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Protect Your Manicure While Washing Dishes (Without Gloves!)

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Jessica
11.02.12

Whether you’re all about DIY beauty or swear by your weekly salon appointment, manicures are an inexpensive and quick way to update your style. But it’s easy to go from classy to messy with a few small chips, and washing dishes is a surefire way to ruin a perfect mani. This happens because while you’re doing the dishes, water exposure softens and expands your nails, causing the polish to chip and peel as the nails shrink back to their normal size. If wearing plastic gloves sounds even worse than a chipped nail or two, try a few of these tricks to maintain your manicure.

Don’t rush things. For a chip-free manicure, it’s best to wait 12 full hours between the moment your nails are polished and sticking your hands in a sink full of dishes. Even though your nail polish looks dry after about 15 minutes, it actually takes 12 hours for it to fully harden. The heat and steam of doing dishes will soften the polish and make it prone to smearing, smudging and chipping. If you have little ones running around, this is the perfect excuse to get them to help out after dinner.

Just get it over with. It’s tempting to let your dishes “soak” (read: sit) in the sink for longer than necessary just to avoid the inevitable, but it’s better for your nails to just get it done. The longer they sit when they’re grimy, the more effort it takes to clean them. And extra dishwashing effort means chipped nails. If you really just hate doing the dishes, try one of these four dishwashing hacks to cut your cleaning time.

A little extra polish is always a good thing. In this case, extra clear polish can be the difference between chipped “snap happy” red and a perfect “ballet slippers” pink manicure. You should seal the edges of your nails to protect them from water damage with an extra topcoat.

Quickly get your nails cold again. As soon as you’re done washing your dishes in hot, soapy water, immediately run your hands under cold water (as cold as you can stand it). Hold them in the water for ten seconds to re-harden the polish.

If you don't want to take any chances, bite the bullet and wear plastic gloves. They may not make a fashion statement, but they do form a barrier between the water and your manicure.

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