3 Sneaky Household Chores That Are Ruining Your Manicure

Just in case you needed an excuse to stop doing the dishes.

As much as we deem ourselves generally good-humored and unflappable, boy does a chipped nail on a just-done mani really grind our gears. If we did it at home, that hour of painstaking prep, paint, and dry time goes down the drain. If we went to the salon, throw in a quickly scarfed-down salad during lunch hour and, oh, the money spent getting said manicure. *deep breaths*

We've tried to learn the little things sabotaging us, the sneaky mistakes we're making that cut the lifespan of a freshly painted (or dipped!) manicure short. For instance, all the hand sanitizer we're pumping on the hour, every hour, to keep germs at bay? It will dry out those cuticles and nail beds like no other, which makes them more prone to break and chip. To combat it, apply cuticle oil or hand lotion immediately after to keep your nails healthy. Crisis averted.

But there are other everyday household practices that can unexpectedly ruin your manicure, and they're hard to avoid. Luckily we've got a few tricks to help make your manicure last way longer.

Here are three sneaky household chores that are sabotaging your at-home or salon mani success.

Cooking Manicure
Pawel Wewiorski/Getty Images

Washing the dishes

This one is notorious for robbing manicures of shine, longevity, and general joie de vivre. Hot water paired with harsh dish soap? Recipe for disaster, that one. You should never, ever wash dishes within two to three hours of painting your own nails at home (same goes for taking a hot shower) or they will smudge or ripple. Full stop. To protect your manicure the next day and beyond, wear a pair of gloves when washing dishes to keep yourself from chipping the nail color, breaking your perfectly sculpted squoval nail shape, or drying out your cuticles.

Cleaning the bathroom

This is yet another snake in the grass. All of the chemicals, all of the scrubbing, it's a one-way ticket to chipped nail city. To get ahead of this pesky manicure mistake, we've gotten in the habit of deep-cleaning our bathroom the day before heading to the salon or breaking out the new OPI color we swiped at work. Why? Because we don't pay good money for a fiery coral manicure to lose it while scrubbing the toilet bowl or scraping toothpaste off the sink basin, Cheryl!

Skipping the utensils

As in, not using a butter knife to scrape food off the counter. Trying to peel the label off a wine bottle with your nails instead of using the wine opener's corkscrew. Using your nail as a handy dandy screwdriver in a tight. Make-shifting your pointer finger and thumb into a pair of Tweezers. Cooking with your hands (we're talking getting in there and mixing with your Cajun Shrimp-ed fingers). Cracking open cans of La Croix with wild abandon. Changing batteries. We've seen one over-zealous flip of the water bottle cap take down an entire gel manicure. Wear-and-tear is real. Even typing this sentence is making us cringe; each pitter-patter is a crushing blow to the top coat on this gel mani. Proceed with caution, folks.

Easy Tips to Chore-Proof Your Manicure:

  1. Keep your nails short and rounded. Long, square nails chip and break way more easily.
  2. Keep a nail file on hand. Not one of those cardboard ones, a metal one like this one.
  3. Reapply a fresh coat of top coat polish regularly, at least once every three days for a regular manicure and once a week for a gel manicure. (You'll be amazed at what a difference this makes.)
  4. Hydrate with cuticle oil (we like this coconut oil-infused one!) or hand lotion daily. Try the hand cream counterpart of Amazon's cult-favorite face cream, Weleda Sea Buckthorn Hand Cream.

Now you're fully equipped to keep any chore-related manicure disasters at bay. Always remember: No salon visit until the toilet's already been scrubbed!

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