When you invest the time to do your own nails or the money for a professional manicure, you want your nail polish to look good for as long as possible. Besides applying the right products, a little protective therapy is in order, if you want to keep your nails shiny. You don't have to give up digging in the garden or scrubbing the shower, you just have to protect your nails while you do it.
Apply a base coat and top coat with every manicure. The base coat helps the polish adhere to the nail better, while the top coat protects your color and helps prevent chipping.
Protect your nails from heat for at least 12 hours after your manicure. Don't soak in a hot bath or wash your hands with hot water. Stay out of the sauna, and put off the hot yoga class for a day.
Wear rubber gloves when washing dishes, cleaning the house or doing any other work that could dull or chip your manicure. Exposing your nail polish to cleansers, especially abrasives, can take away the shine.
Avoid lotion, hand creams and hand sanitizers that contain alcohol, which can dull your polish. Bypass the exfoliating face and body scrubs too. Instead, rub oil, such as jojoba or Vitamin E oil, onto your nails and cuticles daily.
Fix nicks and chips as soon as they happen by filling them in with a clear top coat. Choose a fast-drying, high-shine polish, and apply a coat every few days to keep your nails looking fresh.
S.R. Becker is a certified yoga teacher based in Queens, N.Y. She has a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing and has worked as a writer and editor for more than 15 years. Becker often writes for "Yoga in Astoria," a newsletter about studios throughout New York City.