Four Tips for Long Lasting Manicures at Home

how to get your nail polish to last longer

Are professional manicures breaking the bank, but at home manicures chip within a day or two? I’ve got a solution — four tips to make your at home manicure last almost two weeks! 

Outfit details:
Floral Top
Black Jeans
Essie Gel Couture Polish
Essie Gel Top Coat

I don’t like getting gel manicures because it’s time consuming to go to the salon regularly, it gets expensive, and after doing it a few times in a row my nails are flimsy and weak for months afterward.

I did professional gel manicures for an entire year straight many years ago to break my habit of biting my nails (which, by the way, totally worked), but since then I haven’t ever done it more than once a year. Usually as a birthday present to myself.

A few months ago I mentioned on my instagram stories that I had painted my nails at home with a gel nail polish and a really good top coat, but I was so frustrated when my nail polish starting lifting the next day.

So many people responded with advice and tips, and after taking your advice, I’m so thrilled to tell you I’ve found the secrets to long lasting manicures at home. I can get my nails to last almost two weeks!

 

essie nail polish to get your nails to last longer
how to get your nail polish to last longer
nail polish at home

Four tips for a long lasting manicure at home

I’ve been doing these tips with my Essie Gel Couture polishes, and they’ve stayed in nearly perfect condition for two weeks!

  1. Prep your nails properly. Use acetone or isopropyl alcohol on a cotton ball to clean your nail beds. This will remove any oils that would prevent the nail polish from sticking nicely to your nail. Next, use a nail buffer or fine grade nail file and gently buff your nails. The slight texture on your nails will help the nail polish stick and last longer.
  2. Don’t mix brands of nail polish. Sometimes I like to do one coat of one color and another coat of another color to create a custom color. Or add a glitter polish over another polish. But the mix of brands doesn’t always work, and you’re more likely to have faster chipping if you mix.
  3. Stick to two coats of polish and one coat of top coat. The more layers of nail polish you stack on, the more likely it will peel or lift off because it’s stacked so high. The best combination is two layers of your nail polish color, and one layer of your top coat.
  4. Don’t forget the tips of your nails! This is an important step to keep the very tips of your nails from chipping: make sure after sweeping the brush over your entire nail, you also do a vertical sweep across the tip. Do this with your top coat as well, so it seals the entire nail in!

 

The Essie Gel Couture polish is pricier than other nail polish, but my bottles have lasted me years, and it’s so much less expensive than monthly trips to the nail salon.

If you have other brands or tricks that you’ve tried and loved, share in the comments below!

 

photos by priscilla frey 

Shop this Post

17 Comments

  1. sHARON says:

    gREAT TIPS! fOR DARKER COLOURS ESPECIALLY, i RECOMMEND USING A BASE COAT TO PREVENT STAINING THE NAIL.

    oN AN UNRELATED NOTE, i APPRECIATE THAT EVEN THOUGH aeo SPONSORED YOUR POST A COUPLE OF WEEKS AGO WITH THE BLACK JEANS, I’m REALLY LOVING SEEING YOU WEAR THEM A TON! iT’S REFRESHING SEEING A BLOGGER RECOMMENDING SOMETHING THEY ACTUALLY LOVE 🙂

    • Merrick says:

      Literally wearing the jeans right now 😉 I only promote things I truly use and love — thanks for your kind words!

      Also thanks for the tip on a base coat! I haven’t had any staining issues, but I could over time so it’s good to be aware. Thanks!

  2. Jeanne says:

    Merrick… I’m hoping to try your tips – but have one question. How do you REMOVE the gel polish after 2 weeks? And then, do you let your nails “breathe” for a bit before doing another at-home mani? I love the color you chose too!

    • Natalie says:

      Janne–I have used this Essie Gel polish and it comes off with regular nail polish remover or acetone. That’s why I personally love it so much! Gives you the look and long-lasting wear of gel polish, but doesn’t destroy your nails 🙂

    • Merrick says:

      Yes, what Natalie said! It’s the best cause it comes off with regular polish remover. When I get gel nails at a salon, it destroys my nails afterward, so that’s why I’ve stayed away from it the last few years.

      And since there’s no damage, I take off one polish and put on the next right away — no need for downtime!

  3. Natalie says:

    I love Essie’s gel polish! Fact: If you buy it at Ulta and don’t love the color, you can return/exchange it. i bought a color one time that was barely noticeable, even with 2 coats of polish. they let me exchange it for a different color, no questions asked. (Obviously I would never be a jerk and take advantage of this, but it’s nice to know in case something doesn’t work out.)

  4. Yándar says:

    I haven’t tried the essie gel polish, but I use the Revlon ColorStay Gel Envy polish and love it! I also re-do my topcoat every 4-5 days, just to give things a little extra sealing power, and I get at least 7-10 days out of my home manicures. I keep my nails really short (old habit from growing up playing violin), so I clip them weekly. After 7 days, I clip them without removing the polish and just add another topcoat. Maybe if I didn’t clip them, I could stretch them to two weeks!

  5. Yándary says:

    I haven’t tried the essie gel polish, but I use the Revlon ColorStay Gel Envy polish and love it! I also re-do my topcoat every 4-5 days, just to give things a little extra sealing power, and I get at least 7-10 days out of my home manicures. I keep my nails really short (old habit from growing up playing violin), so I clip them weekly. After 7 days, I clip them without removing the polish and just add another topcoat. Maybe if I didn’t clip them, I could stretch them to two weeks!

  6. Hayley says:

    I also suggest using A sticky base coat. Cnd has one But I’m currently USING one from pro-fx and it works great! My manicures last so much longer.

  7. ELIZABETH says:

    Great tIps! My nails are finally strong and growing longer than ever and i think it’s BECAUSE i haven’t had a shellac manicure in over a year! Eager to try thEse tips at home! Question: do these pOlishes air dry Or do i need to have a Uv light?

  8. Rosemary says:

    Love love love this brand of polish! Sometimes I use a base coat for the darker colors and it seems to last even longer. Mine lasts a good 5 days without the base coat. When my nails start growing out it drives me crazy. But painting my nails once a week is my me time. I think I found out about gel couture from you a while ago so thanks!

  9. Ashley says:

    what color are you wearing in the pictures? I love it!!!

  10. ALacia says:

    Essie is my all time favorite brand! I have had the same luck and had bottles for years and they are still going strong!

  11. KatIe says:

    I use these sAme nails polishes but also use the essie base coat (its greenish). My nails last a week for sure! But i am always do the Dishes, kid bathS, etc.

Leave a Reply

Next Up
floral dress with sneakers
Instagram Roundup + Weekend Sales

Close