One of the best ways to keep your mani in good shape is to protect your manicure. The best way to do this is to not use your nails as tools! By not prying things open all the time you’ll prevent damage to the tips of your manicure that would later enlarge into bigger chips. You should also not expose your manicure to extremes, such as very hot or cold temps (I haven’t really seen this mentioned anywhere, but I swear it makes my mani last fewer days), or to chemicals such as cleaning solutions. I try to not open soda cans and I wear gloves for washing dishes or gardening, and since taking these precautions I’ve managed to save myself many a ruined manicure!
For me, the most important part of maintaining my manicure is preventing chips, and keeping the ones I do get from enlarging. I do this primarily through use of top coat, again with my favorite Seche Vite Top Coat. I usually apply the top coat every 3 days or so, on top of clean nails (I simply wash my hands before application). If I get a chip I will often apply a top coat as quickly as I can, I have a spare bottle in my purse for this purpose. I generally though can go about 4-5 days with minimal tip wear and no chips before I change my manicure.
Care of your cuticles is equally important to the look of your mani. One of the best products out there for this is Creative Nail Design Cuticle Eraser. This product is an alpha-hydroxy acid based lotion that is meant to help exfoliate the cuticle area. I try to use this product a few times a day, and to help remind myself I have tubes of it stashed all over the place! The lotion is simply applied to the base of the nail and rubbed in to both the cuticle area and the lateral nail bed. With use of this lotion and Sally Hansen Instant Cuticle Remover, I have nearly eliminated my nearly daily, painful hang nails.
The other component to cuticle care is moisturization. Every time you wash your hands or expose them to an anti-bacterial gel, you are drying out your cuticles. In order to help seal in moisture, you’ll need to moisturize your cuticles after washing and frequently throughout the day. Honestly, I’m not good at remembering this at all! You can keep a lot of moisture in the cuticles by simply applying lotion right after you wash your hands (less than 3 minutes afterwards), and by avoiding anti-bacterial gel. I know a lot of ladies over at the nail board swear by special cuticle treatments however! One of my favorites is Burt’s Bees Lemon Butter Cuticle Cream, which is very heavy duty and comes in a small, easy to carry tin! I also really like Orly’s Cuticle Cream, this jar is so large that despite using it every night I have had the same 2 ounce jar for about 4 years! Cuticle oil is also very popular, whether you prefer a pen, classic Solar Oil or Mango scented (this one smells amazing!), there is an option for you.
I hope that these tips help you keep your manicure looking fresh for longer periods of time!