Taking good care of your nails can prevent a lot of problems, from changes in color to brittleness, which is why it’s important to avoid a few bad nail habits, particularly if you keep them covered with polish or acrylics most of the time.

Find out which bad ideas to avoid when it comes to your nails, so you can make sure they’ll stay healthy and look great, even without any polish. From skipping important steps in the manicure process to getting rough when you file them or remove polish or fake nails, here are the habits that can threaten your nails.

1. Skipping the Base Coat

Even if you’re going for a subtle shade, the base coat is very important to the end result. It doesn’t just protect your nails from staining, it can also help the polish adhere better to your nails. If you skip it, you risk yellowing your nails, and you’ll notice chips and other issues with the polish sooner.

2. Not Cleaning Your Nails Before Polish

If you start painting your nails right after you’ve moisturized your hands with lotion, you’re making a big mistake. It’s one of the bad nail habits that will also effect the time your manicure looks flawless, because any moisturizer or lotion acts as a barrier between your nails and polish, base coats and other nail products. Use a little nail polish remover to make sure they’re completely oil free before applying any polish or coat.

3. Skipping the Top Coat

Forgetting about the top coat can also be damaging to your manicure and your nails. A good top coat doesn’t just extend the life of the polish, it can also help protect your nails. Once you’re done applying it on top, run the brush over the free edge of your nail to keep it stronger and reduce the risk of cracking.

Bad Nail Habits To Break

4. Messing with Your Cuticles

One of the most damaging bad nail habits, picking at your cuticles can increase the risk of infection. Don’t cut your cuticles. Opt for gentle pushing them back with a blunt and soft tool. You should also stop picking at the skin around your nails. Opt for massaging cuticle oil instead of damaging your cuticles by picking at them or biting them.

5. Going to Far with Buffing and Filing

Using your nail file like a saw is damaging, and buffing can also get unhealthy for your nails. For both you should be gentle, and only do it in a single direction, not back and forth. Filing your nails too harshly can increase the risk of breaks, while buffing will also make them weaker. They can both lead to bending, cracking and splitting, so use them with caution.

More: Manicure and Pedicure Mistakes

6. Using Quick Drying Solutions

Being in a hurry can definitely lead to one of the bad nail habits, since you can be tempted to use quick-dry polishes or sprays that decrease the drying time. They usually contain acetone which causes cause chipping and even peeling, so avoid any product with acetone that’s not nail polish remover. Use cuticle oil instead to protect your nails while they dry. UV ray lamps can also be dangerous when used too often.

Worst Nail Care Mistakes

7. Picking Off Polish

Once you get the first chip in your nail polish, you can be tempted to start picking all of it off. However, that can damage the top layer of the nail, so you’re much better off using polish remover to remove all of it instead of trying to do it yourself.

8. Rushing Removal

Avoid one of the bad nail habits and don’t rush the removal process for acrylic nails or gels. Stick to the instructions and soak your hands before using polish remover. Getting rough in an attempt to save time will only damage your nails.

See also: Life-Changing Nail Hacks

9. Avoid Hot Water

You should be wary of water temperatures, particularly in the first 6-8 hours after applying polish. It can increase the likelihood of polish coming off, which can lead to picking or using products with acetone to fix the problem.

10. Biting Your Nails

One of the most obvious bad nail habits, biting your nails and cuticles has to stop if you want healthy and beautiful nails. Identify the triggers that lead you to it and replace this habit with something less destructive. Take care of your nails, and make sure your manicure looks great, so you’ll be less likely to ruin it with nail biting.