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Tough as nails

Celebrity nail pro Deborah Lippmann offers tips for the perfect workout-proof mani.

For the stylish set attending tonight's Costume Institute Gala at the Metropolitan Museum in Manhattan, today is not an autopilot kind of Monday. There are accessories to be chosen, fittings to be finalized and one last workout to be dominated. Who has time to sweat the proverbial small stuff — like, say, whether a set of kettlebell swings is going to destroy your polish. And yet, simply breaking a sweat at all will put nails in danger. “Any kind of excess moisture can shorten the longevity of a manicure,” explains Deborah Lippmann, nail guru and founder of her eponymous collection of nail, hand and foot products. Which isn't to say you should skip your workout (something we, as you might imagine, would never advise). Instead, be strategic: Lippmann identifies swimming and yoga as the most aggressive polish offenders, due to drying chlorine and constant movement respectively. Conversely, pilates and cycling are gentlest, she says. Here, Lippmann's tips for a mighty mani that can stand up to any exercise.

keep nails short

“If you're doing any type of heavy lifting you want a shorter nail, because when working with weights or kettle bells there’s always a chance that you can lose your grip and bend the nail backwards. Also, it’s a myth that square nails are stronger. If you want an almond-shaped nail, as long as you keep a wide enough area where free edge begins, I think nails are equally strong.”

brighten up

“Bright shades put you in a good mood, and get you amped to head to the gym for a good workout. My new neon mini lacquer set Run the World (Girls) definitely pumps you up if you don’t want to go to the gym.”

sanitize sparingly

"Be careful when using soap and hand sanitizer. You should apply it on the skin, but be careful not to put it on the nails, and don’t overuse. It can be really drying."

hydrate post-workout

“Any type of class or exercise that requires you to be on a wood floor is extremely rough on the hands. Try going into a steam room afterward to get moisture back into the body. At home, I do a deep hydrating treatment. Coat your hands with cuticle oil and my Rich Girl cuticle cream, then wrap them in a hot towel. Let the treatment seep into your pores for 5-10 minutes.”

stay buff

“If you’re doing intense training for a prolonged period of time, stick with a beautiful buffed nail. That's what I did for The Row Fall/Winter presentation and it was gorgeous. You can do a little shaping, exfoliating and buffing to give the nails a beautiful shine that looks like polish. It’s a quick way for your hands to look and feel clean.”