Avoid the cuticles and skin
Nail polish doesn't really stick to your skin — so when you go beyond the nail plate and apply some to your cuticle, you risk peeling off the polish (off the nail as well). No one's perfect, and this happens all the time — just be sure to clean it off right away with a nail cleaning brush dipped in acetone to avoid any potential peeling. Trying to keep your polish about a millimeter away from your cuticle can also help.
Apply two thin coats
The longevity of your polish also lies with its application. A golden rule to keep in mind is when the polish is thicker, it's also easier to peel off. With opaque colors, two thin coats should be enough. If you're using pastel or neon colors, try applying a white nail polish first so you don't have to apply bajillion coats to really make the color pop.
Patience is important when applying. You've got to wait until the previous layer is dry before adding a new one. (This applies for the basecoat and top coat as well.)
Try: Color Club Nail Polish in White, $7.12
Paint the free edge
Chipping usually starts on the free edge, but there's a way to avoid it: When you apply your base coat, nail polish, and top coat, always ALWAYS seal it on the free edge. Painting the edge protects the tips from chipping easily. This part is oftentimes missed when applying nail polish, so take note the next time you do your nails.
Image via Miroslav Marinkovic/EyeEm/Getty
Re-apply top coat
Sealing in your nail polish with a top coat isn't just a one-time thing. It's usually the first to fade, so try reapplying it throughout the week. This adds a fresh layer of protection for the paint and also, strengthens the nails. And besides, who doesn't want to keep some shine and glow on their nails?
With top coats, opt to use glossy ones that are quick-drying. Generally, matte top coats are not quite as good at keeping the mani on longer, so stick to glossy finishes if you're trying to make your mani last longer.
Try: Live Love Polish Quick Dry Top Coat, $13
Apply nail oil
Keeping the skin around your nails healthy is also key in the longevity of your manicure. Use jojoba oil to moisturize your nails and cuticle so they won't easily split or dry. This also helps in making your nails flexible so when accidents happen, they will just bend and not break.
Try: Leven Rose Jojoba Oil, $13.97