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There's nothing like having a perfect manicure — until it chips.
But have you ever noticed that some manicures last longer than others? (OK, fine, it's always the at-home manicures that chip immediately.) To address the issue and some other nail-related concerns, we rounded up our favorite manicurists to share their most useful secrets.
1. Skip the soak
Opt for a "dry manicure," whether you're at a salon or doing your nails at home.
"A lot of places soak nails in a bowl to soften the cuticle, but (the nail) will absorb a lot of water, so it expands. And when the water evaporates, it contracts, and that promotes chipping," Jessica Torres, a manager for Primp & Polish, a salon with multiple locations in New York City, told TODAY Style.
Think of it this way: It's a step you can skip!
2. Get friendly with the nail file
Yes, it's annoying, but there's almost no point in painting your nails if you don't do at least a little prep work. One must-do step? Filing the tips of your nails. But don't drag the file back and forth, Gina Edwards, a celebrity manicurist for KISS Products, Inc. told TODAY Style.
"File in one direction in short strokes," she said. "Taking a light buffer and removing excess nail fraying at the tip will ensure a smooth surface for polish application."
3. Yes, top and base coats matter
A base coat protects the nail from color stains and anchors the polish while a top coat gives nails extra shine. Torres recommends a quick-dry top coat to speed up the process.
4. Two. Thin. Coats.
"Some people think the more (polish) they put on, the easier it's going to be, but actually that will cause it to peel and chip faster," Shelly Hill, manager of Base Coat Nail Salon in Los Angeles, told TODAY Style. "Thinner coats are key. It depends on the brand, but I always recommend doing two thin coats."
5. Don't forget the free edge
To deter chips, swipe a bit of polish along the tip of your nail, also called the "free edge." It's OK if some of the polish goes underneath the nail tip. Repeat with top coat.
6. Run your hands under cold water
After your nails have been drying for a minute or two — cold air only, folks! — run your hands under cold water.
"That helps speed up the drying process," Hill said. And don't worry, it won't ruin the polish!
RELATED: How to take off gel nails at home
7. Give into gloves
Want a manicure that really lasts? Buy a pair of rubber gloves.
"I can't instill this in people enough," Hill said. "I know some people don't like them, but if you're cleaning, gardening, doing dishes, wear them. It makes a huge difference."
"I do it myself and people always say, 'How do your nails last so long?'" she added. "And I say, 'Because I wear gloves!'"