Why Does My Nail Polish Peel Off?

There is nothing worse than getting a manicure or taking the time to paint your nails yourself, just to have the polish peel off in the next few days. Especially when you don’t know why or how to fix it.

In this article, we will be explaining the most common reasons for nail polish peeling off of your nails.

We will also be sharing a few nail polish hacks that will help you to prevent the peeling from happening, or how to fix nail polish if it has already happened.

What This Article Covers:

The Reason Why Nail Polish Peels Off And How To Prevent This From Happening

There are numerous reasons why your nail polish may peel off, especially gel nail polish, and many of them are similar reasons why nail polish cracks. 

Below, we will be discussing what these reasons are, as well as how to make your nail polish last longer by preventing these occurrences from happening. 

Nail Polish Has Been Applied Too Thick 

When too many nail polish coats have been applied, or the polish hasn't had the chance to dry in between coats, it can become too thick and can start to peel.

When applying nail polish, it is almost always necessary to apply a few coats. If the coats that you apply with gel nail polish are too thick, it cannot cure and bond correctly. 

The nail polish usually takes extremely long to dry, and as a result, you end up putting a new coat on before the previous one has had a chance to dry properly.

To prevent this from happening, apply thin layers of polish and allow enough time for the coat to dry before applying the next one. 

Your Nails Weren’t Properly Prepared

This goes for the nails themselves, as well as the cuticles. 

In terms of your cuticles, if they aren’t properly pushed back or trimmed, it can create a ledge. This ledge makes it easy for the nail polish to lift off of.

To prevent this, make sure you pay close attention to the cuticles, and that they are trimmed and pushed back.

In terms of the nails, they need to be clean and dehydrated properly for the polish to last. 

If your nails have too much moisture or oil on them, the polish peels off much sooner than it should. 

To prevent this, you can try cleaning your nails with alcohol pads or nail polish remover before applying the polish.

You can also try applying a base coat or buffing your nails first. Both of these add some texture to your nails and allow for the nail polish to grip onto the nails more easily. 

Using Poor Quality Nail Polish

Old Nail Polish

If you use a nail polish that is old and slightly dried, thick, and tacky, it might not adhere to the nails properly, and start to peel soon after application. 

In order to prevent this from happening, you need to know how to tell if nail polish is old and won’t be great for use.

Once you have established this, there are ways you can revive it before you apply it, and this should stop it from peeling. 

Firstly, you can add some nail polish remover or acetone to it and give it a good shake. This will help to thin it out.

If the nail polish is not super thick, you can try rubbing the bottle between the palms of your hands to try and loosen up the polish.

The last thing you can try is to run the bottle under hot water for a few minutes and see if that helps.

Subpar Nail Polish

If you use poor-quality nail polish, it will most likely peel quite soon.

To avoid this, you should invest in the best long-lasting nail polish that you can find (and afford).

Using quality nail polish is also the best solution on how to keep white nail polish from turning yellow.

At ORLY, we offer the best, high-quality nail polish and gel polish that won’t peel before you’re ready.

why does my gel nail polish peel off

UV Lamp Didn’t Dry The Nails Properly

If your nails aren’t cured properly, it can cause the polish to peel off. One of the best ways to tell that it hasn’t cured properly is if you have bubbly nail polish after using the UV lamp.

Incorrect curing usually happens if the nail polish is applied too thick, or if the bulbs on the lamp need to be changed.

To ensure proper curing and prevent the polish from peeling off, make sure that you apply the nail polish in thin layers and that you change the lamp’s bulbs approximately every three months.

A Chip That Wasn’t Correctly Fixed

If you chip your nail polish, or your nail itself, and just leave it, this can cause the gel seal to be broken. If this seal is broken, it allows in air, and can very often lead to the polish peeling off.

To prevent this from happening, make sure that you know how to fix chipped gel nail polish.

The process to fix it is to file down the area of the chip so that it becomes smooth and flat against your nail, and then seal it with a clear topcoat.

This should make sure that the seal remains intact, and that the nail polish doesn’t start to peel at the tip.

You need to be careful when fixing issues with your nail polish, such as how to remove hair dye from nail polish, in order to make sure no other issues arise.

Cutting or Filing Gel Nails

If you’ve had a manicure on for a few weeks, it’s very normal to get annoyed with the long length of them and wonder “Can I cut my nails with gel polish on them?” or “Can I file my nails with gel polish?

This is one of the worst things you can do for gel nail polish. If you do, it will break the seal, and can lead to the gel peeling off of your fingers.

To ensure that this doesn’t happen, try to stay away from cutting or filing them, and only do it once the gel polish is off.

If you know you are someone who gets annoyed with long nails, make sure that you start with your nails very short, so that when they grow out they don’t end up being too long.

Alternatively, take the gel polish off after two weeks or so, before your nails get too long and unbearable. 

why does my nail polish peel off so easily

How To Fix Gel Nail Polish If It Has Already Started Peeling

The first thing you need to be sure of is that you don't pick at it. 

If it is just a small piece near the corner of your nail that has started to peel, the best thing to do would be to clip the piece off with nail clippers. 

After that, try to file the edge down so it is smooth against your nail. Try to find a similar color to your manicure and paint over just the spot that peeled. After it has dried, paint over the whole nail. 

Prevention Is Better Than Cure

So although it is possible to fix nail polish once it has started peeling, it is much better to prevent this from happening at all. 

Rather take extra care before painting your nails to ensure that peeling won’t happen and that you have a beautiful, long-lasting manicure.  

It’s best to buy high-quality nail polish or gel polish to get you started off on the right foot.  

Did you enjoy reading our blog? Then consider checking other guides: