Take your mid-week nails from sad to sophisticated using one of these simple solutions.

By Heather Muir Maffei
Updated July 31, 2015
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Katie Hughes applying nail polish on model at Fashion Week
Credit: Courtesy of butter LONDON

Regardless if you DIY your manicure or you pop by your local salon on the weekends for a polish change, having your nails done can help you feel pulled together and ready to take on the week—especially if there's a big meeting or event on your calendar. Fast forward to Thursday (or Wednesday if you've been on dish duty), when you notice that your once shiny, pristinely-shaped nails are—ugh—chipped and dull. If you remove the polish, you're back to square one with naked nails; if you leave them as is, you risk running into your boss or fancy friend who might judge your unkept tips. We asked Katie Jane Hughes, Global Colour Ambassador for Butter London, for easy ideas on how to revive a tarnished mani. Here, your cheat sheet for when your nails have seen better days—you'll save time by not having to start from scratch, plus you'll look like you got professional nail art.

First: Before busting out the polish, quickly file any rough edges or snags. Then proceed with one of these techniques:

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Katie Hughes applying nail polish on model at Fashion Week
Credit: Courtesy of butter LONDON

1 Katie Hughes applying nail polish on model at Fashion Week

Apply a piece of Scotch tape on the area of your nail that is still intact. This will create a protective barrier. Then, paint a new shade (stay in the same color family for a subtle look; swipe on an unexpected hue to make a statement) on the chipped areas for a color-block effect.


Apply nail lacquer in a complementary shade or similar hue to a sponge (a kitchen or craft one will do), and press on the nail tip (most likely the chipped portion) to create a quick ombré nail.


Dip a small brush (a Q-tip works in a pinch) in acetone and fade out the edges (starting from where the chips begin) for a neat blank space fade-out.


Using a new color, paint dots randomly all over the nail to make the chips look intentional. Use the nail polish brush for a cooler look or use a pointed cotton swab to create more uniform looking polka dots.


Grab a glittery polish—the chunkier, the better (raid your teen's room if need be) and use it as a topcoat. It'll fill in the chips and add a textured look to what you've already got.

Once the polish is dry, rub oil into your cuticles to add a sheen and, in turn, moisturize any dryness (which will help conceal any little rogue pieces of skin). Try Sally Hansen 18K Gold Cuticle Eraser ($6, drugstore.com), which comes in a portable pen form with a non-drippy rubber tip. Voila—your nails will look (almost) as good as new.