7 Easy Steps To A Better Manicure That Will Keep Your Nail Polish From Chipping

By |2019-06-22T19:22:04+00:00April 22nd|

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Salons don’t want you to know their tricks and hacks for long lasting manicures. I’m a nail tech who is excited to share one of my best beauty hacks with you…how to keep your nail polish from chipping! If you apply these simple tips you’ll learn how fun and easy it is to diy your nails at home and get longer lasting polish. I promise it works (for toes too)! This is one of those awesome tutorials that every girl needs in her life.
freshly polished nails with a French manicure

freshly polished nails with a French manicure
freshly polished nails with a French manicure

Something you may not know about me is that I’m a licensed nail technician. (Yes, I still keep my license renewed.) Years ago when I worked at a salon, I learned the tips and tricks that I’m going to share with you today. Clients always raved at how long their polish lasted just by using these simple techniques.

nail polish, quick dry and buffer block

Here are the products I’ll be talking about and sharing in today’s post:


hand holding a buffer block

Once you’ve shaped your nails and pushed back your cuticles, you’re ready to begin.

Step #1: Buff your nails using a Block Buffer

Nails are naturally porous and the goal of buffing your nails with a Block Buffer is to remove as much moisture from the nail as possible.


  • Do not use a nail file in place of a Block Buffer. Nail files will remove too much from the surface of your nail and weaken it.
  • The above picture is how I hold the Block Buffer when I’m using it.
  • Before using your Block Buffer for the first time, run your nail file over the four pointy edges. This will dull the edges and prevent your cuticles from getting cut and scratched up.

buffed finger nails

This is how my nails looked after I buffed them with the Block Buffer.
Step #2 – Spray your nails with rubbing alcohol.

This not only cleans the dust off of your nails, but it also an additional step to help dry out your nail bed.


  • If you don’t have a small spray bottle, you can also pour rubbing alcohol into the bottle’s lid and dip your nail in it.

buffed finger nails in front of opi bondaid

Step #3 – Apply OPI Bond Aid

This is the most important step, and definitely NOT one that should be skipped.

This is the third and final step in drying out your nail bed. When the rubbing alcohol has dried, apply a coat of OPI Bond Aid just as you would regular nail polish. As you can see, your nails will still look extremely dry. This is exactly what you want!
finger nails with top coat applied and beside a bottle of nail tek foundation III

Step #4 – Apply a base coat.

You can use any base coat, but I recommend Nail Tek Foundation. It not only works as a base coat, but the Nail Tek products strengthen your nails. As you can see, Nail Tek Foundation gives your nails a nice matte finish.


  • For each coat of polish you add to your nail, you’ll want to seal it by running the polish brush over the edge (tip) of your nail.
  • As you’re polishing your nails, be very careful not to get any polish on your cuticles or the skin around your nails. That being said, if you do get some on your skin (it’s kind of inevitable) you can either let it dry and remove it later, or use an Orange Wood Stick (which is also what I use to push back my cuticles) dipped in nail polish remover to get it off.

finger nails with freshly polished French manicure

Step #5 – Apply polish.

There are tons of different brands of nail polish. Choose your favorite color and apply two coats. If you do a French Manicure like I did today, you only need one coat of white on the tips.


  • OPI Alpine Snow is the bright white to use for your French Manicure.
  • If you don’t like the bright white of a French Manicure, you can always apply one coat of OPI Tutti Frutti Tonga (pink with a shimmer) Be There In A Prosecco (creamy), or Sweet Heart (pink without shimmer) (or any other very light colored polish) on top of your white tips. You’ll definitely want to test it on one nail before you begin to see if you like it.

finger nails with freshly polished French manicure

Step #6 – Apply a top coat.

While you can use any top coat, I recommend Nail Tek II. As I said before, the Nail Tek products strengthen the nails.


  • Let your nails dry for a few minutes before applying your top coat. If they’re still wet when you apply the top coat, you could get white (or whatever color you’re using) on your brush. Red could give your entire bottle of top coat a pink tinge and white could add a streak of white to the rest of your nails. (Definitely not fun after all the work you’ve already done.)

finger nails with freshly polished French manicure

Step #7 – Apply Nail Tek 10-Speed.

There are many drying products, but Nail Tek 10-Speed is the one that I’ve used for years and recommend. The Nail Tek 10-Speed speeds up the drying process, but I always recommend that you let your nails dry for 30-60 minutes.

And there you have it, my salon secrets to prevent your nail polish from chipping. Keep in mind that if your hands are in a lot of water, your polish just isn’t going to last as long. (You might consider wearing gloves to wash dishes, garden, etc.)

Maintenance Tip: I recommend sealing the edges every few days by running the top coat brush over the edge of your nail. I’ve also had clients that would apply a coat of Nail Tek II to their nails every day to not only strengthen their nails but also to prevent their polish from chipping.

What are your tips and tricks to keep your nail polish from chipping?

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Comments (40)

  1. Sarah December 9 at 9:10 am - Reply

    Thank you for sharing this post! I just recently started doing my nails and my polish was chipping within a few days, so this was very helpful! I’m pinning it for future reference. :)

    • Tshanina Peterson December 9 at 6:41 pm - Reply

      You’re more than welcome Sarah! I’m so glad you found these tips helpful!

      Thanks for stopping by!

      • k.peterson2 April 4 at 1:45 am - Reply

        mine peels off no matter what and im discouraged. Frustrated thatni try so hard and study the directions.i started bas8c cosmetology so i was searching my textbooks and did it exact and then pinterest and YouTube. Whatnis wrong with them lol my nails?i followed pinterest and YouTube of these steps

        • Tshanina Peterson April 7 at 3:19 pm - Reply

          I’m sorry to hear that you’re discouraged! You might just have super oily nails which makes your polish chip very easily.

        • witchyone October 3 at 1:27 am - Reply

          I would use gel polish then, I have oily nails too and it never stayed on longer than a day whatever i did gel polish has been a god send and no waiting for it to dry!

  2. Caitlin December 13 at 4:42 pm - Reply

    I also like to use a top coat called gelous. It is a gel top coat that does not need to be used with a light. I got mine at sallys. I put a regular top coat over it and my nails last atleast a week instead of chipping the next day.

    • Tshanina Peterson December 14 at 9:41 am - Reply

      This is the first I’ve heard of Gelous. Thanks for sharing, Caitlin!

  3. Lisa December 19 at 6:08 am - Reply

    I also like the Gelous top coat but I am excited to try the OPI bond aid and the Nail Tek products! thanks for sharing!

  4. Tshanina December 19 at 10:32 am - Reply

    You’re welcome Lisa!

  5. […] #1 – Salon Secrets to Prevent Your Nail Polish from Chipping […]

  6. Rebecca January 4 at 10:41 pm - Reply

    Great pointers!! I normally tend to stick with certain polishes too… NYC Color and shenailpolish are 2 of my favorites! Thank you!

    • Tshanina January 5 at 5:57 pm - Reply

      I’m glad you found them helpful Rebecca! I’m with you and normally stick with certain brands too!

      Thanks for stopping by!

  7. Akaleistar January 5 at 2:50 pm - Reply

    Great tips!

    • Tshanina January 5 at 5:57 pm - Reply

      Thanks Akaleistar! I’m glad you found them helpful!

  8. Donica Fletcher. February 25 at 9:20 pm - Reply

    As an instructor / operator I think it is not good advice to use bond aid with nail polish application. Bond aid is made to use with acrylic products only. Bond aid works by opening the layers of the nail plate to grasp the acrylic it is a chemical reaction which then closes the plates and holdes the product on. It does not work properly with polish application as the plates stay open and therefor weaken the nails. Base coat is made to make the polish adhere, it is like a double sided tape, sticks to the nail and to the polish drying to form a strong bond. Other than that your information is great !

    • Tshanina Peterson February 26 at 8:12 am - Reply

      I’ve used Bond-Aid on myself and my clients for years and have never had any complaints about it weakening their nails.

      Thanks for sharing Donica!

  9. Jill May 26 at 9:36 am - Reply

    Thanks for the tips! I *just* started doing my own nails after going to a salon for years and found that when I went outside and it was humid (or I played tennis–which I like to do), the polish would look whiter (I’ve been using Essie Mademoiselle which is pretty sheer light pink) and then peel off.

    I just took off my polish, tried buffing and put some rubbing alcohol (I always wondered why they sprayed it on your nails in a salon; now I know!! thanks!!) and have been layering the coats. Am planning on getting Nail Tek II.

    I hope this works!

    Thanks again.

    • Tshanina Peterson May 27 at 12:55 pm - Reply

      You’re more than welcome Jill!

      Polish peeling from your nails is very unhealthy for your nails because, along with the polish, it removes the top layer of your nail. I hope these tips work for you too!

      Thanks for stopping by!

  10. Jill May 27 at 1:05 pm - Reply

    Thanks Tshanina! Actually, tried it yesterday and so far, works like a charm! I actually bought a small sprayer for the alcohol and haven’t yet tried the Opi Bond Aid or Nail Tek (I’m working my way through a nail-hardening base by Essie and Quik Dry top coat by Seche Vite, but once I’m out of those will switch to Nail Tek.

    Thanks again. My nails look and feel terrific!

    • Tshanina Peterson May 28 at 3:47 pm - Reply

      I’m so glad to hear that Jill! (I’d be the same way and finish the bottles I already have too.)

      Take care!

  11. Phyllis Merricks July 9 at 7:00 am - Reply

    Hi Thrifty T,
    I love your nail tips. Do you ever use gel polish? I started doing my own nails a few years ago & use Gelish products.
    I was wondering if the NailTec products last as long & can they be removed with regular nail polish remover? Gelish is hard to get off unless you soak in pure acetone & makes them brittle. Your thoughts please:) thanks so much!

    • Tshanina Peterson July 10 at 8:51 am - Reply

      Phyllis, I know a lot of people that have great success with the gel polishes. I haven’t used them myself because they are a bit harder on your nails than normal polish (but definitely not as hard as acrylics and such)!

      Yes, the NailTek products can be removed with regular nail polish remover. As to how long they will last, it’ll definitely depend on how hard you are on your nails. When I was doing nails I had a client that would put a top coat of the NailTek on every other day to help her manicure last a bit longer. When she came in after 2 weeks her nails still looked pretty good!

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  13. […] Salon Secrets To Prevent Your Nail Polish From Chipping […]

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  15. Renee July 2 at 9:44 pm - Reply

    I have a question: Can I run a fan to keep from being overheated in my workspace or will it dry out the gel and gel brush as the product is being applied?

    • Tshanina Peterson July 8 at 10:15 am - Reply

      Renee, I’ve never worked with gel nails so I’d hate to steer you in the wrong direction. You might check with someone who does!

  16. Kim September 7 at 11:02 am - Reply

    Thank you x 1,000,000…I’m going to go order all those products right now…I hate when my nails chip the next day…this sounds great!!!

    • Tshanina Peterson September 7 at 12:36 pm - Reply

      There’s nothing worse than chipped nails! I’m glad you found these tips helpful.

      Thanks for stopping by, Kim!

  17. Mimi September 9 at 6:31 pm - Reply

    Hi Tshanina, it’s my first visit here and I love these hints! Manicures done well are a special passion of mine (I cannot abide chipped nail polish!), and I can really see this working! I’d love if you’d come and share at my Five Star Frugal at A Tray of Bliss linkup tomorrow, Friday. I’d love to host you there! Love, Mimi xxx

    • Tshanina Peterson September 15 at 11:12 am - Reply

      There’s nothing better than beautiful manicure is there? Thanks for stopping by, Mimi!

  18. Michele September 9 at 9:12 pm - Reply

    Hey! Thanks! Just had my nails done in a French Manicure for my daughter’s wedding and was always wondering what the things were called and WHY she was using them. Now I know. One of these days I will go to the beauty supply place and get it all myself and give it a whirl. You have been very helpful, and I appreciate it.

    Found you from over at Common Ground “Share Your Style” linky party.

    • Tshanina Peterson September 15 at 11:12 am - Reply

      I’m glad you found these tips helpful, Michele!

      Thanks for stopping by!

  19. Jennifer October 16 at 5:42 pm - Reply

    Hi,I wanted to thank you for sharing this. I do my own nails mostly because I have asthma and the smells in the salon bother me. My nails always chip, sometimes the same day. I used a different base coat because the one mentioned has an ingredient I’m allergic to and hoof hardener for the top. I am on my fourth day and recovered the edges on the second day with no chipping. It’s amazing! I do have one question, for some reason my nail polish always cracks in the shape of a V up my nail in little cracks. Do you know why that is? Thank you again! Amazing tips!


    • Tshanina Peterson October 19 at 12:28 pm - Reply

      Yay, Jennifer! I’m so glad these tips worked for you.

  20. […] Directions via thriftyts treasures. […]

  21. Amy Kelly March 19 at 9:09 pm - Reply

    Wondering about oils, lotions, and conditioners. Do you recommend putting anything on the cuticles or nails after. My nails always seem to peel from the center near my cuticles.

    • Tshanina Peterson March 27 at 3:46 pm - Reply

      If your cuticles are dry then, yes, I recommend putting a drop of oil or lotion on them.

      Is it your nails or polish that is peeling from the center? If it’s your polish, it sounds like you’re getting polish on your cuticle when you’re applying the polish to your nails. I know it can be difficult but try to avoid getting polish on your cuticles/skin around your nails and your polish might last longer!

  22. Oliver Ray September 11 at 7:44 am - Reply

    It is good to know that using a block buffer is better than using a nail file. Using a buffer won’t weaken the nail while drying it out. I’ll have to pass this along to my sister who wants to be a nail tech in the future.

    • Tshanina Peterson September 11 at 12:53 pm - Reply

      So glad you found that helpful. Please do share!

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