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How to Make a Wedding Manicure Last Longer

Aug 09, 2023Aug 09, 2023

These expert-approved tips will deliver long-lasting results.

Photo by Alen Karupovic

Your wedding hair and makeup are essential components of your bridal beauty look, but your hands will arguably be the real center of attention. After all, your engagement ring and new wedding band will be wedged on your left ring finger, so everyone will want to catch a glimpse of your bling. Plus, you’ll be using your hands all throughout the celebration to either carry your bouquet down the aisle, greet your guests, or sip your signature cocktail. That’s why many brides head to a nail salon (or opt for a DIY treatment) before they say “I do," whether it’s a classic French manicure or a hot pink hue adorned with sequins.

Since you’re going to spend a lot of time and, potentially, money on your nail color or design, you’re probably hoping the results last as long as possible—and ideally, until your honeymoon ends. Luckily, there are certain steps you can take to prolong the effects. To help you get the most bang for your buck, we asked the experts to share their must-know tips on extending the duration of your mani.

Meet the Expert

Keep scrolling to discover how to make a manicure last from the wedding through the honeymoon.

Photo by Collins Nai

To maximize the results, the first step involves selecting the right window of time to get your nails done. For professional services, particularly gel manicures, nail expert Amy Ling Lin of Sundays suggests booking an appointment that takes place two to three days ahead of your nuptials to make sure your nails look as polished as possible when you exchange vows. If you’re sticking with a regular coat of polish, Lin recommends attending the salon or doing them yourself a day before your affair, so they won’t grow out and will be less likely to chip.

According to celebrity nail artist Jenny Nguyen of JennPaintt Nail Lounge, a gel manicure is the best option for brides because this type of beauty treatment is designed to promote long-lasting results. Since each coat of polish is cured with a UV or LED light, gel nails stay intact for at least two weeks, Nguyen says. The strong formula is resistant to wear and tear, so you can get your hands dirty without worrying about chipping them. Plus, once you finish your appointment, your nails will be completely dry, so you’ll avoid smearing your polish once you leave the salon, which is a potential risk with regular manicures. Gel manicures also stay shiny for a prolonged period of time, an additional bonus if you’re headed to the beach for your honeymoon, Lin notes.

Although white is the quintessential wedding color, Lin mentions that the hue can get dirty much more easily than another solid shade, whether you’re leaning toward French tips or an all-white look. Instead, she recommends a sheer pink tone, which will still complement your wedding attire without needing much maintenance before, during, and after you tie the knot. Likewise, she explains that pointed nail shapes are more susceptible to breakage than other shapes. For nails that last and require the least amount of upkeep, she suggests sticking with rounded edges.

Photo by Ivy Weddings

For those who have decided to forgo an in-studio service for an at-home treatment, Nguyen stresses the importance of prepping your nails for a look that stands the test of time. The nail technician says applying a base coat is the most important step because it protects your natural nails and makes the color last longer. To further extend the outcome, she also advises pushing back and trimming your cuticles, buffering your nails, and adding alcohol or acetone to clean your nail bed. After applying a few coats of the polish, seal your manicure with a clear top coat, all of which will shield your nails from chips and scratches and deliver a gleaming finish.

If you’re getting a regular manicure, whether it’s from a professional or yourself, Lin encourages you to apply a top coat of a translucent shade every other day to increase the longevity and vibrancy of your look. “Not only does this help with shine, but your nails will also stay protected from the natural elements that may weaken or dull your nails,” she says. Make sure to pack the bottle of polish with you on your honeymoon, to boot.

Hydrating your cuticles will strengthen your nail beds, preventing splitting or cracking from ruining your manicure. Plus, locking in moisture at the base of your nails will generate a noticeably glossier appearance. More specifically, Lin loves using her salon’s Hydrating Cuticle Serum to fortify and maintain your look. Add a few drops before bed or whenever you notice that your cuticles are becoming dry and brittle.

Before your big day, it’s important to be extra gentle with your nails, no matter what type of manicure you get, but especially a regular one. And if you’re doing the dishes or wiping down surfaces around your home with chemicals, Nguyen advises wearing gloves as a safeguard. If you need to open a can of soda, a package, or a letter, Lin also warns against using your own hands because it may destroy your manicured look. Instead, ask a friend or family member to provide assistance.