“When possible, have your nails done on Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday. These are the slowest days at a salon, so the owner will probably offer a special, like a manicure and a pedicure for 30 percent off the regular price or a manicure with a free scrub or paraffin treatment. (These deals are typically posted, but if not, just ask.) When you’re getting a manicure or a pedicure, make sure the technician rubs your nails with polish remover before she applies a base coat. This step, which many workers skip, helps color adhere to your fingertips up to 50 percent longer. Choosing a metallic polish helps, too, since the glitter makes it resistant to dings. It’s also a good idea to bring your own chip-preventing primer, which smooths the nail surface (those by Orly or Opi work well and cost $8 to $20). Have it applied before the base coat to keep your polish nick-free for over a week.
“At-home maintenance can also lengthen the life span of a manicure. Use cuticle oil, which is more moisturizing than standard hand cream, and you’ll prevent unsightly hangnails and cracking cuticles. That means you can stretch the time between salon visits. Or opt for a basic polish change at about half the cost of a full manicure.”