No beauty look is complete without a flawless manicure. It's the finishing touch everyone needs for a balanced look whether you favor bright polish and nail art or keep your nails entirely bare. And if you happen to treat yourself to a professional mani regularly, chances are you want to extend the life of it as long as possible.
Following simple rules for upkeeping your mani is key when a salon visit isn't in the cards. We all know the importance of the standard nail filing and using quality polishes to achieve a clean and neat look.
However, there are a few manicure mistakes many of us are guilty of, and the professionals are advising we stop at once. We asked everyone from the founder of Valley NYC to a celebrity manicurist for the lowdown on these typical manicure blunders and how to avoid them at all costs.
Read on to learn all about the common mistakes your manicurist wants you to stop doing.
1. Freaking out over a minor polish mishap
We regularly receive calls from clients who’ve received a gel mani from Valley furious that their manicure has "changed color," explains founder/owner of Valley, Nina Werman. "Don’t fret; just swab the nail with alcohol—99.9% of the time this is a result of a skin product like a lotion, self-tanner, or a skin serum that interacted with the gel’s top coat and caused a fixable yet unappealing discoloration to the manicure." Luckily Werman notes that the solution is incredibly simple and helps restore your mani's luster.
"One swipe of alcohol should not only instantly color correct, but also restores the manicure’s top coat to a freshly polished shine."
2. Over-trimming your cuticles
It's hard to achieve a gorgeous manicure without trimming cuticles. However, going overboard can happen quickly and lead to more harm than good. LVX's Education Manager and Licensed Nail Technician Karmen Salceda points out that over-cutting damages the skin around the nail bed. "Instead of cutting the cuticles, gently push them back with an orange stick. The best solution is to get a bi-weekly manicure," she advises.
3. Letting your nail polish chip
We can't begin to count how many times we've let this happen. Celebrity Manicurist Gina Edwards says that "Keeping chipped nail polish on as if it were a trend," is a no-no. If you can't keep your polish looking fresh, then Edwards advises just removing it. "Deborah Lippmann has on-the-go individual nail remover pads. It's the perfect remedy for a quick removal when in transit or on a break from work."
4. Not clipping your nails regularly
We've all been guilty of this one when we're trying to let our nails grow out, but Werman says a nail trim is crucial. "Let your technician trim your nails. Whether you polish them, get regular gel manicures, or go natural, you need to trim your nails," she stresses. "Fingernails and toenails are made of keratin—a protein made of dead cells, which is also the main protein found in hair. Hair and nail ends get brittle. Do yourself a favor and allow us to trim the dead, brittle ends off of your nails." Not only will your nails look 100 times better, but Werman adds that "You’ll maximize the lifespan of your manicure."
5. Biting your nails
"Biting your nails is a hard habit to break and can cause damage to the nails," says Catherine Baek Dambrosia, ORLY global education director. "It can damage the skin around the nail increasing the risk of skin infection, colds due to germs, and can even harm your teeth. Also, when you bite off the nail, it peels unevenly, causing weakness." Another tip she has is to keep nails short, manicured and clean. "Having beautifully manicured nails can help motivate you to prevent from biting," she adds.
6. Waiting too long in between appointments
We're all busy and sometimes a manicure has to wait longer than expected. When time is of the essence, Edwards recommends using a couple of affordable drugstore finds."A great substitute if you can't get to the nail salon is a KISS imPRESS Manicure ($7 each). It will give you an impeccable instant manicure that will hold up until your next nail appointment," she says. Her second fix is using KISS Waterless Nail Tattoos ($2) for grown-out gel polish that you're waiting to remove at your next appointment.
"Apply at your cuticles where your gel manicure is growing out to hide the growth until your next appointment," says Edwards.
7. Totally neglecting your cuticles
"A gel manicure from Valley lasts, but that doesn’t guarantee our clients won’t pick at or bite their cuticles, or be rough on their hands," says Werman. "To extend the life of your manicure, use a good cuticle oil, like Londontown Kur Nourishing Cuticle Oil ($18)." She stresses the importance of taking care of your cuticles like you do the rest of your skin. "Keep it in the bathroom with your body lotions, and make it part of your morning and nighttime regimen. You’ll see a noticeable difference in the look and feel of your cuticles, and you’ll get more life out of your manicure," she says.
Baek Dambrosia adds, "Often, dry cuticles and skin can trigger you to start picking at it. To avoid picking, moisturize your cuticles and surrounding area of the skin well. Keep a moisturizer or cuticle cream in your purse, at the office, and by the bedside table."
8. Peeling your nail polish off
"Peeling nail polish off removes layers from your nails and it leads to thinning," says Salceda. "I recommend using a remover [like] LVX's soy-based pads because it's moisturizing and a single pad removes polish from all fingers and toes."
Which manicure mistake have you made in the past? Tell us in the comments.
This post was originally published at an earlier date and has since been updated.