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How Long Do Gel Nails Last? Tips For Longer Lasting Nails

When you first decide to get a gel nail manicure it seems daunting, do I do it myself? How much will it cost? What do I need to do it? How long do gel nails last? Well we are here to tell you, that doing your own gel nails at home is totally worth it. It will last much longer than standard nail polish, and your nails will feel stronger than they ever have.

And on top of that, if you follow a few of the tips and tricks we have included in this article, then you can extend the life of your manicure even further!

How Long Do Gel Nails Last?

how long do gel nails lastIt is important when doing your gel nails at home, that you take your time and follow the correct procedure for applying gel nails. If you do this, then you can expect your manicure to last at least 2 – 3 weeks.

But what if I told you that it is possible for your  manicure to last over 4 weeks? Yes, you didn’t misread that…..OVER 4 weeks.

So the actual answer to the question “How Long do Gel Nails Last?” is over 4 weeks!

So how do we achieve this 4 week plus manicure? Lets take a look at what we need to do to increase the time our nail polish lasts.

Why do Gel Nails Need to Be Removed?

But before we get into our guide, lets take a look at the reasons why gel polish needs to be removed before we might want to and some of the main reasons these things happen.

Chips In The Color

Chips in your gel nails are a woman’s worst enemy. They always seem to happen JUSt after we have had our manicure, and sometimes they can be quite visible to others, not to mention how annoying it is knowing your nails are chipped! (Any of you OCD types out there will know this feeling, I’m one of them).

Chips are generally caused by not wearing protection on your hands when you should be. And of course sometimes chips just happen – not your fault!


Peeling nails look horrible, are incredibly annoying and can even damage your natural nails. Peeling is when the polish lifts up either exposing one of the coats under the one that has peeled, or the natural nail itself. There are a number of reasons why this happens, the main one being incorrect preparation of your nails before applying the gel polish. Incorrect application of the polish itself can also cause it to peel off. The other main reason is one that even I have been guilty of, picking the polish off myself! Don’t do that….it is really really bad for your nails!


Cracking polish on nails is generally due to your technique when applying your gel nails. As tells us, its usually cause by applying your polish too thickly, or too close to the edge of your nails.

Growing Out

So apart from somehow magically stopping your nails from growing, there is not much you can do about this one.

Tips for Making Gel Nails Last Longer

How long do gel nails last? Well read through the following list of tips and tricks to making your gel nails last longer. The more of these tips you do, the longer your gel nails will last.

Follow the Correct Procedure for Applying Gel Nails

This is a crucial step. Follow our guide on doing your own gel nails and don’t skip any steps! Don’t rush any part of the process and make sure you understand each step.

Failure to follow this guide correctly will lead to your polish chipping or peeling off earlier than you would like.

It is also important to note that you should follow the instructions provided by your polish manufacturer. Each polish takes a different amount of time to cure, and even the type of lamp you use can make a difference. So be sure to read all instructions that comes with your gel nail kit and polish. If you are after a good gel nail kit then research the best of them here.

Use a Good Gel Nail Polish Brand

While we do promote cheap gel polishes on other parts of this site, generally they aren’t as durable as the premium brands. Investing in a good brand of nail polish will pay off in the long run as your manicure will last longer than ever before.


Wear Rubber Gloves When Cleaning or Doing Dishes

how long do gel nails lastIt may sound obvious, but this is one the best things you can do to improve the length of time your gel nails last. Harsh cleaning chemicals in household cleaning products can actually harm the hard layer of polish on your nails and cause them to chip easier. Some chemicals will even cause your nail polish to start peeling away.

And then there is the obvious reason: if you have an extra layer of protection (rubber gloves) over your manicured nails, then you are less likely to bump them on something hard or sharp that will cause them to chip away.

Remove Your Old Manicures Correctly

Whatever you do, do not pick off your existing nail polish. 

If you already have a manicure,  even a non-gel manicure that you need to remove before applying your new polish – then make sure to remove it properly.

Some people will tell you that gel nails weaken your natural nail bed, this is not the case if you remove your nails correctly. Do NOT peel or pick your old nail polish off. Doing so damages the nail bed and not only causes your new polish to not stick to the nail correctly, but it also can become extremely painful.

We recommend following our guide on how to remove gel nails.

Make Sure Your Natural Nails are Strong

When someone asks us “how long do gel nails last?” We ask them how strong their natural nails are before we give them an answer. As mentioned in the previous point, having strong natural nails is critical to a long lasting manicure.

If your natural nails are weak and flex easily, then the gel polish you apply will also flex easy and crack and chip away.

Strengthening your natural nails doesnt happen over night, but can be done. We recommend using gelatin as a natural way to strengthen your nails.

Make Sure Your Nails Are Clean First

how long do gel nails last

This is where we give some conflicting advice. One side of the argument is that you shouldnt wash you want your nails to be completely dry before starting to apply your polish. The other side of the argument is that you want to was your hands really well to get rid of any dirt or impurities. Personally, I try to wash my hands an hour or so before doing my nails and then dont do anything that will get them dirty until after I am finished. Any dirt or impurities that are still on your nails when you apply your gel polish will cause it not to stick to the nail bed correctly, thus reducing the life of your gel polish straight away.

At the very least, use an alahol soaked wipe to clean your nails before doing your manicure. Alcohol dries very quickly when exposed to air, and is also great and cleaning any grease etc from your natural nails.

How long do gel nails last? Well it depends on how clean your nails are!

Use Thin Coats of Polish

As we mentioned earlier in this article, your polish can crack if you apply coats of color that are too thick. So you are better off applying thin coats, and more of them. Don’t forget to cure each coat before adding the next one!

Cure Your Nails For Longer – At Your Own Risk

We mentioned earlier in this article that it is important to follow the instructions provided with your gel nail equipment and polish. This is certainly the case, but it is important to know that you can not over cure your gel nail polish.

There is some scientific evidence that curing gel nail polish for a double period causes the polish to harden even more than usual, making it stronger in the process. This in turn gives you a longer lasting gel nail manicure.

Of course, then you are exposing your skin to harmful UV rays from the UV nail lamp for a longer period of time. So we recommend not curing for longer than the manufacturers instructions for the gel nail lamp state. 

Choose a Lighter Color

While we all have our favorite colors for our nails, you should keep in mind that a lighter gel color is better as far as longevity goes.

Why? I hear you ask….. well its not because of any scientific reason. It’s simply because lighter colors do not show chips, cracks or imperfections as much as a darker color. So when you do get that inevitable chip in your nails, others are less likely to notice it.

Apply a Top Coat Regularly

How long do gel nails last? Well, do you maintain your gel manicure after you apply it? If not, then do not expect it to last over a month.

It is recommended to seal your nails with a top coat every 2-3 days, but of course this is not always practical. So we suggest you try doing it once a week.

Doing so will reduce the risk of cracks and chips in your nails.

So – How Long Do Gel Nails Last?

Well hopefully we have helped you learn that the question “how long do gel nails last?” is a bit open ended. But by following the tips and tricks laid out in this article, we can all achieve the epic 4 week+ manicure!

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About Vanessa Steed

I am a mum, a wife and a lover of all things to do with nails and nail polish! I have worked in the beauty industry for over 10 years but am currently an at-home mom looking after my two young kids.

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