If You Want Nail Polish To Last, Ditch Your Nightly Baths

Though showers may be a better fit when you have to quickly get out in the morning, many people choose to take baths at night. Much more than a simple hygienic practice, baths provide not only physical benefits but a mental boost, too.

"One benefit is cleanliness. Bathing cleans your skin, helping you avoid irritation, inflammation, and sores caused by dead skin cell accumulation," Dr. Amy Zack toldĀ Cleveland Clinic. "The bacterial and fungal load from contact in your environment can also accumulate, increasing the risk of infection." When it comes to mental health, baths help people sleep better, decompress, and feel calmer. Zack added, "They also create a good environment for meditation, thought, and escape from everyday stressors."

However, one thing baths are not good for is your nails. In fact, if you want to keep your manicure lasting long, you probably want to avoid taking a bath each night.

Water can expand your nail bed

The plain and simple truth is that water, especially hot water, can ruin your manicure. When your hands are immersed in water, it causes the nail bed to expand.

"Your natural nails are very porous with multiple layers of dead keratin, held together with cystine and proteins," Jan Arnold, CND style director, toldĀ Byrdie. "When hands and nails are saturated with water, the layers swell and then will contract when the water naturally dissipates. This action of expansion and contraction can cause layers to separate and polish to break apart."

This idea may seem a bit counterintuitive at first because salon manicures often begin with a nice warm fingernail soak, but now many salons are doing away with them and are opting for waterless manicures. Many salon owners and technicians say manicures last longer and chip less when you skip the water soak. Additionally, nail polish goes on more easily and spreads evenly when nails haven't been soaked in water.

Other seemingly innocent things that can ruin your manicure

Everyone wants to keep their manicure as fresh as it looks when they leave the salon, but everyday tasks may inadvertently ruin it. Since warm water is one of the quickest ways to make nail polish come off sooner than it should, use gloves when you wash dishes or clean to protect your nails and the polish.

You should also avoid doing any activities that use your nail as a tool. For example, many of us think nothing of using a nail to pop open a can lid or pull off a seal on a bottle or container. Yet these simple movements can chip a nail, especially if you've just showered or taken a bath.

If you really can't bear to forgo your nightly bath, try to keep your hands out of the warm water as much as possible. Then, once out of the tub, allow nails to thoroughly dry and avoid using them in any way that may be damaging.