Must-know tricks for keeping your mani-pedi lasting longer

Summer fun at the beach or poolside requires a good pedicure to get those toes looking their best. And after spending the time and money to make them look good, invest in the extra effort to keep them looking good for as long as possible.

First and foremost, check for sanitary conditions within the salon. Floors should be clean, and tables should be neat and tidy. The risk of contracting Hepatitis B or MRSA greatly increases when proper disinfecting protocol is not closely followed. And in severe cases, a fungal infection results in the loss of a nail altogether so it's well worth your time to take a moment to notice the conditions of the salon, according to the American Academy of Dermatology.

The pedicure foot baths and filters should be thoroughly disinfected before you use them. When in doubt, don't be afraid to ask the nail technician about their protocol for cleaning tools and equipment. Make sure no dirty tools are about to be used on your hands or feet, and see that your technician washes his or her hands before beginning with your treatment. And if you enjoy regular appointments, consider investing in your own set of tools to bring with you to each session.

Although it's tempting, don't shave your lower legs at least 24 hours prior to getting a pedicure. A seemingly insignificant nick increases your chance of an infection from the foot bath. Best not to risk it and save the shave for afterward.

Women's Health recommends using pure acetone to wipe toenails and fingernails clean prior to applying polish in order to prime the nails and get rid of any oils or residue. And although a relaxing pre-soak feels heavenly, it might not be the best thing before a pedicure or manicure. Water makes the nails initially expand but they shrink to normal when dried, which may result in premature chipping and cracking of the polish.

Clear your schedule for the remainder of the day following a manicure or pedicure appointment. That same afternoon is most certainly not the time to do a little gardening in the yard or a massive cleaning project in the basement. According to Ellen Freeman of The Fashion Spot, polish takes 12 to 24 hours to fully dry so take it easy for the rest of the day.

"During that 12-hour window, heat will reverse the polish hardening process—so avoid showering, hot tubs, saunas and hot yoga class," Freeman says.

It's wise to steer clear of the pool during this window as well, she adds, to avoid the effects of harsh chlorine or risk scraping a freshly painted nail on the bottom.

Basecoats give the polish something to cling to, while a topcoat provides a protective barrier, Freeman says. Because the average topcoat will start to wear off after a couple of days, reapply a clear topcoat every second day after a manicure or pedicure.

Summer months and warm weather bring out the open-toed shoes and flip-flops with which to show off one's feet but these types of footwear can result in dry, dirty toes. Using a pumice stone in the shower removes dead skin from the feet, and lotion applied immediately after a bath or shower helps seal in moisture. Rubbing cuticle oil into the cuticles does wonders to soften things up, resulting in a fresh-from-the-salon appearance.

According to Freeman, it's not unheard of for nail salons to add thinners to nail polish, thus weakening the nails and making them more brittle. Don't be shy about bringing your favorite polish from home with you into the salon or asking for your technician to open a new bottle. Also, consider buying a bottle of what they use so you can do quick and easy touch-ups at home.

Resist the urge to soak your hands with sanitizer. Your need to kill germs can mean the premature death of a gorgeous manicure due to the drying nature of the alcohol. And if you can't talk someone into doing the dishes for you, use rubber gloves to do the job yourself. Spread a thin layer of petroleum jelly on the entire nail bed before putting them on for extra protection, according to Shape.

With just a little effort, your hands and feet will stay looking fabulous long after leaving the salon.

Try this suggestion from Women's Health:

Moisturize your feet with a bit of warmed lotion. Put about five pumps' worth of lotion (or about three tablespoons of body butter or cream) in a microwaveable glass container. Cover and microwave for five to 10 seconds. Quickly spread over your feet to enjoy maximum softness.