Gel nail polish is popular for its durability, lasting an average of two to three weeks. However, it can still chip if you aren’t careful, and chipping undermines the stability of your manicure. The good news is that there are ways to extend the life of your mani. To keep your nails looking fine, keep these six tips in mind.

1. Wear Rubber Gloves While Cleaning

Water is the natural enemy of any manicure. It dries out skin and interferes with nail polish’s chemical bonds. Even showering can weaken the adhesion between the polish and the nail bed.

Thick rubber gloves protect your nails from water and even insulate them from the temperature changes water can cause. Warm nails expand while cold nails constrict; the change in size can dislodge nail polish, causing it to crack or chip.

2. Keep Your Nails Moisturized

Nails need moisturizing, just like your hair. Hand lotion is a great place to start, but you should also oil your cuticles and bare nail beds for maximum hydration.

One of the best oils for nails is jojoba oil, which is chemically similar to the sebum naturally produced in the body. As a result, your nails can easily absorb it.

You should oil your nails twice daily and after using harsh chemicals such as nail polish remover. You can even oil your nails while wearing polish! To do so, apply the oil to your cuticles and the (unpainted) underside of the nail.

3. Don’t Use Your Nails To Open Cans

Don’t use your nails to pop can tabs. Using your nails will put pressure on them, which can result in the following:

  • Chipping and cracking polish
  • Extensions pulling away from the nail bed
  • Breakage

Instead, use the handle of a spoon or another flat metal tool to pull the tab back.

4. Avoid Picking

Acrylic nail powder, dip nails and gel nail polish adhere firmly to the nail bed, making it difficult to lift them. However, this occasionally happens, especially if you pick at them.

If you notice a lift, leave it alone. Fiddling with polish can cause it to separate more quickly and even take the top layer of your nail with it.

5. Tend Your Cuticles

The state of your cuticles can impact how long your polish lasts. If they’re long and ragged, the polish may accidentally adhere to them, leading to lifting. Nail polish doesn’t bond well with skin, so avoid this situation by using cuticle remover.

Cuticle remover gently dissolves dead skin, leaving your nail bed clean. For best results, massage the cuticle remover onto your cuticles, then wipe away with a clean cloth. You can then oil your nail and gently push the remaining cuticle back with an orange stick.

6. Dehydrate the Nail Bed

Your nail’s natural oils can interfere with a strong bond. To give your polish the best chance to adhere, dehydrate your nails beforehand with nail polish remover or acetone. A simple swipe with a saturated cotton swab is all you need. If you wear nail extensions, the quality of the protein bond also plays a big role in the longevity of your manicure. Look for a high-quality, non-acidic product with good reviews.