Skip to content

10 Common Nail Mistakes to Avoid

When it comes to nail care, avoiding common mistakes is crucial for maintaining healthy and beautiful nails. In this list, we highlight 10 key mistakes to steer clear of to prevent damage and promote nail health. From incorrect nail trimming techniques to overusing gel polish, these common errors can lead to weak, brittle nails and even infections. By being aware of these pitfalls and following our tips on how to avoid them, you can nurture strong, stunning nails that will be the envy of all.

Key Takeaways:

  • Using old or expired products: Avoid using nail polish or other nail products that are past their expiry date as they can lead to poor application and results.
  • Skipping base coat: Always apply a base coat before nail polish to protect your nails from discolouration and damage.
  • Not allowing enough drying time: Make sure to allow each layer of nail polish to dry completely before applying the next layer to prevent smudging and smearing.

Ignoring Base Coat

When it comes to painting your nails, one of the most common mistakes people make is ignoring the base coat. Many think it’s an unnecessary step, but using a base coat is essential for maintaining the health of your nails and ensuring your manicure lasts longer.

Causes staining

Not using a base coat can lead to staining on your nails, especially if you’re using dark or vibrant nail polish colours. The pigments in the nail polish can seep into your nails, leaving them discoloured and yellowed. This can be difficult to get rid of and may require extra effort to restore your nails to their natural colour.

Furthermore, skipping the base coat can weaken the nail plate, making your nails more susceptible to damage and breakage. Over time, this can result in brittle and unhealthy nails that are prone to splitting. To maintain strong and healthy nails, it’s crucial to always use a base coat before applying nail polish.

Cutting Cuticles

One common nail mistake to avoid is cutting cuticles. Cuticles play a vital role in protecting the nail bed from bacteria and fungi, so it is important not to remove them completely. Here are some reasons why you should avoid cutting your cuticles:

Allows infections

When you cut your cuticles, you create small openings where bacteria and fungi can enter, leading to infections. Removing cuticles increases the risk of developing painful and unsightly infections that can be difficult to treat. It’s important to keep cuticles intact to maintain the natural barrier that protects your nails from harmful microorganisms.

By avoiding cutting your cuticles, you are helping to prevent potential infections that can cause discomfort and affect the overall health of your nails. It’s best to push back the cuticles gently after a warm shower or soak rather than cutting them to maintain nail health.

Promotes hangnails

Another issue that arises from cutting cuticles is the promotion of hangnails. When you trim or cut your cuticles, you increase the likelihood of developing painful hangnails. Hangnails occur when the skin around the nail becomes dry and splits, leading to irritation and discomfort.

It’s essential to avoid cutting your cuticles to prevent the formation of hangnails. Instead, opt for gently pushing back the cuticles to maintain nail health and prevent these painful skin issues. Do not forget, healthy cuticles contribute to strong and beautiful nails.

10 common nail mistakes to avoid dsl | newinbeauty-studios | Kingston beauty Salon

Filing Nails Incorrectly

When it comes to achieving beautiful nails, filing them correctly is crucial. Many people unknowingly make mistakes when it comes to filing their nails, which can lead to various issues – from breakage to damaging the nail bed. In this chapter, we will discuss the common nail mistakes to avoid when filing your nails.

Causes breakage

One of the common mistakes people make when filing their nails is filing back and forth in a sawing motion. This can weaken the nails and cause them to break easily. It’s important to file in one direction only, preferably from the sides towards the centre, to maintain nail strength and prevent breakage.

Using a coarse nail file or applying too much pressure while filing can also lead to breakage. Opt for a fine-grit nail file and gently file the nail in long, sweeping motions to avoid causing damage.

Damages nail bed

Filing nails incorrectly can not only affect the nails themselves but also the delicate nail bed. When filing too aggressively or using a rough nail file, you can inadvertently damage the nail bed, leading to pain and potential infection.

It’s essential to be gentle and precise when filing your nails to avoid damaging the nail bed. Ensure you use a gentle touch and only file the free edge of the nail, avoiding the surrounding skin and cuticles.

Improper filing techniques can result in long-term damage to the nail bed, affecting the growth and health of your nails. Always take care when filing your nails to maintain their strength and appearance.

Overusing Nail Polish Remover

One common nail mistake to avoid is overusing nail polish remover. While it is essential for removing nail polish, excessive use can have negative effects on the health and appearance of your nails.

Dries out nails

Overusing nail polish remover can lead to dry and brittle nails. The acetone or other harsh chemicals in the remover strip the nails of their natural oils, leaving them vulnerable to breakage and damage. Repeated exposure to these chemicals can result in severely dehydrated nails that are prone to splitting and peeling.

Additionally, frequent use of nail polish remover can weaken the nail structure over time, making them more susceptible to cracks and chips. It is important to give your nails time to recover and replenish their moisture after using nail polish remover.

Weakens nail structure

Overusing nail polish remover not only dries out nails but also weakens the overall nail structure. The harsh ingredients in the remover can break down the keratin proteins in the nails, leading to thin and fragile nail conditions.

Regular exposure to these damaging chemicals can result in long-term nail damage, making it important to limit the use of nail polish remover and opt for gentler, acetone-free formulas when possible.

Skipping Top Coat

For a flawless manicure that lasts, never skip the top coat! Top coat is an essential final step in your nail care routine that should not be overlooked. By avoiding this crucial step, you are setting your nails up for various issues that could have been easily prevented.

Reduces polish longevity

Skipping the top coat can significantly reduce the longevity of your nail polish. Your nail colour is more prone to chipping, peeling, and fading without a protective top coat layer. This means you’ll find yourself needing to touch up your nails more frequently, leading to increased maintenance and potentially damaging your nails in the process.

By applying a top coat, you create a barrier that helps seal in your nail polish, extending its wear time and keeping it looking fresh for longer. This simple step can make a big difference in how long your manicure lasts and how good your nails look over time.

No gloss finish

Not using a top coat also means missing out on achieving that glossy finish that makes your nails look professionally done. A top coat adds shine and depth to your nail colour, creating a polished and sophisticated look that is hard to achieve with just nail polish alone.

When you choose to skip the top coat, you are essentially settling for a lacklustre finish that does not showcase your nail colour to its full potential. Don’t let your beautiful manicure go unnoticed because of a missing top coat.

Using Nails as Tools

When it comes to our nails, one of the most common mistakes we make is using them as tools. Whether it’s opening a can, scratching off a sticker, or tightening a screw, our nails can easily get damaged when they are not treated with care.

Causes Chipping

One of the main problems that arise from using nails as tools is chipping. When we use our nails to pry open objects or scrape off materials, we put a lot of pressure on them, causing the nails to weaken and eventually chip. To avoid this, always remember to use the appropriate tools for the task at hand instead of relying on your nails.

Breaks nails

Another common issue resulting from using nails as tools is nail breakage. Our nails are not designed to withstand the same level of force that a proper tool can provide, so using them for tasks like opening containers or pulling out staples can easily lead to breakage. It is important to treat our nails delicately to prevent breakage and promote healthy nail growth.

Note, using your nails as tools may seem convenient at the time, but it can cause long-term damage and weaken your nails. By making a conscious effort to avoid using them for tasks they are not designed for, you can maintain strong and healthy nails.

Applying Thick Polish Layers

When it comes to nail polish application, one of the most common mistakes to avoid is applying thick layers of polish. While it might seem like a time-saving technique, it can actually lead to various issues that can affect the overall look and longevity of your manicure.

Causes smudging

Applying thick layers of nail polish can often result in smudging, especially if the layers are not given enough time to dry properly. When the layers are too thick, the polish takes longer to dry, making it more prone to getting smudged or imprinted, ruining the finish of your manicure. To avoid smudging, it’s important to apply thin, even layers of nail polish and allow each layer to dry completely before applying the next one.

Takes longer drying

Another downside of applying thick layers of nail polish is that it can significantly increase the drying time. Thick layers of polish trap moisture between them, preventing the solvents in the polish from evaporating efficiently. As a result, the manicure takes much longer to dry completely, increasing the risk of smudges, dents, or even ruining the entire manicure if not handled carefully during the drying process.

For a quicker and more professional-looking manicure, always opt for thin, even layers of nail polish. This not only ensures a smoother application but also helps in faster drying, ultimately giving you a flawless and long-lasting manicure.

10 common nail mistakes to avoid odg | newinbeauty-studios | Kingston beauty Salon

Overlooking Nail Health

When it comes to nail care, many individuals focus solely on aesthetics, forgetting the importance of nail health. Overlooking nail health can lead to various problems, including infections, brittleness, and discolouration. To maintain healthy nails, it is crucial to address underlying issues and prioritise their overall well-being.

Neglects underlying problems

One common mistake many people make is neglecting underlying problems that can affect the health of their nails. Conditions such as fungal infections, vitamin deficiencies, and hormonal imbalances can manifest through changes in the nails. Ignoring these symptoms can exacerbate the issues and lead to more severe complications.

Impairs nail strength

Another critical aspect of nail health is maintaining their strength. We often unknowingly impair the strength of our nails through our daily activities, like using harsh chemicals without protection, excessive filing, or peeling off gel polish. Weak nails are more prone to breakage and damage, making it essential to take proactive steps to improve their strength and resilience.

It is essential to avoid habits that weaken the nails and incorporate practices that promote their health and vitality. By paying attention to the signs of distress and taking necessary precautions, you can prevent long-term damage and enjoy strong, beautiful nails.

Frequent Use of Acrylics/Gels

Many nail enthusiasts love the look of acrylics or gels for their long-lasting and durable finish. However, frequent use of these artificial nail enhancements can lead to various issues that are important to be aware of.

Damages natural nail

The regular application and removal of acrylics or gels can weaken the natural nail bed, leading to brittleness, peeling, and breakage. The chemicals and filing involved in the process can strip the nails of their natural oils and nutrients, causing them to become thin and fragile.

It is essential to give your nails a break from acrylics or gels every few weeks to allow them to recover and strengthen. Proper nail care, like moisturising regularly and using strengthening treatments, can also help mitigate the damage caused by these artificial enhancements.

Leads to thinning

Repeated application of acrylics or gels can result in the thinning of the natural nail as they are constantly covered and unable to breathe. This thinning can make the nails more susceptible to damage and can take a long time to grow back to their original strength.

It is crucial to be mindful of how often you are applying acrylics or gels and to give your nails the opportunity to regenerate and strengthen. Opting for a healthier alternative like regular manicures with strengthening polishes can help maintain the natural strength of your nails.

Not Allowing Nails to Breathe

In the quest for beautiful and long-lasting nails, it’s crucial not to overlook the importance of allowing your nails to breathe. Constantly applying nail polish without giving your nails a break can lead to several issues that can affect the health and appearance of your nails.

Reduces nail quality

Not allowing your nails to breathe can significantly reduce their quality over time. When nails are constantly covered with polish, they are unable to absorb moisture and essential nutrients from the air, leading to dryness and brittleness. This can result in weak, easily breakable nails that are more prone to damage.

Additionally, depriving your nails of oxygen can hinder the natural growth process, causing them to become thin and more fragile. It’s essential to give your nails regular breaks from polish to maintain their strength and overall health.

Causes discolouration

Another common issue that arises from not allowing your nails to breathe is discolouration. Continuous use of dark or pigmented nail polishes, especially without breaks, can cause the nails to turn yellow or develop stains. This can be unsightly and challenging to correct, detracting from the overall appearance of your nails.

It is important to let your nails rest and recover without any polish to prevent discolouration and allow them to return to their natural, healthy state. Providing this breathing space for your nails is essential for maintaining their appearance and overall well-being.

10 common nail mistakes to avoid ejv | newinbeauty-studios | Kingston beauty Salon

10 Common Nail Mistakes to Avoid

When it comes to achieving the perfect DIY manicure, avoiding common nail mistakes is essential. From skipping base coat to cutting cuticles too aggressively, these errors can lead to damaged nails and a less-than-perfect finish. By following the right techniques and taking the time to care for your nails properly, you can achieve salon-worthy results at home. Find more tips on avoiding these mistakes in the article 10 Mistakes To Avoid When Doing A DIY Manicure. Recall, practice makes perfect, so take your time and enjoy the process of pampering your nails for a long-lasting, beautiful manicure!


Q: What is the first common nail mistake to avoid?

A: Not cleaning your nails before applying nail polish can lead to uneven application and shorter wear time.

Q: How can improper nail filing be detrimental to your nail health?

A: Filing your nails in a back-and-forth motion can cause nail splitting and weakening. Always file in one direction.

Q: Why is it important to avoid cutting your cuticles?

A: Cuticles act as a barrier to prevent infection. Cutting them can lead to painful nail infections.

Q: What should you do to prevent nails from becoming weak and brittle?

A: Avoid using harsh nail polish removers containing acetone, as they can strip the nails of natural oils.

Q: Why is it essential to give your nails a break from nail polish?

A: Constantly wearing nail polish without breaks can cause discolouration and weakening of the nails.

Q: How can using old or expired nail products affect your nails?

A: Old or expired nail products can harbour bacteria, leading to nail infections and other health issues.

Q: What is the best way to prevent chipped nails?

A: Apply a top coat regularly to seal the nail polish and prevent chipping, extending the lifespan of your manicure.