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DIY Nail Art Designs: Easy Tips to Keep Nail Polish from Lifting and Peeling

Updated on May 13, 2012

Don't let it happen to you!

Lifting and peeling nail polish is the bane of any DIY nail art designs enthusiast’s existence, we dread it, and when it happens, it often ruins a manicure that took a fair bit of time to create. If you’ve ever had nail polish lift or peel, you’ve most likely asked yourself if there’s a way to prevent it, and the answer is yes, there is. Let’s explore some of the reasons why nail polish might lift or chip and what you can do about it.

Poor nail preparation

This is one of the biggest reasons why nail polish chips or peels. Some nail polish lovers may believe that it’s all about the polish, when in fact preparation plays just as big a part in how long a manicure lasts. Poor preparation may include not using a base coat, not cleaning the nails before application, not removing the cuticles, and applying cuticle oil or hand cream at the wrong time.

Why you should use a base coat

A base coat acts as a barrier between your natural nail and the nail polish you’re using. It not only helps prevent the nail from getting stained or becoming yellow, but also helps prevent lifting and peeling. It’s a step you really shouldn’t miss when you do nail art designs, or even when you’re just doing a simple home manicure.

How to clean the nails

You’re probably wondering what cleaning your nails has to do with extending the life of your nail polish and nail art designs, but I’m not talking about cleaning under the nails. Cleaning the nail bed is important because it removes any old polish, which may already be chipping or peeling, and it also helps to remove oils from the nail bed. Use a cotton ball and ordinary nail varnish remover to clean the nails, even if you don’t have any old polish on the nails. It gets rid of oils on and in the nail to help the base coat stick to your nail.

Removing the cuticles

This is not only a good way to make your DIY nail art designs last longer but it also helps keep your cuticles looking their best. Always use a cuticle remover and a pusher tool to remove and push back the cuticles before you apply your base coat. Cuticle remover products help get rid of excess cuticle or skin that may extend onto the nail bed. If you’ve ever pushed back your cuticles, and noticed white-ish bits of skin, you’ve seen exactly why polish lifts around the cuticles sometimes. Excess skin makes it almost impossible for the polish to stick to the nail bed.

When to apply hand cream or cuticle oil

The best time to apply hand cream or cuticle oil is after you’ve completed your manicure. Applying moisturizing products beforehand will add oil to the nail bed, because that’s what hand creams and cuticle oils contain. You should avoid putting anything onto your hands or nails once you’ve cleaned them using nail polish remover. Save that for last to give your cuticles and hands a real treat after your manicure.

These simple tips should help your manicure and nail art designs last longer, and prevent lifting or peeling for at least a few days after application. The products you use do play a role, and high-quality polishes, base coats, and top coats will generally last better than cheaper products.


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    • Emeraldgreen21 profile image

      Atell Rohlandt 3 years ago from South Africa

      Hi NailLuva, gellish polish can be very hard to remove unless you know the tricks! I've not used gellish very much myself but some of my friends soak cottan balls in acetone and then hold that on the nail by covering the tip of the nail with foil. So in essence, it's almost like soaking your nails in acetone (which is what they would do in the salon to remove gel extensions etc). Hope that helps, scraping it off sounds awful! hope your nails are ok.

    • profile image

      NailLuva 3 years ago

      Gellish polish doesn't peel or chip. Any ideas to get it off? I had to scrape my nails to get it off