The key to a great manicure isn’t solely in the color choice, but more importantly in how you treat the health of the nail beds and cuticles. Elise Wright, the Editorial Director of Pedicure.com—a site that immerses commerce and editorial (focusing specifically on nails)—gave us simple do’s and don’ts to live by for healthy, strong nails without the hassle of a salon trip.
DO: Apply a Top Coat Every Other Day
“Pop a top coat on at least every second day to keep your manicure looking fresh and glossy,” says Wright. Not only does polish chip on the tips, but it also loses its luster over time.” Topping off the top coat means you get “more value from your mani” and a longer lifespan.
DON’T: Pick or Chew on Your Cuticles
“That’s the quickest way to get an infection,” says Wright. “If bacteria gets into an open wound, it can lead to acute paronychia, which is a very painful infection that requires antibiotics.”
DO: Use Moisturizer and Cuticle Oil…A Lot
“Use moisturizer and cuticle oil as often as you can. Keeping skin hydrated and protected with a barrier cream will prevent dry, raw or cracking skin, particularly in winter.” She warns that cracked skin is more prone to infection.
DON’T: Skip the Base Coat
“No base coat means your nails will get stained from the polish, and your manicure won’t last as long because it doesn’t have a solid base to cling to.”
DO: Protect Nails With Rubber Gloves
When washing dishes, always reach for the rubber gloves. “Getting your nails wet and exposing them to washing up liquid and cleaning products is the quickest way for your lovely manicure to get damaged, and to dry out cuticles.”
DON’T: Overuse Nail Polish Remover
Nail polish removers also dry out cuticles. “After you finish taking your nail polish off, be sure to put back that lost moisture with a cuticle oil or heavy moisturizer.”