3 tips to make your gel manicure last as long as possible story.jpg

Are you a gel manicure maniac? Here are some tough-as-nail truths that may make you wring your hands in horror: Gel manicures cost a pretty penny and are decidedly destructive to boot – well, certainly more so than your basic bring-home polish, at any rate.

Happily, this needn’t be the final nail in the coffin for your monthly meet-up with your manicurist. Presenting some “handy” tips for prolonging your polish-wear:

Tip 1. Don’t file off more than you can chew. Does your go-to heartland auntie wield her nail file like a saw when stripping off your old gel? Not good. Filing back and forth loosens the onion-like layers of your nail, which means you’re risking hairline fissures along your nail bed that’ll make cracks in the gel veneer all the more glaring.

Expert advice? Pick your polish person carefully. “It all boils down to the nail technician’s skills, really,” says Fan Wen Qing, head nail technician at SoQ Nails. “Some manicurists cut corners by over-filing the nail bed, thereby weakening the nails. So I guess my tip would be to choose your nail person wisely.”

Tip 2. True colours shining through. Most intriguingly, our trusty nail technician notes that the longevity of darker designs pales in comparison with their lighter compatriots: “Chips and cracks don’t show up as easily on milky pastels, which means you’ll be able to scrape by with the same manicure for longer without others noticing any imperfections.” Have you seen the light yet?

Tip 3. Don’t let your mask slip. Try nourishing damaged nails back to life with a comforting cuticle mask. What you do is to slap on oodles of cream around each nail-bed, then wipe off any excess after about five minutes or so. If you’re looking for a purse-friendly option, plain old petroleum jelly will do in a pinch.

Bottom line? Gel manicures are absolutely gorgeous, but they do require some extra loving if you want them to last the week and more: Be scrupulous about not filing them too aggressively; treat them to regular cream masks and opt for a paler polish where possible. That way, you needn’t deny yourself the pleasures of a truly killer set of talons. Good luck!

Want more nail news? Master the art of getting naked with this quickie guide to selecting nude nail polish that’s perfect for your particular skin tone.

Nail art: Fan Wenqing from SoQ Nails. Makeup: Dollei Seah from Makeup Entourage, using YSL Beaute, Estee Lauder & Tom Ford. Hair: Zhou Aiyi from Makeup Entourage, using Bedhead by Tigi. Art direction: Eugene Quek and Sabrina Tiong. Styling: Eugene Quek and Sabrina Tiong. Model: Constance Faye Lau/Upfront Models