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How To Make Gel Nails Last Longer: 8 Easy Tips

Gel nail polish looks great on your nails… Until it chips too.

Researched, written by Amber & The Team
Updated on July 9, 2023

Woman With Manicure Made With Gel Nail Polish, Learning How To Make Gel Nails Last Longer

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Woman'S Hand Showing Off Her Gel Nails On Her Sweater'S Sleeve

Gel nail polish is a must for anyone looking for a manicure that pops and lasts.

Sadly, even with gel, that fresh-looking set is bound to chip and wither like all the rest.

Fortunately, there are some tips and tricks out there on how to make gel nails last longer.

These will help you rock that two-week set for up to a whole month!

Here we have a list of our top five favorite ways to get your gel nail polish set to endure even your busiest of months.


How To Make Gel Nails Last Longer


1. Avoid Hot Water


Of course, there is nothing quite like a steamy shower after a long day of hard work, but it’s so unpleasant to look down at your hands and notice that the beautiful gel nail polish that you absolutely adore is already lifting and chipping!

If you are noticing premature damage to your fresh gel nail polish, then you and your shower water may just be the hidden culprits.

Prolonged exposure to hot water and steam means bad news when gel nail polish is involved.

This is because heat softens that beautiful gel of yours, causing it to lift easily, which is why it’s easiest to remove your gel manicure while in the shower.

So, what can you do about it?

If you want to learn how to make gel nails last longer, either be sure to lower the temperature when you do hop in the shower or, if you can’t seem to stomach anything cooler than scorching, then just be sure to limit your time.


2. Use Cuticle Oil


When learning how to make gel nails last longer, there’s one thing you should never forget – hydration and moisture.

The process of prepping your delicate nails and cuticles for a gel manicure can be extremely drying, so it is vital that you continue to add moisture well after your manicure is complete.

Without additional hydration, your nails will naturally dry out and become a flaky disaster, resulting in prematurely chipped polish—which isn’t a look you want to sport in the summertime.

Fortunately, the fix is an easy one, simply apply cuticle oil daily by brushing the cuticles directly, as well as the surrounding skin.

For ultimate hydration and softness, we recommend applying the cuticle oil right before bed and following up with a moisturizing hand lotion.

Most cuticle oils are infused with nourishing agents like vitamin E, jojoba oil, coconut oil, and more, so not only will the oil ensure that you’ve got the longest-lasting gel manicure around, but your skin and nails will thrive, thank you very much!

Opi Pro Spa Manicure Nail And Cuticle Oil

OPI ProSpa Collection, Manicure Nail & Cuticle Oil


3. Become Friends With Rubber Gloves


Yes, we are aware that rubber gloves aren’t exactly the cutest fashion accessory out there, but if you want to learn how to make gel nails last longer, listen up.

If you find yourself weary of washing dishes soon after your salon appointment, we recommend going out and grabbing a durable pair of rubber gloves to protect your fresh set.

Not only is prolonged exposure to warm water and soap bad news for your nails but so are many of the ingredients found in your favorite household cleaning products.

The chemicals found within cleaning products are proven to weaken your nails, so we suggest breaking out those chic rubber gloves whenever you tidy up around the house as well.


4. Add An Extra Layer Of Top Coat


When learning how to make gel nails last longer, one of the last steps in your gel manicure process should be putting on that beautiful and glossy top coat.

This coat essentially seals in the colored polish, preventing any premature chipping.

What we suggest is that you add an additional top coat around a week after your salon visit to guarantee that any potential damage is kept at bay.

Whether you go with an actual top coat or clear polish is completely up to you, just be sure to allow ample time for drying.

Afterward, you’ll want to repeat this process every couple of days to minimize any future chipping.


5. File, Don’t Cut


If you are looking for a surefire way to completely ruin your new and shiny gel manicure, then break out your clippers and cut away.

Seriously, clipping your nails is probably one of the worst things you could do to a fresh set of gel nail polish.

Do you loathe the look of your nails growing out of your perfect and glossy manicure?

So do we, but ditch the clippers and reach for a nail filer instead if you want to truly learn how to make gel nails last longer!

When a gel manicure is clipped, you are essentially removing that effective seal and inviting water to seep in between the gel and the nail, resulting in that precious gel lifting up, ruining your manicure.

With that being said, filing should only be done if absolutely necessary, and afterward, we’d recommend resealing the edges with a little nail glue to prevent any more damage or breaking.


6. Remember: Your Nails Are Not Tools


This may sound like a no-brainer, but it’s one of the most important things when learning how to make gel nails last longer: don’t use your nails as tools!

And I mean don’t open drink cans or peel off stickers with your nails if you want to avoid that beautiful gel nail polish chipping.

Anything that puts unnecessary stress on your new manicure will most likely shorten its lifespan, sometimes even considerably so.

Instead, opt to use your finger beds if you can.

It might be a hard skill to master, especially if you’re a lover of longer nails, but you can master it nonetheless!


7. Be Gentle


We all have that one habit that surfaces once we become nervous.

For some, it’s skin picking, and for others it’s nail biting and scratching.

Well, if you’re one of the latter, I’ve got bad news – it’s super bad for your manicure if you want to learn how to make gel nails last longer!

Biting and scratching puts unnecessary stress onto the nail bed covered in gel nail polish which can cause premature cracking and chipping.

It’s also especially important to avoid peeling any of the gel nail polish off your nails, even if you notice it has started to chip away.

I know it’s annoying and you really want to pick that small chipped piece off, but it can cause even more damage, both to your nail and to your gel nail polish.

The same goes for scratching or scraping off things on various surfaces – try to avoid it as best as you can.

There are various non-abrasive tools you can try using, like a wooden or silicone spatulas, for example (avoid using sharp instruments as they may ruin the surface you’re trying to scrape things off of).


8. Minor Damage Can Be Fixed Up At Home


If you notice small cracks and chips beginning to form on your newly-done gel manicure, don’t panic yet – small damage can be repaired at home if you have the right tools!

For this step, you will need to have a file, a UV or LED lamp, and some gel nail polish (best if it’s the same shade as your nails but if not, clear gel nail polish will work too).

Once you become aware of the minor damage on your gel nails, start by gently filing away any of the rough edges that formed due to the damage.

Then, apply a small amount of gel nail polish to your nails and cure it under a UV or LED lamp.

As a last step, apply a top coat to your nails to really blend everything in.

Just as a side note, if you do decide to use clear gel nail polish, it most likely won’t hide the existing damage from sight, but it will definitely help you to not harm your gel nails any further.


Woman Filing Her Painted Nails

So, there you have it!

We hope that you enjoyed all of our secret hacks to ensure that you’ve got the glossiest and longest-lasting gel nail polish (or should I say – manicure) around.

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