Everyone loves the look of freshly done nails, but it never seems to last long enough. Just as sure as toast will always fall buttered side down, your beautiful polish will inevitably chip at the worst possible moment. But is Murphy’s Law to blame or are you unintentionally making nail care mistakes? Either way, it’s super frustrating when the time and money you invest into your manicure goes right out the window as soon as the first crack appears.

You’ve probably already tried all the hacks to fix messed up nail polish, too. Wouldn’t it be nice, though, if you could skip the manicure mending by avoiding the polish-ruining mistakes in the first place? As it turns out, there are actually quite a few cardinal beauty sins you might be committing without even knowing it.

Don’t worry because you’re definitely not alone. Plenty of people want to know how to make a manicure last — especially if a lot of effort went into the look. If you don’t want to break the bank with multiple trips to the salon or on copious bottles of nail polish, but you love the look and feel of rocking a fierce mani, you’re in luck. Check out these top mistakes that can ruin a perfect polish so your nail game will always be on point.

1. Not Washing Your Hands


This isn't a dig at your hygiene habits, but starting a manicure (at home or the salon) without clean hands is a major no-no. Manicurist Katie Jane Hughes told Glamour that the naturally occurring oils on your fingers and nails can make it difficult for polish to properly adhere. So make sure whoever is doing your nails cleans them first.

2. Having Too Much Alcohol


No, this isn't a lecture on drinking. But it turns out that any substance that contains alcohol can actually put some wear and tear on your new polish. Cosmetic chemist Joseph Cincotta told Allure alcoholic beverage residue, perfume, and hand sanitizer can dull your nails.

3. Never Taking A Manicure Break


You know that saying, "you can never have too much of a good thing"? Well that doesn't necessarily apply to manicures. If you're constantly getting your nails done right after you've gotten rid of your old polish, you could be causing some harm. Dermatologist Dana Stern told Refinery29 that applying and removing polish too often can cause nail damage. This makes manicures chip more easily due to your overworked and dried out nails. Try going au natural for a few days in between manicures, and your nails will thank you.

4. Underestimating Dry Time


Even if you're getting your nails done professionally, don't think that a quick-dry polish or dryer will leave your manicure perfectly solid as soon as you walk out the door. I spoke with Tiffany Sposato, a licensed cosmetologist, who says that whether you're painting at home or in a salon, polish actually takes up to two to three hours to completely dry.

5. Overdoing Junk Food


There's nothing wrong with indulging in some not-so-healthy guilty pleasures from time to time, but not getting enough nutrients can ruin your manicure from the inside out. Celebrity manicurist Jin Soon Choi told Today that eating too much junk food can leave nails thin and weak.

6. Not Caring For Nails Between Manis


Whether you're the kind of person who gets a manicure as a special treat or you do it regularly because you like how it looks, maintenance is essential. Manicurist Skyy Hadley told Glamour that it is key to hydrate your nail beds and cuticles in between manicures to prevent damage and help your manicure last longer.

7. Going In The Pool


Don't worry. Having a long-lasting manicure doesn't mean you have to swear off pools and hot tubs forever. I mean, what kind of life would that be? However, cosmetic chemist Joseph Cincotta warned Allure that the chemicals in pools can make your polish soft, which in turn makes them more susceptible to chipping or flaking.

8. Ignoring Loose Acrylics


Just because the color still looks good doesn't mean that your acrylics aren't hiding some sneaky manicure-ruining mistakes. Sposato says that if your acrylics are starting to lift up a bit, don't ignore it. "Water can get between the natural nails and the acrylic," she says. "And if it sits in there, it can create mold." Yikes!

9. Blowing On Them


You're running late or eager to get somewhere quick, so to speed up the drying process, you blow on your nails. That's a major mistake. Rita Remark, global educator for Essie, shared with Glamour that blowing on your nails causes saliva to get on your polish and create bubbles. Resist the temptation to blow nails dry, and you could save yourself from chips.

Images: Heidi De Vries/Flickr; Giphy (9)