A Pro Manicurist Says These Polish Mistakes Will Quickly Chip Your Tips
Oh, the joy of walking into a nail salon greeted by the colorful wall of lacquers. Selecting your polish du jour is half the fun! You know what's not so fun? Chipping said polish just days later. It's a fate I've begrudgingly come to accept as I clack away on my keyboard, until I received a manicure at JINSoon's Tribeca spa: After a week, my emerald tips remained just as glossy as when I stepped out of the salon. After two, they still remained completely chip-free. What was this sorcery?! I had to ask Jin Soon Choi, editorial manicurist and founder of JINSoon, to learn more.
Below, find her nonnegotiable tips to extend the life of your mani:
Remove all greasy residue.
"The most important measure you can take to ensure a long-lasting manicure is to thoroughly remove all grease residue from your nail bed," Choi notes. Hydrating your cuticles a la cuticle oil and hand cream is crucial for a stunning mani (cracked skin and frays can take away from an elevated finish, wouldn't you say?), but you'll want to dry the actual nail plate before picking up the polish. Otherwise, the lacquer will slide right off.
On that note: "When you have healthy smooth nails, nail polish tends to last longer, so it's good to buff and shine your nails before applying polish," Choi adds. When your nails contain grooves and divots, the polish can pool in certain places, which can lead to chipping. Check out these tips to remedy brittle nails and make sure to invest in quality tools, like a glass nail file and nonabrasive buffers to gently reseal the keratin layers.
JINsoon's Effortless Nail Buffer/Shiner, for example, has a double-sided surface with superfine abrasives that smooth and even out the nail surface, as opposed to three-way or four-way shiny buffers that may be harsh on the nails.
Use clean, high-quality polishes.
Your polish choices (including base coats, colors, and top coats) can certainly influence the longevity of your mani. Choose lacquers that contain nourishing, conditioning ingredients rather than drying players like formaldehyde, camphor, and toluene. Not only is this a solid choice for overall nail health, but when your nails are weak and brittle, your polish will chip easier. After all, how is a lacquer going to stay on nails that frequently break and split?
So I can thank JINSoon's clean, quality polishes for my shiny, good-as-new mani. "My award-winning, double-patented, high-gloss, rapid drying, vegan, cruelty-free formula contains high-tech polymers and nontoxic resins for longer wear, yet it is 21-free," she explains. "I wanted to maximize the durability of the polish while eliminating the toxicity, regardless of how expensive the formula would be." Personally, I'm itching to get my hands on this olive green number—dirty martini nails are a hit this fall.
Commit to touch ups.
As a general rule: Your mani doesn't end after the final swipe of polish. To really encourage long-wear, you'll want to prioritize upkeep. It's not too much of a hassle—simply touch up the tips of your nails since the tips tend to chip first, says Choi. "Use a long-lasting top coat and touch up the edge of the nails with that as well," she adds. "Apply a top coat three days later to freshen the nail polish—that will extend the life of your manicure."
See, top coats help protect the pigment from chipping, but that coat of polish tends to wear off over time, which makes the color underneath more vulnerable. By touching up the top coat, you can reinforce that barrier and keep the pigment intact.
If you frequently deal with chipped polish, try Choi's tips to increase its longevity. We also have a full guide to helping your polish last longer if you're painting your nails at home—but if you're just hoping to breathe some life into your professional mani, Choi's advice has you covered.
Jamie Schneider is the Beauty & Wellness Editor at mindbodygreen. She has a B.A. in Organizational Studies and English from the University of Michigan, and her work has appeared in Coveteur, The Chill Times, and Wyld Skincare. In her role at mbg, she reports on everything from the top beauty industry trends, to the gut-skin connection and the microbiome, to the latest expert makeup hacks. She currently lives in New York City.