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It’s a question that’s plagued women for centuries (ok, slight exaggeration but who knows maybe Cleopatra had this issue) – why is it that nail polish lasts barely days on our fingernails but seemingly forever on our toenails? Well, wonder no more. According to Smith & Cult Beauty Ambassador Sarah Bland, it’s all about wear and tear.

“Polish lasts longer on toes than fingers because we use our hands as tools and they’re in water much more often than toes,” she tells Bustle. That’s all well and good, but how can we make our manicures go the distance? Here are her top tips.

1. Clean your nails

Before applying any varnish, Bland suggests using rubbing alcohol or pure acetone to clean the nails and nail beds. This will get rid of any oils that may prevent the polish drying properly, making your mani last longer. And, prior to applying any varnish, always apply a base coat.

2. Be generous with top coat

When you think your nail polish is about to chip, give it another go-over with top coat. “The best thing to do to extend your manicure is to add an extra top coat a couple of days into your mani,” says Bland. Extra top coat will extend the life of your varnish beyond those first few chip-prone days.

3. Paint outside the lines

Forget everything you learnt as a child about colouring within the lines! According to Bland, being a bit messy with your top coat will ensure it lasts longer – at least, if you apply some to the top edge of your nail. This will act as a sort of seal, preventing any big chips.

4. Stay hydrated

Not only will cuticle oil keep your nails hydrated, but it will make your polish last longer. Just make sure you only apply it after painting your nails, otherwise you’ll find it difficult to make your manicure last through the day.

How do you make your manicure or pedicure last longer? Share your tips with us in the comments below.