How to Make Your Acrylic Nails Last (aka Tips for Your Tips!)

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Until about six months ago, I had never, ever gotten acrylics before. (Even when fake french tips were all the rage in high school, I resisted, staying loyal to my at-home manicure routine.) But lately, my nails had grown weak from continual gel manicures — not to mention the amount of money I was shelling out for shellac on a monthly basis — so I decided I'd finally give acrylics a try. They were more inexpensive than gel manicures and promised to last just as long. What's more is that they were experiencing a resurgence, thanks to Rihanna and Lana Del Rey. Although totally fake, they gave the illusion of long, beautiful nails — something my real ones would never look like.

The result? I've fallen in love, and along the way, I've learned a thing or two about making them look as real as possible while prolonging my tips. Here's my wisdom, bequeathed to you.

FIND A GOOD NAIL TECHNICIAN

The key to real-looking, long-lasting acrylics is finding an experienced nail technician. If it weren't for Susie at The Nail Shop, I definitely would not have been able to keep up with my acrylics. She created a strong base and took her time applying my nails, which ensured less damage and breakage in the future. Another important tidbit to remember: when it's done right, the longer you have them, the better they look, which is why finding someone who can care for them is super important.

SCHEDULE REGULAR FILLS

If you've committed to acrylics, then you should know that they require regular fills. Make sure to schedule appointments with your nail technician every two weeks. If you go longer than two weeks, your acrylics will grow out, making them easier to damage. If you fail to keep up with routine fills, your nail technician will have to break off your acrylics and start from scratch, which is also worse for your real nails in the long run.

USE LONG-LASTING NAIL POLISHES AND TOP COATS

As you've already learned, acrylics are an investment. Why waste your time and money with cheap nail polishes? No matter how cute the color, I highly suggest only using top brand nail polishes. I prefer Essie over everything — not only do they have an amazing color selection, I've found that they last the longest and even maintain a shine throughout the life of your manicure. What's even more important than a good nail polish is a great top coat. Seche Vite is the fastest drying and most forgiving top coat on the market. It may cost a little bit more than the average top coat, but it's beyond than worth it.

Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Nail Coat, $6, Amazon

TOUCH UP BETWEEN APPOINTMENTS

Your nail color will definitely last longer with acrylics, but to make them look as good as they did the first day you got them done, it's important to try and touch them up between fills. Reapply a top coat a week after your fill to preserve the color and shine of your manicure.

MOISTURIZE YOUR HANDS REGULARLY

To lengthen the life of your acrylics, remember to keep your hands moisturized. Apply oil to your cuticles and nails to keep them soft and healthy. It's also important to keep your hands and fingers moisturized to prevent your nails from drying out.