Why You Don't Need To Refresh Your Pedicure As Often As Your Manicure

Getting a pedicure is among the most relaxing and satisfying feelings in the world. As soon as you get one done, you're already excited for the next time you get to experience it. But alas, your next appointment ends up being much farther away than you anticipated because your pedicure is just too resilient to give in and chip away.

If you get a gel manicure and a pedicure at the same time, you might be surprised to see just how much damage your mani has endured, while your pedi still looks freshly applied. Celebrity manicurist Thea Green revealed to Byrdie how long you should expect gel pedicures to stay on in general. "They can last up to four weeks depending on your choice of shoe, what kind of activities you're doing, and how fast your nails grow," she confirmed. 

If it's been two weeks since your last one and it doesn't require refreshing just yet, you should still book an appointment with your nail salon. Evelyn Lim, an experienced manicurist, explained to Cosmopolitan that UV rays cause gel nail polish to cure and harden, and after two weeks, you could risk damaging your nails during the removal process. But what makes gel pedicures durable enough to endure weeks of usage? 

There are two main reasons why your pedicure lasts longer

One glaring reason why your pedicure generally lasts longer is that your feet aren't exposed to hot water quite as often as your hands. It's no surprise that soaking your nails is considered an effective way to remove your manicure at home (via Harper's Bazaar). As dermatologist Dr. Adriana Lombardi, MD, informed Byrdie, "Submerging your hands in water or taking long, hot baths can make the nails expand as they absorb the water." 

She further added that once dry, they contract to their original state, which leads to weakening and chipping. To avoid this vicious cycle, Rita Remark, the global lead educator for iconic nail polish company Essie, recommended throwing on a pair of rubber gloves when doing water-heavy chores like dish-washing and opting out of hot showers and baths as much as possible (via Teen Vogue).

The sun is another nemesis of your gel nail polish. Speaking to Well+Good, Amy Ling Lin, the owner of sundays, a New York nail salon and meditation studio, noted that when you're out in the sun, your nail polish goes through a chemical reaction that dulls its shine and makes it look older. She suggests selecting a nail polish with UV protection for top coats to combat sun damage to both pedicures and manicures. 

Here's how to make your nail polish last longer overall

Luckily, you can get the most out of your manicure and pedicure with just a few simple tweaks. To start things off on the right foot, you should prep your nail plate properly for either procedure. Vogue India recommends regular nail filing to strengthen them enough to hold polish without chipping. Push your cuticles back to prevent nail polish from getting onto them because the paint doesn't stick to the skin quite as well as nails, so it's far more likely to chip, as Mind Body Green warns. 

Once your nail plate is ready, you should always start by applying a base coat. It's an obvious but vital step that helps strengthen your manicure and pedicure, but many skip out on it because of time constraints. Simcha Whitehill, a well-known nail artist (aka Miss Pop), stressed the importance of a base coat in an interview with Allure: "Your natural nail has oils in it that prevent nail polish from adhering well. You need to seal out the oils first with a base coat before you apply a color."

Likewise, Secret Spa proposes keeping pedicures well-protected by staying footwear and water-free for a day after the initial application to let them harden without disruptions. Your feet will thank you for it later.