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Which Manicure Lasts the Longest?

Selecting the ideal manicure requires more than simply choosing color or length; you should also factor in lifestyle factors like how long you’d be willing to spend at the salon and budget considerations when making this decision.

All these factors should be taken into consideration when choosing your next mani treatment, but which will last the longest?


Gel nail polish manicures have quickly become one of the most sought-after and long-term forms of manicure. When done correctly, a quality set can last for three weeks without chipping or lifting!

Assuming you follow proper nail prep procedures, avoid picking at your nails or snagging their color, and regularly use strengthening base coat and top coat, this could take as little as 2 weeks or as long as 3 months depending on how well your natural nails are cared for; healthier nails hold onto color better than weak or damaged ones.

Gel polishes may be less damaging than their traditional counterparts, yet still contain chemicals like dibutyl phthalate and formaldehyde that have been linked with health issues like endocrine disruptions and cancer. Furthermore, lamps used for curing gel polishes emit UV light that damages DNA within nails.


Acrylic nails can last a long time with proper care and maintenance. Morgan Dixon of Lab & Lounge recommends wearing gloves when doing housework to reduce exposure to harsh chemicals found in cleaning products and using cuticle oil regularly to keep hands and nails hydrated and prevent dryness that could otherwise cause the acrylics to lift more rapidly.

Bui recommends visiting a trusted nail technician with natural nails that are relatively even before going in for their appointment, according to Bui. An even amount of natural nail growth makes the acrylics less likely to lift or be damaged upon removal, which in turn results in lasting acrylics. Regular fills (every two to three weeks, depending on natural nail growth) also aid this goal.


Shellac manicures involve coating your nails with polish cured by LED light. While the lamps emit UV rays, according to Lippmann they do not cause significant damage to natural nails.

“Shellac is a unique gel nail polish product in that, unlike its competitors, it contains more lacquer,” Kandalec states. This allows it to last longer without chipping or peeling and can even be removed without causing any lasting damage when being removed from its nail bed.

Shellac nail polish’s formula also creates tiny tunnels within its polish, into which acetone can seep to dissolve it more easily than gel nail polish, which may require multiple attempts for removal. Therefore, shellac is easier than gel to apply and remove than its counterpart; keeping nails moisturized will extend its longevity as well.

Dip Powder

Dip powder manicures can last for six weeks and don’t chip or lift, unlike gel. But you should still be wary of the chemicals contained within these manicures as they could potentially cause skin reactions if your nails are damaged.

Once your base coat is in place, your manicurist will dip each nail into a pot of colored powder before brushing away any excess. He or she may re-dip each nail two or three times until reaching desired opacity and color intensity.

Make sure your salon uses separate jars for every client to limit powder contamination and acetone exposure, thus protecting against bacteria infections that could lead to fungal infections.


Press-on nails may last up to two weeks while being more gentle than gel or acrylic extensions. Furthermore, press-ons are easy to apply – simply submerge the nails in warm soapy water for 10 minutes, followed by using a nail file to lift them off. Sunday Beauty recommends prepping nails before application by checking that their sizes match exactly so there is no overlap between natural nails and press-ons.

She suggests using alcohol to cleanse the nails before applying fake ones in order to ensure they are free of oil, dust and lint build-up, before gently buffing edges of fake nails to avoid premature chipping. If your set includes tabs or glue for application on each nail she suggests applying it sparingly as part of their care routine.

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