If you didn't pack a nail file, use the striking strip of a matchbook to fix a small chip. Lightly move it in one direction (away from your nail) until you don't see the chip.
"Where polish is chipped, it's raised off of the nail, and painting straight over that creates a mess," says manicurist Elle. Smooth the chip by gently filing it or by tapping a little nail-polish remover, like Zoya Remove Plus Nail Polish Remover 3-in-1 Formula, over just the crack in your polish. It flattens the surface enough that you can "paint over it without making the polish look lumpy," says Elle.
Painting the entire nail with a fresh coat of polish looks sloppy. Instead, wipe off the brush on the inner rim of the bottle and just dab a little color over the chip. "Give it a minute to dry and then paint the entire nail with topcoat to hide any bumps," says manicurist Madeline Poole.
Hide chips with a colorful French manicure, using a polish that's in the same color family as the one you're wearing (pink and coral, indigo and teal). Or cover the top half of each nail for a color-blocked design, says Poole.
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No matter how careful you are, polish chips. Here's how to fix it quickly, sans pro manicurist.