It’s summer, you’ve got the perfect sun dress on, your curls have fallen just right and your freshly manicured nails happen to be the finishing touch to your look. However, everyday activities like hammering on the keyboard and constantly washing your hands may cause fingernail polish to chip. But of course there’s a remedy!

The key to maintaining your polish starts with a good manicure, according to nail expert Nathalie Smith (CEO of Plush Cosmetics), who recommends the following four-step process to ensure the longevity of your nail color.

Step #1: A Fresh Start

Start by using a non-acetone polish remover. This is a great way to assure that all residue is removed from your fingernails. The goal is to have a smooth, clean nail surface.

Try Butter London Powder Room Remover ($8;

Step #2: Add a Base Coat

A bottle of base coat is usually priced at $6. “This assures that the nail has a solid foundation,” noted Smith. But be careful! According to the Vitabase Disorder Library for Nail Problems, too much base coat under your nail tips can trap dirt and potentially cause infection issues later.

Try Ulta Salon Nail Base Coat ($6;

Step #3: Choosing the Right Nail Polish

A good quality nail polish may sometimes cost a pretty penny, but is always worth the look. “A higher-end nail polish is always less prone to flake or chip,” said Smith. “After your first base coat is established, continue with several thin layers until you’ve gotten your desired look.”

Try Chanel Le Vernis Nail Colour ($27;

Step #4: Add Finishing Coat

Last but certainly not least, it is always important to add a protective topcoat to your nails. Some nail techs apply nail hardener to their customers’ nails, while others like Nathalie recommend cuticle oil for more of a fresh look.

Try Revlon Multi Care Base + Top Coat ($5.99;

EBONY Tip: Don’t let these steps go to waste! And be sure that manicures are fully dry before engaging in any activities. 

—Je’Coven Norwood