Let’s face it, as much as well-preened nails are pretty much a must in life – whether they’re polished or just faintly manicured – keeping them looking tip top can be a bore.
So, we’ve spoken to the nail elite, manicurist to the stars Michelle Class and WAH Nails founder Sharmadean Reid, to find out what we’re doing wrong and how to keep our nail polish from chipping, cracking and generally wearing and tearing for as long as possible.
1) Michelle's #1 tip? 'Making your mani last is all in the prep before'. For starters, NEVER peel off your nail varnish. Though it’s pretty satisfying at the time, it’s terrible for your nail beds. Opt for an acetone-based remover. Michelle says: 'This will remove any oils and moisture on the nail plate by momentarily dehydrating the nail.' If your nails are cracking or peeling, make sure you’re getting everything you need from your diet and skip varnish for a few weeks, applying oil daily. Michelle says it helps with 'flaking, brittleness, and flexibility by hydrating them. This in turn will help your mani last much longer'.
InStyle recommends: Dadi' Oil (£9.95, available in salons nationwide) isn't only organic with 21 essential oils, it's handbag-sized making that every day application faintly plausible.
2) Not only do shorter nails make for a chicer look but they’re less likely to break. This season’s length is a couple of millimeters over the bed.
3) When shaping your nails (we’re liking a gentle round finish which follows the shape of your cuticle), ensure you only file them in one direction. Though moving the nail file back and forth is quicker, it’s likely to lead to cracking and layering which will in turn mean polish lasts for a shorter period.
4) Apply a layer of manicure prep which will look after your nails and help with the longevity of the polish.
InStyle recommends: Red Carpet Manicure Prep (£4, ASOS). Brush over your nails and though it looks like it's evaporated, that's ok.
5) Though you might think prepping the nails for polish is a time-waster, a buffer and base coat (one coat to your whole nails and two nearer the tip) will actually save you time in the long run as nail varnish will last longer.
(Optional: Wiping vinegar over your nails pre-base coat will remove any natural oils which may counteract the varnish.)
6) Apply the polish with quick brush strokes and ensure each layer dries properly. Michelle's tip is not to 'apply colour too thin or too thick. Applying polish too thickly means that it will chip much quicker. Always better to go too thin and apply a third coat if necessary'. For an elegant shape, leave a tiny gap at the edges and next to your cuticle.
7) Top coats may seem unnecessary but it’s well worth that extra minute. Paint it over your entire nail, even the edges, to seal the polish. As well as some multi-tasking top coats, which make for quick drying, they make your manicure last noticeably longer.
InStyle recommends: As well as winner of our Best Beauty Buys, Kate Middleton is a fan of Seche Vite top coats. We love the Dry Fast Coat (£11, ASOS). WAH London's Classy Glossy Topcoat (£9, Boots) gives a picture perfect finish with serious staying power and at a bargain price.
8) 'Avoid extreme heat and moisture on your nails for a good 6 hours!', Michelle says. 'Even though your nails may feel dry they take this long to really set. So no hot baths or saunas after you've had your nails done. This will help your nail polish set properly therefore making your manicure last as long as possible'.
Just remember Sharmadean's 'polish sandwich... base coat, two coats of polish and topcoat. Miss a step and it's just not going to last as long'. If it does chip, smooth the surface with a remover-soaked cotton bud, redo the area with polish and top coat.