I’m a licensed nail tech who is excited to share how to keep your nail polish from chipping! Salons don’t want you to know their tips and tricks for long lasting manicures which is why I’m spilling the beans. If you apply these simple tips you’ll learn how fun and easy it is to do your nails at home and get longer lasting polish. I promise it works (for toes too)!

nails with 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 nail products I’ll be talking about and sharing:

hand holding a buffer block

File your nails, push back your cuticles, and 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.
  • As you can see above, this how you should hold your Block Buffer when I’m using it.
  • If it’s your first time using your Block Buffer, 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.

Along with cleaning the dust off of your nails, this step also helps 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

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. Your nails will still look extremely dry but that is exactly what you want!

finger nails with polish 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 Throw Me A Kiss (pink with a shimmer) Be There In A Prosecco (creamy), or OPI Bubble Bath (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 French manicure polish

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 French manicure polish

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 keep 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. Many of my clients apply a coat of Nail Tek II to their nails every day. Doing this not only strengthens their nails but also keeps their polish from chipping.

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

Supplies used in this article: