How to Make Your Gel Manicure Last Between Appointments

One thing I am continuously complimented on is my nails. It’s one little treat I really look forward to each month and I really take pride in the finished result.

I can’t take all the credit for my nails though. 90% of the credit goes to NAF for the consistently killer work that they do and the remaining 10% I would say is down to how well I look after my nails.

A lot of people I know struggle to make their gel manicure last even two weeks whereas I’ve been known to make a gel manicure last up to five weeks without any chips or breaks. This is a feat I’m quite proud of tbh. It’s not exactly a science but I have five tips which allow my gel manicures to last the month.

This is how I get my manicure to last in between appointments.

Fairly Odd Parents Inspired Chevron Nails done at NAF Salon, Glasgow

Condition Daily

Every day, I make sure to apply nail oil on my cuticles and skin around my nails.  Nail oils are really good for nourishing your cuticles and nails, helping to prevent rag nails, breakages and improving overall nail health. 

I use Naf Stuff’s nail oil pen as I find them easier to keep on my person and use on the go. I like to keep a stash at home, as well as my bag and my desk at work, so I don’t really have an excuse not to use them! Their oils include Vitamin E and jojoba oil which are super nourishing, as well as a delicious scent. My favourites include Cinnamon & Apple, Mint & Eucalyptus and Banana (it smells exactly like the foam banana sweets you used to get in a Woolworths Pick ‘n’ Mix). So good! Read more about them here.

NAF! Stuff Sleepy Collection Mint & Eucalyptus Nail Oil Pen

Using a nail oil will only take a couple minutes each day and is a good habit to get into, making sure your nails stay healthy and conditioned.

Protect your hands

You should always use gloves when cleaning or washing dishes, a tip I picked up from my mum, and will protect both your nails and your skin. 

Hot water is extremely drying to both your skin and your nails so I will wear gloves when washing up just to protect my hands. Hot water can also cause gel polish to lift resulting in your manicure lasting not nearly as long as it should.

This should go without saying but you definitely should make sure to wear gloves when cleaning!  Not exposing your skin to harsh chemicals should be common sense. Additionally, these chemicals can react with the gel polish and weaken it, again causing your manicure not to last.

I use non-latex medical gloves since marigolds tend to trigger my eczema. These are disposable but I will use them until they tear (not about that single-use plastic life)!

Don’t File

This might sound counterproductive if trying to maintain your nails but you should avoid filing your nails. Gel polish adheres to your nail bed – filing this incorrectly (yes, there is a correct way to file) can risk damaging the natural nails underneath. Filing will also remove the seal around the nail which can cause the polish to lift or chip. If you do have to file, use a glass file rather than an emery board or anything too rough, this will cause the least amount of damage. I use the OPI Crystal Nail File and have done so for years, it’s by far my favourite!

I also try to avoid removing gel unless it gets to a point I really have to. I can really damage your nails if you don’t know what you and doing and even if you do know what you’re doing, it can be a bit of a faff to do at home. It’s best just to leave it to the professionals with the proper kit so you don’t find yourself raiding your kitchen looking for the tin foil.

Natural nails after a professional removal
Natural nails after a professional removal

Pick your design wisely

The only time in life that I am organised is when it becomes time to organise nail appointments. Liking to have my appointments booked fairly far in advance, I know that sometimes there will be at least four weeks until my next appointment. In these circumstances, I will always choose a nail design that allows for growth without it being too apparent i.e a french or chevron design. My nails grow really fast so my go-to chevron design with a nude base makes the growth less obvious than if I had a more colourful design at the nail base. 

Go somewhere reputable

Reputable doesn’t need to mean expensive. When choosing a salon to visit, it’s good to visit their Instagram if they have one but also Google them to read customer reviews.

One thing I can not emphasise the importance of when choosing where to go is cleanliness. Do they sanitise their equipment and work station? If not, I am going to wage they either don’t know what they’re doing or just have no pride in their work. Places that take the time to clean are most likely to take the additional time needed to prep your nails properly so that your manicure lasts. Also, you won’t come away with a nasty nail infection. Always a bonus!

It’s no secret that I love NAF! Salon and I will always highly recommend it because I can always trust that the service and end result will be absolutely next level!

Silver Glitter Chevron Nails holding glacial ice from Icelandic ice cave. Nails by Naf Salon, Glasgow.

Not exactly re-inventing the wheel with my five tips but I have found that these really work for me. The best way to maintain your manicure is to have it removed and applied by a professional on a regular basis but these tips should help you until your next appointment or with your overall nail health.

Do you have any tips that you recommend? Let me know!

Until next time,

Ashleigh x


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How to make your manicure last -2


  1. I actually do my own gels from home but I’ll definitely take these tips on board to make it last longer!

    1. The pink one is definitely one of my absolutely favourites!

      That’s such a shame! I recently went to somewhere different since I left booking my usual appointment too late and this other salon ruined my nails! I’ve had to cut them all down to my finger tip. Using these tips is helping me grow them back though! Slowly but surely. X

  2. I swear by the Naff nail cuticle oil, my nails are like brand new since I started using it last Christmas! I don’t often get my nails done, I prefer to do them myself because I always change my mind on styles! Loved this post!

  3. 5 weeks is absolutely incredible! Thanks for the tips, you seem to take care of your nails really well. Great tip about choosing your designs well if you know you have a long time between appointments. They look great even grown out a little x


  4. I love the idea of choosing a design with more of a nude base so growth doesn’t show quite as much! That’s really clever. I also love using a nail oil – I can’t say I do it every day like you, but I do it when I can! Great post x

    1. I wouldn’t necessarily say it will cause your nails to grow but it does help condition your nails which prevents breaks. So it does help them grow in that way if that makes sense? But it won’t make them grow any faster than usual. Xx

  5. Those are all very helpful tips! I hadn’t really considered wearing gloves while doing the dishes because I am a bit of a “ah, what can go wrong” type but I will start now for the love of my nails ♥ Thank you for sharing your wisdom 🙂

    1. I only started because I have sensitive skin and eczema so the soapy water was really aggravating. But also nails are really porous so if you are soaking your hands in water with no gloves or even polish on your nails, it can really damage them! X

  6. Love this post! I can’t not get my nails done, and I can only have gel not acrylic as this really ruined my nails! I’ve now followed! Great post!

    Catherine x

    1. Thank you!

      Personally I don’t think I would get acrylic just because I’ve seen the damage they can do if removed incorrectly. The upkeep is also a lot more! Gel is perfect for me since it’s quite low maintenance!

    1. My nails also grow very quickly which is why I often choose a design that has a plain base so growth isn’t obvious. I hate the constant reapplication of normal polish which is why I love gel polish! X

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