up and down, roll it between your hands to eradicate and prevent air bubbles. If you paint air bubbles onto your nails, they’ll chip faster. I also use the Lady Soma Skin & Nail cream about once a day, and my nails do not chip at all.

    • May 27, 2016 / 2:53 am

      Agreed. Rolling between your hands is the correct way to “shake” your polish. 🙂

  3. Susie
    March 9, 2016 / 3:47 am

    Thanks for this! 😄

  4. Missy
    February 13, 2016 / 11:05 am

    Does old nail polish chip easier? All my nail polishes are pretty old and they all chip within two or three days

    • February 13, 2016 / 5:45 pm

      Great question. Formulas (and color!) can shift and change over time resulting in separation of the polish ingredients. With old polish especially, be sure to roll the bottle to thoroughly mix the formula. 😉 if that doesn’t help, might be time to toss it out. Thanks for visiting my site and the question!

  5. Terri St Peter
    June 20, 2015 / 6:04 am

    My daughter did my nails and applied nail polish remover to all my nails just before putting on the base coat. My regular nail polish lasted 6 days before a couple nails chipped. Last week she did my nails again and I was more careful with lotions, soap etc and it has been 6 days and no chips yet. Just wondering if it would be a good idea to freshen up the top coat or if that will ruin the nails? I think the key is clean, oil free nails.

    • June 26, 2015 / 12:47 am

      Yes.. OIL and WATER are nail polishes worst enemy! 🙂 Thanks for the comment!

  6. Maria
    June 4, 2015 / 2:51 am

    I need some help! I have painted my nails for years myself and use good products. Usually my nail varnish stays on good for 5 days but then starts coming off a tiny bit at the top of the nail, more wear and tear kind of thing. Recently my nails have started chipping a lot after one or two days and more on the side of the nail. Any suggestions as I am doing the same as I always have and desperate for a solution…. Thanks

  7. shia
    February 7, 2015 / 6:46 am

    Does buffing every week have anything to do with chipping (really smooth nails)?

    • May 27, 2016 / 2:56 am

      Smooth nails actually help polish adhere to the nail. What might become an issue is bugging so much that your nails become too thin. If there is a lot of bend in your nails, polish tend to chip. Honestly, the overall health of your nails (thick, non brittle, and smooth nails) is the key to great polish wear.

  8. A. Thompson
    February 5, 2015 / 7:16 pm

    I have created my own colors and when I do, I add a little clear coat. The clear coat keeps the color from thickening up and my colors are fantastic and stay on for atleast 7 days. I’ve also noticed if you stick with the same company or product for your Mani from beginning to end, the results are better. I love Sally Hanson products. Also, for some reason, glitter in the polish lasts longer than polish without glitter. Remember when putting the polish on, do 3 sstrokes, 1st down the center from cuticle to tip, 2nd to the right from cuticle to side wall to tip and 3rd to the left from cuticle to side wall to tip. It works really well with excellent results.

    • Marsha
      June 28, 2015 / 5:44 am

      A. Thompson, please tell me what clear coat you add and do you mean that you pour it into the bottle of nail polish??? I have been using the Sally Hansen diamond strength no chip sparkled nail color, and it chips within a day or two! I need better results!!

  9. Taran
    January 15, 2015 / 10:01 am

    My nails are horrible and chip the next day…I ordered the seche vite and it does work better than normal polishes but didn’t work that great for my nails….but has worked for everyone else and I do many people’s nails!! I just need to find something that works for me now…

  10. pattysviolet
    January 5, 2015 / 11:16 pm

    I use China glaze fast forward top coat. It can last all week. Even leaves a very extreme shiny thick coat. But I have a problem with my daughter’s nails. Her nailpoloish literally chips off the next day almost to the full nail most of the time. Help! What can I use on her nails that hwer nail polish will stay on. I do the same steps I do on my nails to my daughter’s nails.

    • January 8, 2015 / 11:45 pm

      Never tried the China Glaze one. Will have to buy one! Everyone’s nails react differently to temperature, weather, and some people have ridges on their nails which make it harder for polish to stay put. It all really depends. Not sure how young your daughter is, but maybe she’s rougher on her nails than you are? So many variables… Hope this helps a bit. Thanks for visiting and the comment. xoxo

  11. Shay
    November 5, 2014 / 1:25 pm

    I was wondering how do you get the top coat on the wet nail polish without it smearing and without laying the top coat on too thick?

    • November 9, 2014 / 8:41 pm

      I think the key is to give the colored polish just enough to start drying, but not dry enough. Usually, by the time I paint the other 9 nails and make my way back to the original nail to put topcoat, enough time has passed where it won’t smear. Hope this makes sense and good luck!!!!

  12. October 31, 2014 / 6:08 pm

    As a nail blogger, I’ll definitely concur: AVOID WATER at all cost. Of course, not to the point of extremes, but everyone knows what we mean – I used to wash my hands every damn 5 minutes, and my skin was bleeding it was so dry – but my hands being ‘clean’ was more important. So it’s not JUST about the nails.

  13. Bonnie
    September 25, 2014 / 10:08 am

    As a hairstylist i literally cannot avoid having my hands in water and oils all the time :/

    • October 11, 2014 / 10:31 pm

      That’s tough. I have friends in the medical field that also complain about that too. They’re always washing their hands. The best advice I can give you is use a good topcoat. Here’s the one that I swear by: Seche Vite.

  14. Siokoey
    September 17, 2014 / 5:54 pm

    I never use water for all my clients for manicure, siokoey, Duane Reade , 40 wall st, New York

  15. Zoe
    August 14, 2014 / 3:38 pm

    I am really bad at applying nail polish and ha e started using tape around my nails on my cuticals

  16. Doreen
    July 25, 2014 / 5:47 am

    I have a client who has a problem with nail polish staying on tried everything..she a
    So has ridges..please help.

  17. June 29, 2014 / 1:26 pm

    Or check out Jamberry Nails… you can design your own, but we have a design very simular to this. You can also apply a clear wrap over your own art to preserve the design. Jamberry Nail Shields are just that shields over your natural nail, fake nails or polish! They last two weeks on your hands and 6+ weeks on your toes! Follow me on facebook http://www.facebook.com/LWnailwraps or order http://www.leannewu.jamberrynails.net

  18. Kristi
    June 11, 2014 / 1:47 pm

    How do you keep the foil nail polish from chipping. I love it, but it chips the very next day.

  19. Barbara Bassoff
    December 7, 2013 / 6:29 pm

    I use a topcoat I love way better than SecheVite, got it at Sally Beauty…..Tough Coat! Lasts days and days, and I am a hairstylist!

    • December 8, 2013 / 9:15 pm

      Better than SecheVite?! I’ll have to check it out. Thanks so much for visiting and your comment!

    • December 28, 2013 / 3:56 am

      So happy to hear about this. Excited to try it out. Thanks for the tip!

  20. LMF
    September 15, 2013 / 6:43 am

    I LOVE your page! So many great hints! Thanks!

  21. courthanson
    June 28, 2013 / 8:36 pm

    I watched a video on youtube a few years ago and I have done this ever since… Get a 4 sided buffing block, they are usually a few different colors, and make your nails very very buff- almost to the point that they shine! Whatever reason, they hold the polish that much better! Also, make sure to cap your nails with polish so it goes over the top of your nail. Clean behind the nail with a little bit of polish remover and a qtip, then apply the top coat. It makes it so the polish doesn’t wear off on the tips of your nails.

  22. June 28, 2013 / 7:24 am

    Top coat on wet nails? I will definitely try that! 🙂

  23. April
    June 27, 2013 / 11:06 am

    Thanks sooooo much for the tips & tricks. I NEVER would of even thought applying a top coats to wet polish. I can’t wait to try it. I also checked out the Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat review you did. I’ve never heard of this brand, but will try to find it to try. Thanks sooo much for your great & very informative blog posts. 🙂

    • June 29, 2013 / 4:45 pm

      So glad it was helpful. Thanks for visiting! Hope you’ll visit often 😉

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