21 MUST KNOW TIPS: To Making GEL POLISH Manicures LAST [2023]

how to make a gel manicure last longer

You are here because you want to know how to make a gel polish manicure last longer. These tips will help your gel polish last on natural nails and also nail tips.

A gel manicure can last anywhere from two to four weeks, and there are a few things you can do to make it last for the whole duration before going in for a fill or new set of nails.

In this blog post, we'll share our tips for making a gel manicure last longer.

Whether you're looking to make your manicure last an extra week or two, or you just want to make sure it doesn't chip right away, these tips will help.

So, keep reading for our best tips on how to make a gel manicure last as long as possible.

how to make gel polish last longer

Gel manicures are popular because a gel polish will last longer than regular nail polish as it cures, not dries. There are endless techniques to try which makes it one of the must haves for many nail artists.

Let's go through this together to help your manicure last for weeks!


1. Start with a clean & dry slate

Be sure to wash your hands and nails thoroughly before starting your gel manicure. This will help remove any dirt or oil that could prevent the gel polish from adhering properly.

Hands must be completely dry and free any moisture before going ahead with a gel manicure. It is very important not to have any moisture on your nails or cuticles.

how to make a gel polish manicure last

2. Remove all prior product from your nails

An often neglected step of manicures is the removal of existing polish. When using gel manicure products, this step is even more important.

Removing any prior manicure residue increases the adhesion of the new polishes and decreases the likelihood that they will chip or become damaged.

Doing this yourself makes the process that much easier, but you must make sure to properly remove all traces of old product in order for your DIY nails to result in a flawless finish.

If you are experienced, you can do that with a nail drill or efile. Or book an appointment with your nail tech to get your nails back to the natural state.

how to make a manicure last

3. Prep your nails properly

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The cuticle area should be gently pushed back and any dead skin removed from the nail plate. Lifting is often caused by not prepping the natural nail.

Gently buff off any shine from the nail, paying attention to where the nails meet the cuticles and surrounding skin. The sides and cuticle area is where the lifting will start to occur.

When using a nail file on the natural nail to remove the shine, use a buffer that is between 60-100 grit.

prepping nails for gel polish

4. Remove any dust from the filing process

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This is one of the main reasons why there is lifting. The nail plate must be completely free of dust. That means making sure there is none on the nail and also trapped under the cuticle. 

The best way to remove dust is with a dust brush or wiping with alcohol and a lint free wipe for nails.

5. Apply a quality dehydrator 

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A dehydrator followed by a primer will help the gel manicure last longer. Using a nail dehydrator and primer will help with keeping your nail plate free of moisture.

Some people have naturally moist nail plates and might never be able to make their gel manicures last longer than a week no matter how the nail is prepped.

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6. Don't accidentally touch the nail after prepping

If you touch the nail plate you are going to transfer your natural oils resulting in a poor bond.

7. Choose a quality gel polish or builder gel

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Not all gel polishes and builder gels are created equal. Many professional gel polish kits can only be purchased with a license.

Thankfully there are many budget friendly and good quality gel kits available for those who like to do their own manicures at home.

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You can also use something called builder gel to make your nail stronger which is great for thin nails.

Having thin nails can definitely cause lifting. Builder gel has a different formula that is thick and it gives a manicure that lasts up to 4 weeks. We have a ton of builder gel resources up on this blog.

8. Always apply a base coat

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Applying a base coat before the gel polish color coat is applied is a must. The base coat will help it adhere better and last longer.

When you apply a base coat, only apply a thin layer so that the color coat will  adhere. Too much base coat will result in lifting. And also keep with the same brand of base coat and gel polish. They are formulated to work together.

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9. Be careful with the application process

When applying gel polish, be sure to avoid getting any onto or underneath the cuticle or skin around the nails. Also, check the free edge to make sure there is no pooling of the polish underneath.

If you do not wipe it off before curing, it will be more difficult to remove later and will cause lifting.

Also make sure that the polish is applied thin and evenly. Applying too much gel polish can cause an uneven curing.

If you notice that the gel polish starts to wrinkle or pull away from the sides of the nail while curing, you know that you have applied way too much.

how to make a gel manicure last longer

10. Cure gel nails for the correct amount of time

After applying gel polish, cure your nails under a UV or LED light according to the instructions on your gel polish.

Using a quality lamp will help with the curing time and process. Here's a helpful article about the best cure lamps for gel polish.

Curing the gel polish for the perfect amount of time helps set the polish and will make it last longer. Lifting can occur if the gel polish has not been cured for the proper amount of time.

best lamps for gel polish

11. It may be time to change your lamp lights

If you are having problems with the gel polish not curing, it could be that your lamp light might need changing. Or your gel polish could be expired.

It is crucial to change the lamp on a UV light used for gel nails to ensure the effectiveness of the nail curing process. Over time, the UV bulbs in these lamps tend to degrade, resulting in reduced output of the necessary UV light required for proper gel curing.

make gel polish manicure last longer

This can lead to longer curing times, uneven curing, or even incomplete curing of the gel, resulting in a weaker and less durable manicure.

Regularly replacing the lamp ensures that the UV light emitted remains at its optimal intensity, ensuring consistent and efficient curing of the gel nails. 

12. Apply a no wipe top coat

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Just like with regular nail polish, a top coat will help extend the life of your gel manicure. Be sure to apply it after curing your gel polish.

Applying a no-wipe top coat to nails is essential for achieving a long-lasting manicure. Unlike traditional top coats that require wiping with alcohol or cleanser to remove the tacky layer after curing, a no-wipe top coat eliminates this extra step.

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This not only saves time but also ensures that the nail surface remains completely smooth and free from any residue. The no-wipe formula creates a durable and protective seal over the nail polish or gel, preventing chipping, peeling, and color fading.

Additionally, the high-gloss finish provided by a no-wipe top coat enhances the overall appearance of the manicure, giving it a salon-quality look that lasts for an extended period.

13. Wear gloves while cleaning

Water and chemicals can break down gel polish, so it's important to avoid them as much as possible when you have a gel manicure. This means use gloves while washing up dishes or cleaning.

how to make a gel manicure last longer

14. Be gentle with your nails

Typing on a keyboard or opening cans can really damage the gel on the nails, especially long manicures. This can cause gel polish to chip or peel off.

15. Don't pick at your gel polish

It can be tempting to pick at gel polish when it starts to chip or peel, but this will only make the problem worse.

Once gel polish starts to come off, it's best to remove it completely and start over from scratch.

how to make gel polish last longer

16. Get regular touch-ups

Even if you take all of the necessary precautions, gel polish will eventually start to wear down. To keep your gel manicure looking its best, schedule regular touch-ups and fills every 2-3 weeks.

17. Store gel polish properly

When you're not using gel polish, be sure to store it in a cool, dark place. Exposure to light and heat can cause gel polish to deteriorate over time.

We have a helpful article about storage ideas for your nail art supplies.

Properly storing gel polish is crucial to maintain its quality, longevity, and optimal performance.

quality gel polish for gel nails

Gel polishes are sensitive to environmental factors such as heat, light, and air exposure, which can lead to premature thickening, drying, or color changes. Storing gel polish in a cool, dark place, away from direct sunlight, helps to preserve its consistency and prevent color fading.

Additionally, tightly sealing the bottles after each use minimizes air exposure, preventing the gel from curing or becoming thickened.

By storing gel polish properly, you can extend its shelf life, ensuring that it remains in a usable and high-quality condition, allowing for flawless application and long-lasting manicures.

18. Check the expiration date on all of your gel polish

Just like with regular nail polish, gel polish has an expiration date. Be sure to check the expiration date on your gel polish before using it to ensure that it will still work properly. Here are some signs on how to tell if your gel polish has expired.

19. Use the right brushes

Use a clean nail brush and keep one specifically for a base coat, polish coats and top coats.

This will ensure that you don't accidentally use the same brush for a top coat and base coat, ruining the formula. This can cause lifting.

20. Clean your gel brushes regularly

Gel polish brushes need to be cleaned properly. If you have been using the same brush for every step of the application without cleaning after each step it can cause lifting.

gel polish last longer tips

Here's a tutorial on how to clean gel off of brushes and the video below also shows step by step how to clean gel brushes.

how to make a gel polish manicure last

Nail tools can harbor bacteria, so it's important to disinfect and clean them regularly. Read up on how to clean nail files and how to disinfect metal nail tools properly.

21. Mixing different brands can cause lifting

If you are using gel polish, try to use the same brand of base coat and top coat. The same brand of gel polishes are specifically formulated to go together as a collection.

This is not to say that you can never use different brands, you just might have to experiment to know what brands will go together without compromising the adhesion.

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gel polish last longer tips

In Conclusion:

Now that you know all there is to know about DIY gel manicures, you can confidently test out the latest trends in manicure care.

We hope that this article provided helpful tips and guidance on achieving high-quality manicure results. Along with a few simple steps, such as proper removal and thorough cleaning of nails, you can get your manicure to last.

✅ Hopefully this comprehensive overview was insightful and helped your manicure last longer than ever before.

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how to make gel polish last longer