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A person with a manicure is massaging a cream into their hands.


How To Maintain Your Manicure At Home

Salon and home manicures both start to look worse for wear with time. Here, find tips to help maintain your manicure at home so it lasts longer & looks better.

Having your nails done and giving yourself a manicure can both be supremely relaxing experiences. The results aren’t so bad either. Perfectly painted nails make you feel pulled-together. Of course, the same doesn’t hold true once the polish starts to chip and your cuticles look ragged. With time, your manicure won’t look as good as it once did, but maintenance and whether you cared for your nails properly also play a role.

The good news is, you don’t need to rush back to the salon or break out a bottle of nail polish to redo your manicure. With the right expert tips, you can care for your manicure at home and make it last longer. Below, we’re sharing six tips to help keep your nails looking fresh.

Tip #1:

Moisturize Your Hands Every Day

Every good manicure includes plenty of hand cream (preferably accompanied by a hand massage). However, this won’t be enough moisture to last you until your next nail appointment. Just as you should moisturize your face on the daily, your hands need regular nourishment, too. Not only is having dry skin on your hands uncomfortable, but it can also detract from your manicure.

Richly Hydrating Scented Hand Cream

Pamper your hands every day with a hand cream that has a spa-like fragrance. We recommend Richly Hydrating Scented Hand Cream. It has a formula with shea butter and vitamin E that sinks into skin to leave it feeling soft and moisturized.

For severely dry, active hands, reach for Ultimate Strength Hand Salve instead. Think of this as your heavy-duty hand cream. It helps protect and repair the appearance of dryness caused by manual labor, neglect, and exposure to harsh elements. This is how it works: The thick, rich formula with avocado oil draws in and absorbs water from the air to form a glove-like barrier that protects against moisture loss.

Kiehl’s Expert Tip: Come nighttime, you can take moisturizing your hands to the next level. Apply your hand cream or salve of choice, then slip a pair of cotton gloves on top. You may feel a little silly, but it will help keep the moisture where you want it. Meaning, your hand cream won’t soak into your pillow or sheets instead of your skin.

Ultimate Hand Salve and Liquid Hand Soap from Kiehl's

Tip #2:

Use Non-Drying Hand Soap

Washing your hands is non-negotiable, but it’s true that it can take a toll on your skin and even your manicure. That is, unless you find the right hand soap. Make sure you’re washing with a non-drying formula, like Liquid Hand Soap. It’s formulated with aloe vera and vitamin E to gently cleanse, soothe, and recondition skin.

The soap is also available in coriander and grapefruit scents, so you can match the fragrance to your hand cream. Using formulas with the same scent is an easy way to smell better for longer.

Tip #3:

Carry Face Oil Down To Your Cuticles

Cuticles can make or break a manicure. When they’re pushed back and hydrated, your nails automatically look nice and neat. Conversely, dry, rough cuticles ensure your manicure looks messy regardless of how well your nails are polished. This makes cuticle oil key.

Besides using an oil meant specifically for your cuticles, you can make the most of your face products by bringing them down to your hands, too. Kiehl’s Customer Representatives recommend that after applying our antioxidant face oil, Daily Reviving Concentrate, consumers use any remaining oil in the dropper on their cuticles. The formula, which revitalizes skin, is infused with ginger root, sunflower oil, and tamanu oil.

Tip #4:

Skip Frequent Baths and Soaking Your Hands

Taking a bubble bath can be a self-care opportunity, but, as it turns out, it won’t do your nails any favors. When your goal is to preserve your manicure, it’s best to skip (or shorten) baths. The same goes for soaking your hands in water in any other manner. While a hand soak is a common part of a manicure, that’s before your nails are polished. Once your salon or home manicure is complete, you should save soaking until you’re ready to remove the polish and start anew. The reason being, frequent wetting and drying can cause your nails to become dry and brittle.

Instead of luxuriating in the tub, take showers in-between manicures. You can still pamper yourself in the shower, but your nails won’t be exposed to quite as much water. For a shower that’s just as indulgent as bathtime, use Bath and Shower Liquid Body Cleanser. It can be used to create a foaming bath experience, but for days when you have a manicure to maintain, it also works to cleanse and refresh in the shower.

Tip #5:

Wear Gloves To Do The Dishes and Clean

Unfortunately, a perfect manicure isn’t considered a reasonable excuse to skip out on doing the dishes or cleaning your home (at least by most). Household chores have to get done regardless of the state of your nails. Still, it’s true that these tasks can lead to split fingernails and eroded polish. To do it all without damaging your nails, wear rubber gloves while you work. They’ll protect your hands and your manicure from not only the water but any harsh chemicals you may be using to clean.

Tip #6:

Exfoliate Your Hands Pre-Manicure

Creme de Corps Soy Milk & Honey Body Polish

When you apply makeup, it doesn’t matter how beautifully you blend your foundation if you haven’t taken the correct steps to prep and prime your skin. The same idea can be applied to your nails. While you can take steps post-polish to preserve your manicure, putting in the proper prep work will really make all the difference. This includes the moisturizing hand soak we mentioned above as well as exfoliating your hands prior to polishing your nails.

You won’t want to scrub your hands once your nails are painted, as it could disrupt the polish, but before painting is another story. Using Creme de Corps Soy Milk & Honey Body Polish to exfoliate your hands will leave them feeling soft, supple, and primed for moisture.

Kiehl’s Expert Tip: Applying SPF is another step to take before your manicure. This isn’t necessary for all types of nail polish, but if yours will be cured with UV light, sunscreen can help protect your skin.

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