1. YOU SKIP THE BASE COAT
Base coat is to a manicure; what primer is to foundation. It prepares the nail surface to receive a smooth first layer of polish, while preventing staining. Your natural nail contains oils that prevent nail polish from adhering well. So, you should always seal the oils with a base coat. And as a bonus your favourite polish will last a lot longer.
2. YOU FILE BACK AND FORTH
Since the tip of your nail is the oldest, most brittle part, filing back and forth can create splitting, peeling, or even breakage. Try doing it this way: file one outside corner of the nail and sweep the file across the tip in one direction, stopping at the middle. Repeat in that direction until desired shape is achieved, then switch sides.
3. YOU CUT YOUR CUTICLES
Cleaning up small pieces of skin around your nail is one thing. But if there’s one thing that you should never cut off, it’s your cuticles (the thin, delicate skin that sits at the base of your nail bed). Cuticles are protective barriers that keep bacteria out, so pushing them back is really as far as you should go.
To keep your cuticles healthy you can also apply a nourishing cuticle cream. When cuticles get dry they can crack and tear, which can be extremely painful. Keep a jar of cuticle cream at your desk or on your bedside table, and moisturise whenever they feel dry.
4. YOU APPLY TOO MANY COATS
Thin coats of polish are the key to a lasting manicure. If you make them too thick, they’ll peel off, smudge, dent or chip much easier. Two coats of polish is generally the best!
5. YOU DON’T SEAL THE TIP
Do your manicures have a tendency to chip at the tip of your nails? You’re not alone! Simply wearing a top coat won’t help if you haven’t made sure to seal the tip for extra protection. So, do this: after you apply your first coat of polish, take the tip of your brush and swipe it back and forth against the free edge of your nail. Do the same with the second and top coat. Circle back with that top coat two or three days later for extra insurance. Fool proof!