Why Does My Nail Polish Peel Off So Easily?

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Discover why your nail polish peels off so easily and how to prevent it

Painting your nails is something we all do; whether it’s to pass the time or for an evening out, we have all had to do an at-home manicure. An at-home manicure is something I do as a hobby or a nice relaxation activity.

However, what I hate happening is when you chip a nail not too long after doing your nails. One question that always gets asked a lot is why my nail polish peels off so easily.

There can be many reasons why your nail polish peels off easily; however, the main two reasons are that the nail polish is too thick or your nail hasn’t been prepped properly. 

In this post, I will explain why your nail polish peels off so easily, and I’ll be giving you five ways you can stop this from happening.

Why Does My Nail Polish Peel Off So Easily?

It’s hard to know each individual’s exact reason as each manicure may have different reasons, but two main reasons cause nail polish to peel off so easily.

If you find that these aren’t the reasons why your nail polish peeks off, then try the five ways down below to help stop your nail polish from peeling off so easily.

1. The layers of nail polish are too thick 

Nail polish that is applied too thick will peel off easily because it is harder for the nail polish to dry. If you are applying thick layers of nail polish on top of each other, it is more than likely that you will not leave enough time for each layer to dry, which means it’s easier for the nail polish to chip and crack.

Not only does thick nail polish mean it’s easier to peel off, but it’ll also leave you with a bumpy, uneven finish. An easy way to avoid using too much nail polish is to wipe one side of the brush on the neck of the bottle before you take it out; this way, it reduces the amount of nail polish you’re putting on your nail. 

2. You nail isn’t prepped properly 

Before you paint your nails, you need to make sure your nails have been appropriately prepped. Sometimes it is easy to forget about prepping the nail, or you might try shortcuts, but if you want your nails to be the best quality for the most extended amount of time, you need to make sure you are doing all the essential steps.

Ideally, it would help if you were making sure your cuticles are in good condition, dehydrating, priming, and using a base coat when you are doing your nails. If you are in a rush and don’t have the time for everything, make sure you use a dehydrator and base coat before applying your nail polish.

If you find that you a prepping the nail properly and your nail polish is still peeling, try buffing the nail before applying any layers, this gives your nail a rougher surface, which allows the layers to grip on to your nail better. This makes your nail polish adhere better to your nail, which should stop your nail polish from peeling easily.

Discover why your nail polish peels off so easily and how to prevent it

Five ways to stop your nail polish peeling off easily

These five tips are different ways to make your nails last longer and prevent them from peeling off easily. These are simple tips that help stop your nail polish peeling and help keep them in better quality and keep your natural nails protected as much as possible.

1. Use a nail dehydrator and a base coat

To help stop your nails from peeling off easily, it is important you prep your nail correctly, and using a nail dehydrator and a base coat will help your nails last longer.

A nail dehydrator removes excess oil and moisture from your nail bed, providing a rougher, matte surface, which allows the nail polish to grip on better to your natural nail.

A base coat will help the nail polish adhere better to your natural nail; it provides a tacky type layer that the nail polish can hold on to, which will help it last longer.

Applying these two products before your nail polish will help your manicure last longer in better quality; these steps mustn’t be missed as it does affect the way the nail polish applies to your nails.

2. Try avoiding hot water after doing your nails

After you do your nails and you let them dry, if you have a shower or wash the dishes in hot water, for example, this could affect your nails. Hot water causes your nail beds to expand, which means your nail polish will move with it.

When they go back to their normal size, it can cause your nail polish to chip or peel off. So to stop your nails peeling off easily, try not to immerse them in hot water after painting them, and on the flip side, avoid painting them straight after as your nail bed would have expanded, and the excess paint will cause them to crack and peel. 

Try to leave it about one to two hours before having contact with hot water to ensure they have had enough time to dry fully, and you get the best possible result. 

3. Apply thin layers

Applying nail polish in these layers will ensure that the nail polish dries properly. As we’ve seen earlier, thick nail polish is one of the most frequent reasons why your nail polish is peeling, so applying thin layers will prevent this from happening.

You can always apply more layers if needed, but you can’t remove layers without starting again, so start small and build it up. If you’re worried that your nail polish is looking streaky or uneven, apply another layer, and it’ll get evened out and look fuller. 

4. Allow time for each layer to dry

When doing your nails, you need to allow each layer to dry; this means the base coat, two layers of your chosen nail polish, and the topcoat. Each layer needs time to dry before applying the next layer to ensure that the polish has stuck to the nail properly.

To tell if the layer has dried properly, you should see the layer’s appearance has changed from a wet, tacky look to a glossy shine; you can also lightly tap the nail; if it creates a dent, it still needs time to dry.

5. Make sure your natural nail is dry

One thing that causes nails to lift or peel is the moisture and oil on your natural nail. Now some oil is natural and hard to see, and that’s why you need to use a dehydrator, but there is a lot of excess oil you are getting from products you may be using.

When you are doing your nails, do not use any cuticle oils or moisturisers before applying the nail polish; otherwise, it will not stick, and it will peel off in no time. If you want to apply oils to your nails and hands, that’s fine; just make sure to do it once your nails are finished and thoroughly dried. 


I hope this has been helpful, and you have a clearer reason why your nail polish peels off so easily, the five ways you can stop your nail polish peeling are key ways to give you the best quality manicure possible. 

If these tips don’t work, it may be worth looking at the products you are using; they may not be the best quality, or they may need other products to dry; for example, gel nail polish needs to be cured under a light for it to dry properly. 

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