How to Keep Nail Polish from Chipping (16 Simple Tips)

Have you ever been in a situation whereby you spent your precious time making your manicure flawless, only for it to start coming off within minutes? I know some people blame the ineffectiveness of nail polish, but it might be the way you are applying the polish.

Nail polish is used to beautify nails and most people detest the probability of it chipping off after spending long hours on them. But how do you keep nail polish from chipping?

This post will talk about how to prevent nail polish from chipping. It consists of some things you should do better the next time you are doing your manicure.

how to prevent nail polish from chipping
Woman applying nail polish to her nail to prevent chipping


16 Tips on How to Keep Nail Polish from Chipping

1. Wash your hands well before applying the polish

If you pay attention to the little details when you visit a nail studio, you would have noticed how manicurists put polish remover on your nails before painting them. It is because your nails tend to be wet with natural oil usually from the fingers which makes it difficult for the polish to stay there correctly.

When next you want to apply nail polish, swipe your nails with a nail polish remover before breaking out your base coat. Wash your hands with soap and water to remove any dirt or oil. It will make it difficult for your nails to chip off without lasting long.

2. Don’t file your nails shabbily in different ways

It is not good not to take care of your nails as a new baby. If you are not taking care of your nails in the right way, it will damage them and lead to breakage. Instead, you should file your nail gently in one direction, starting from the tip to the edge and ending at the center.

However, if your nails are on the thinner side, it is advised that you start the filing from underneath the nail to have a good result. It enables you to know exactly what you are doing it helps prevent filing the nails too much.

3. Don’t forget to Buff Your Nails

This is simple. Because if you don’t buff your nails, the natural oil in your nails accumulates and builds residue that can affect your nail polish application.

When you buff your nails, it makes them shinier and prevents them from chipping in no time.

4. Try to Exfoliate Your Cuticles

Most people believe that cuticle oils and cuticle removers are the same, but this is false. You can’t also use them in place of each other.

The cuticle oils help to moisturize, while the cuticle removers serve as an exfoliating treatment for nail beds. You can start by applying a cuticle treatment on your nails and pushing them back with an orange-wood stick. This will not only remove dead skin cells, but it will also help prevent nail chipping over time.

5. Never Skip a Base Coat

Most people are guilty of this and it is one of the gravest mistakes you can make in your manicure activities. If you want your nails to be shiny, healthy, and last longer, it is essential to start all your manicure activities with an effective nourishing base coat. It will help prevent your nail polish from chipping.

6. Don’t Shake Your Bottle

Resist the temptation of shaking your nail polish bottle as it tends to mesh things together. To make it work effectively, just roll your nail polish bottle between your hands but never shake it! If you shake the bottle too much, it will most likely bring out air bubbles when you are applying it and this part might chip off when it is dry.

7. Cover the Tip of Your Nail

Most people don’t cover the bottle of their polish while applying it and it dries off faster. Also, when you have finished applying the nail polish on your finger, slide some polish across the edge of your nail. This will cover the polish and stop nail chipping when it is dry.

8. Don’t Rush to Take a Shower Immediately After Painting Your Nail

When it is inside water, the nail bed increases and expands, especially in hot water. This also leads to damage and makes the nails chip off when the water dries off. Also, don’t paint your nails immediately after a shower.

9. Apply Your Nail Polish in Thin Layers

If you want to prevent nail chipping, you need to apply the paint in thin layers. The reason for this is that thick layers don’t dry easily. However, if the first layer is sticky, you can correct it by applying more layers.

10. Apply Your Nail Polish in a Four-Step Process and Let Each Part Dry Very Well

Start with a base coat, then follow it with a layer of nail polish, another layer of polish, and ultimately a topcoat. Make sure that you allow each layer to dry well before you apply the next so that the polish sticks well to the nail.

If you are not sure whether the polish has dried off, you can check if the appearance has changed from a wet look to a glossy one. It means all the liquid has dissolved totally and nail chip-off can then be prevented.

11. Try to Use Excellent Nail Polish

Most expensive nail polishes normally have more paint and less toxic chemicals with good brushes. However, You don’t have to break the bank to get good nail polish. There are some nail polishes that cost less than $10 and work fantastically well to prevent nail chipping.

Also, stay away from a polish that dries off easily if you don’t want to have anything to do with nail chipping.

12. Keep Short Nails

When you keep short nails, the chances of your nails chipping off are extremely low because they don’t get to contact with dirt or substances arising from too many activities a day.

13. Stay Away From Activities That Can Destroy Your Nail

If you can’t stop an activity that can destroy your nails, then you should find a way to protect them. For instance, if you must wash the plates, ensure you use dishwashing hand gloves while at it to save your nails.

14. Apply Touch-ups to Any Small Chips that Occur

It is normal to have some chips sometimes. When this happens, apply some touch of polish to the affected spots even though it will be slightly different from the rest of the nails but it will stop it from affecting the rest of your nails.

Normally, this falls into the last measure to salvage your manicure. If you notice that a coat of polish is chipping off, remove it immediately and start all over again.

15. Deal With Small Chips to the Tips of Your Nails Creatively

You can also prevent total chip off of your nail by just filing the nail down and applying a new coat, but this time focusing on the top of your nail.

Alternatively, you can print a layer of a different color of nail polish on the edge of your nail, such as a thin French manicure. Your hand has to be strong to do this but the results will be beautiful and exceptional.

16. Allow the Polish to Dry Well

Normally, metallic polishes dry faster than creamy ones. Metallic polishes don’t also chip easily compared to creamy ones. And the darker the color, the more time it uses to dry up. Ensure your nails are dry well before you use them for anything particularly coming in contact with warm water. It is advisable not to take a shower before the nails dry well.

If the top layer is dry but not hard, you can leave a dent in the polish by making your nail come in contact with something or a surface.

Having discussed different ways how to keep nail polish from chipping or let’s say how to prevent nail polish from chipping or peeling off.

Why Does My Nail Polish Keep Chipping?

Most people do ask why their nail polish keeps chipping off, especially after two days. It might be because of a reason or a combination of reasons as explained below:

1. You are exposing the nail to water

Water is good for the body but a great setback for nail polish on nails. Ensure your nails are dry completely before applying a base coat.

2. Your nails are exposed to oils

When your nails are exposed to things like lotions and oils, it will exposé your nails to chip and fall off. It is advisable to use cuticle creams instead or other moisturizing soaps before going for a manicure.

3. You shake the bottle too much

It is not advisable to shake the bottle of nail polish because it brings about air bubbles which don’t allow for equal application of the polish on the nails. This is one of the things that leads to chipping almost immediately after you apply the polish.

4. Don’t paint the nail in a thick way

Make thin layers, not a thick one. A thick layer doesn’t give equal application and can lead to chipping off the nail polish in no time.

5. You’re not using your top coat the right way

Topcoat probably brings the best result when it is applied to the wet polish. When you do this, it enables the polish to enter the nail well and make it stick together to the nail bed.

6. You are not allowing it to dry well

If you want to preserve your nail beauty for a long and avoid chipping, then you need to allow your nail polish to always dry completely because if you don’t do this, it will hasten the chip off. Normally, polish takes half a day to dry well. So it is advisable to keep off water for this time period to save your nails.

How Do You Stop Your Acrylic Nails From Breaking?

Everyone loves acrylic nails because it brings out the beauty in one’s nails and dresses sense. However, it is not a good thing for the acrylic nails to be breaking or chipping off. If you want to prevent this, here is what you should do:

1. Choose the acrylic nails that are your size

Long acrylics chips faster than short ones especially if you engage in several activities with your hands. To prevent this, always choose acrylic sizes that will cover your nails well and go along with your lifestyle.

2. Put on gloves that will help dry your nails while you work

Water is one of the main things that damage your acrylic nails and leads to breakage or chip-off. To ensure this doesn’t happen, put on water-resistant gloves before doing any house chores.

Ensure you take care of your nails well and stay away from activities that can weaken your nail. If you can’t, always try to protect your nails when doing these activities. They are the difference in whether your nail polish will chip off now or in the next two weeks.

How do I stop my nail from chipping?

If you want to stop your nail from chipping, then you need to apply the nail polish in the right way. Also, try to avoid it from coming in contact with water, oil, or lotions. It is advisable to also file the nails the right way, not in different directions.

How long does nail polish last before chipping?

Nail polish makes your nails stand out anywhere. However, it is heartbreaking to see it coming off minutes after fixing it. Ordinarily, nail polish should stay on your nails for a minimum of 48 hours. However, if you apply it the right way, it can extend for as many as two weeks without spoiling, chipping off, or breaking. It depends on how good the nail polish ingredients are as well as the kind of activities you engage in with your hands all day.

How long does gel nail polish take before chipping off?

Gel nail polish can start chipping off the next moments after it was fixed. Ideally, gel nail polish should stay on the nail for at least 1 week before chipping off but there are some that stay as long as two weeks or more if it is fixed well and kept away from water.

Does old nail polish chip faster?

Yes, old nails chip faster because it would have been opened to a lot of activities that can make the nail fall off or break easily. For instance, a nail that has been through a lot of washing, punching of keyboards, or assembling things will be hard for the nail polish to stay perfectly on it. And it is why you need to wash your nails well with cuticle oil and remove residue, allow it to dry well before applying nail polish on it.


Nail polish can only be kept away from chipping if it is applied correctly and in the right way. When this is done, the chances of it chipping off easily will be down.

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