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Nothing makes you feel more polished than a bright and vibrant summer mani. (In warm berry, perhaps?) But you can’t splurge on gel every time, which is why we pulled together seven ways to make sure it doesn’t chip in between appointments. (It’s possible, we promise.)

1. Opt for a shorter cut. Sure, long almond nails are the shape du jour, but if you’re typing at a computer all day, those babies are asking for tip damage. Keep your nails on the shorter side and you’ll be less susceptible to nicks. 

2. Slather on the base coat. Most people think the topcoat is the only way to seal and protect your polish, but the base coat is actually what makes it stick smoothly to the surface to begin with so your mani can last.

3. Be sure your manicurist paints the edges. All good manicurists should give each nail (especially the thumbnail and index finger) one final horizontal swipe of color and topcoat to the tip. Then at home, you can reapply topcoat to the tips every few days to keep your polish sealed in.

4. Avoid warm water for the first 12 hours. Do not--we repeat--do not do the dishes unless the water is cold and, hello, you’re wearing gloves. (Better yet: Avoid all dishes for at least a day post-mani.) Polish takes time to dry and harden, but heat can interfere with the curing process, which can lead to minor dents and nicks.

5. Be liberal with the cuticle oil. Moisture is key to protecting your mani from daily damage. Massage cuticle oil into your nail beds at night to keep them healthy and ward off wear and tear. 

6. Stay away from hand sanitizer. We know, all you’re trying to do is kill gross germs, but the alcohol in hand sanitizers strips your nails--especially the topcoat--with every use. Instead, it’s better to wash your hands with a mild antibacterial soap. 

7. Skip the sunscreen. Er, be cautious of how you apply it. The ingredients in your SPF can cause your nails to yellow and the topcoat to break down. So make sure you’re using just the pads of your fingertips to rub on any lotion, and then wipe off the leftover from your hands immediately after.

RELATED: 7 Easy Tips for Extending the Life of Your Pedicure

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