20 Expert Tips For Making Gel Polish Last Longer [2022]

how to make a gel manicure last longer

This is how to make your gel polish last as long as possible. 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 mani 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!

how to make gel polish last longer

Gel manicures are all the rage 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 have's for many nail artists.

You can keep playing with the nail art design without fear that it's going to dry before you get it perfect.

But sometimes the gel can chip or lift faster than you'd like.

Here are some tips using regular gel and also builder gel. First, always use a base and top coat. This will help seal your nails and keep the color from chipping away.

Second, avoid using hand sanitizer or harsh chemicals, as these can weaken the bond of the gel and cause it to peel off or start to lift off of the nail prematurely.

Finally, try not to scratch or scrape your nails against anything hard – this can also cause the gel to crack, lift or peel off prematurely.

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

Tips For Making Gel Polish Last Longer

1. Start with a clean 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.

Also make sure there is no prior product like a nail polish on your nails.

2. Prep your nails properly. 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 file that is between 180-140 grit.

prepping nails for gel polish

3. Remove any dust from the filing process.

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. Check Prices On Amazon

4. Apply a quality dehydrator to the natural nail. Using a nail dehydrator will help with keeping your nail plate free of moisture. Check Prices On Amazon

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.

5. After your nail prep, don't accidentally touch the nail plate. If you touch the nail plate you are going to transfer your natural oils resulting in a poor bond.

6 Choose a quality gel polish or builder gel. 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.

Purchase a gel polish that has good reviews. One of the top selling gel polish brands is Modelones on Amazon. We have used their gel polishes and they are great to work with.

quality gel polish for gel nails

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.

Check out this video how we used a quality builder gel from Modelones to create this manicure. These nails lasted for over 3 weeks without lifting or chipping.

If you are new to builder gel, here are the best builder gel tips and tricks.

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7. Always apply a base coat. 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.

8. 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, 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.

9. Cure your nails properly and for the specified 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

10. Check your cure lamp to make sure it is still working properly. 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.

11. Don't forget the top coat! 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.

12. Avoid water and other chemicals. 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.

13. 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.

14. 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

15. 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.

16. 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.

17. 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.

18. 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.

19. Clean your manicure tools 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.

If you are wondering how to remove gel polish from nail brushes, 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.


20. 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.

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.

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how to make gel polish last longer