Jamie Schneider

mbg Beauty & Wellness Editor

By Jamie Schneider

mbg Beauty & Wellness Editor

Jamie Schneider is the Beauty & Wellness Editor at mindbodygreen. She has a B.A. in Organizational Studies and English from the University of Michigan, and her work has appeared in Coveteur, The Chill Times, and Wyld Skincare.

Image by Trinette Reed / Stocksy

June 8, 2023

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Every beauty professional has their nonnegotiable steps. In our series Like a Pro, we tap experts for the top three techniques they absolutely swear by. Here, you’ll hear from a variety of industry insiders on the fail-safe tricks they always keep in their back pockets. We’re all about simplifying your beauty regimen wherever you can, and sometimes the best routines are as easy as 1, 2, 3.


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Pedicures generally last longer than manicures…except in the summer. Whether you’re spending more time poolside or strutting around the city sandal-clad, chances are your pedi will chip away at what seems like warp speed. 

And call me dramatic, but is there anything worse than a cracked and frayed pedicure smack dab in the middle of open-toe season? (I realize a subpar polish game is not high on our world’s list of problems, but let a beauty gal stand on her soapbox!) Amy Lin, the founder of sundays, certainly agrees, which is why she arms us with her must-have tips for a chip-free pedi. Follow along to make your summer pedicure practically indestructible: 


Thoroughly clean the nail plate

Before you even pick up your polish du jour, make sure you thoroughly clean the nails and cuticles. “Exfoliate and push the cuticle area; this helps with applying [polish] more easily and smoothly,” Lin notes. 

You’ll also want to hydrate your toes with cuticle oil and hand cream (ideally one that absorbs quickly so you don’t have to deal with greasy fingers while you paint), but you don’t want any oils and butters lingering on the nail plate. 

“You really want to get any oil or lotion off the nails before painting, as this creates a barrier between your nail and the polish, so it does not properly adhere and will ultimately chip or peel,” Lin adds. “At our studios, we clean the nails two times before applying polish to remove excessive oil and lint,” she notes. 

A quick pass with an oil-free nail polish remover will do, or feel free to use a simple soap-and-water solution to clean the nail plate. Just remember to only wipe the nail surface itself, not the surrounding skin—you do want those rich lotions and oils to moisturize! 


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Set for at least 6 hours  

I personally love a good foot soak—so does Lin, who recently launched a heavenly Ancient Rituals Foot Soak, featuring an herbal mix of warm coconut milk, fresh cucumber, fresh ginger, and goji berries—but try to stick to a pre-pedicure ritual if you can. 

Says Lin, a proper pedicure (which includes a base coat, two coats of polish, and one top coat) takes around six hours to fully set, and you’ll want to avoid soaking your feet in water during that time. 

You’ll also want to avoid wearing tight shoes or encountering any textured surfaces that can potentially dent the polish while your toes are still vulnerable. “This will ensure a long-lasting, pristine pedicure,” she notes. After six hours, go ahead and wear your pointiest pair of heels, if you please. 

Just one summer caveat: “If you’re traveling to the beach, avoid soaking your feet for too long in saltwater, as this wears down the polish and can cause it to become dry and chip,” she adds.  

Here’s a tip you might have heard for overall polish longevity: Reapply your top coat every two to three days. “The top coat has two functions,” says Lin. First, it protects your nails from UV light, which can dull the polish over time. 

Second, “Nail polishes react to the air and eventually oxidize over time (which means the color changes),” she notes. “To preserve the vitality of the color, you’ll want to reapply the top coat every two to three days, as this will create a barrier to the elements and help prolong your pedicure color.” Slick on a high-quality lacquer—like sundays’ Protective Top Coat—and you’ll prolong the patent-leather shine. 


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The takeaway 

Follow Lin’s tips above, and you’ll easily give your pedi more staying power. Still, you shouldn’t leave the same polish shade on for more than three weeks, even if it does look immaculate. “The base coat might wear off, and the pigment might start to stain your nails,” Lin previously told us about taking a breather from polish. But until then, you can totally extend the life of your pedi polish—and FYI, these tips work just as well for manicures, too.