How to Fix Your Smudged Nail Polish Without Starting Over

August 09, 2022
Tembe Denton-Hurst
By: Tembe Denton-Hurst | by L'Oréal
7 Hacks to Fix Your Manicure Mishaps Without Starting Over

There’s nothing better than treating yourself to a fresh manicure. Even if the rest of your life may seem a little chaotic or disorganized (no judgment, adulting is hard), a brand new mani has the power to make you feel like you have your life just a little bit more together. At the same time, it can be incredibly frustrating to finish getting your nails done and notice a smudge, chip or nick as soon as you leave the salon. Do you go back in and get it completely re-done or do you just deal with it? Well, truth be told, neither. 

Here, we’re sharing a few different hacks that can help you salvage your manicure and make your nails look as good as new without having to start over. 

Apply a Fresh Coat

If you’ve smudged a fresh coat, gently push the polish back into place with the pad of your finger. Next, brush over the problem spot with a fresh coat of the nail color. If you nick a still-sticky nail after leaving the salon and don't have the same color at home, do the same thing as above, but use a generous swipe of clear polish, like Essie Gel Setter Top Coat to blend it in.

Trim Your Nails

If you just nicked the very tip of your nail, trim it with a nail clipper using as few snips as possible to hide the chips before sealing your nail with a layer of clear top coat.

Add Glitter

Disguise imperfections with a clear but glittery coat like Essie Expressie Holo FX. This will seal the nail to prevent further chips and cover up any existing issues, making it look as good as new. 

Make It an Accent Nail

Don’t let one little chip or nick get you down. Make that one nail an accent nail by either covering it with a complementing nail polish color or creating a little fun design. We recommend trying small polka dots or a single stripe.

Dab It in Nail Polish Remover

Fix any smudges using a very light hand and nail polish remover. Use a paper towel, cotton swab or the opposite finger, dip it in nail polish remover and then gently smooth out any smudges by gently tapping it out. This will allow the nail polish to spread out and smooth over the area. 

Only Paint Over the Chip 

If you don’t trust yourself to apply an entirely new coat over your mistakes, try only filling in the missing gaps with the same nail polish. An opaque polish that only requires one coat to seamlessly blend in, like the Essie Expressie Quick-Dry Nail Polish, is ideal for this hack. Doing this will make sure your manicure remains smooth and clean as opposed to bumpy or thick because you’ve applied one too many layers. 

Make It a French Manicure

If accent nails aren’t your thing and you prefer your manicure to look uniform, make it into a French manicure. The best part is that you can make the line as thick as you want to cover any chips that are either on the tips or a little towards the center.

Photo: Courtesy of L'Oréal

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