You Should Consider Switching to a Waterless Manicure

This hack for chip-free nails is genius.

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There are many ways to customize your manicure experience at the nail salon. An accent nail can spice up a solid manicure, extensions can be used to create your dream length and shape, and gel polish can ensure your nails stay chip-free for up to two weeks.

Another option? Skipping the part where you soak your nails in a bowl of warm water that's often infused with soothing essential oils like rose or lavender. Sure, this step is relaxing, but it can actually cause a manicure done with regular nail polish to chip sooner than expected.

Since getting your nails done professionally takes time and money, we tapped nail experts to fully explain why you should consider switching to a waterless manicure next time you go to the salon.

What Is a Waterless Manicure?

If you haven't already figured it out, a waterless manicure is one done without using water. The process is typically the same as a standard manicure: hands are sanitized, nails are filed and buffed, and cuticles are cared for. The nails are then painted with a base coat, two coats of color, and a top coat. The technician will finish the service by applying cuticle oil and hand lotion.

What Are the Benefits of a Waterless Manicure?

Chips are inevitable, but they shouldn't happen days after leaving the salon. If that situation sounds familiar, foregoing the use of water during your manicure service could be the solution.

"Water expands the nail plate because the nail is porous like a sponge, and it actually takes a full hour for the nail to dry," explains Julie Kandalec, a celebrity manicurist and founder of Julie K Nail Artelier in New York City. "You're essentially polishing a damp nail and once it contracts back to its natural form, the polish can't contract back with it because it's dry — and that's why it chips."

Aside from a long-lasting manicure, going waterless at the salon has health benefits, too. "Water is a breeding ground for germs, and bacteria can remain in the bowl even after the water is drained," says Rachel Apfel Glass, founder of Glosslab.

Not to mention, eliminating soaking during the manicure service will conserve water, a move that eliminates waste produced by salons.

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Do Waterless Manicures Last Longer Than Regular Ones?

While there are salons like Glosslab and Julie K Nail Artelier that specialize in doing waterless manicures, Glass says you can request the service at any salon and they'll typically accommodate you.

As for whether or not a waterless manicure lasts longer than a regular one, the short answer is yes. "Waterless manicures last longer than normal manicure/pedicure procedures as it prevents any pre-nail cracking," Glass confirms. "Your cuticles absorb water and therefore peel back faster as they are susceptible to cracking, which leads to your nail polish chipping earlier."

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