Thursday, June 3rd, 2010

How to Apply Nail Polish… the Temptalia Way

YES, yes! I finally filmed it!  I had several readers request a tutorial on how I paint my nails, and I’ve been promising to do one for awhile.  I’ve followed through, and now you can see the way I do it.  It’s just one method of applying polish to your nails, and it’s the one that I’ve found works for me.  I don’t know what the “right” way to do it is, and if you have a method that works for you, nothing wrong with that either :)

Products used:

Discussion and debate are highly encouraged, and we expect community members to participate respectfully. When asking a question, please check the FAQ section (above) for information about purchasing, price, dupes, and the like. If you have general feedback or need technical support, please contact us.

Comments that include advertisements, self-promotion, insults, etc. may be in violation of our comment policy and subject to deletion. Please see our comment policy for more information.

67 thoughts on “How to Apply Nail Polish… the Temptalia Way

  1. Kaylynrenee

    Nice wave at the end! Lol!

  2. meghan

    Thank you christine! I didn’t request this but I always admired painted nails! I usually have issues not going over the cuticle at the base of the nail so I will try staring up further and pushing back. Tonight I’m doing my nails with “read my palm” by sephora by opi! New color for me!

  3. Avatar of LU LNU

    Oh! Nice tutorial! :)
    I don’t usually paint my finger nails ever, but I get a pedicure quite often.

  4. Great video!

    Question – do you paint for swatches differently? Seems there’s part of the edges showing on the swatches, is that on purpose?

    • Yes, that’s on purpose — since I’m usually doing several in a sitting, it’s easier on my cuticles and to remove (without getting a bunch of residue elsewhere!) if I don’t go all the way to the cuticle.

  5. NIKKI

    i usually paint my right hand first because i’m right handed
    it’s easier for me to paint my left hand with slightly wet nails than painting my right hand with slightly wet nails on my left hand
    i don’t know if that made sense but it works for me:]
    i’m going to try your method of starting further away from the cuticle:]

  6. Roxanne

    Your nails are so nice! I’ve always had short, soft and peeling nails on my hands. Part of it is probably because I play guitar and piano, but my mom apparently also had bad nails until she was pregnant.

    • Thanks, Roxanne! I used to play the piano :) Not guitar… I can’t get the hang of it (though I never tried *that* hard!). It sounds like maybe it runs in the family!

  7. OH, NO you DIDN’T!!!!!! LOVE YOU LOVE YOU LOVE YOU LOVE YOU LOVE YOU LOVE YOU LOVE YOU LOVE YOU LOVE YOU LOVE YOU xoxoxoxoxoxoxo! ♥♥♥♥♥

    Thanks a million! ☺

  8. Abril

    I really really LOVED this video Christine! I’m becoming a fan of nail polishes, since I tried CHANEL’s! So this was really helpful! Thanks”

  9. GG

    I found it fascinating to see what order you painted your nails in. It’s one of those really instinctive things we all do differently. I start from the pinky, myself! I’m pretty good at polishing my nails, but I usually start midway up the nail *then* push back to the cuticle, rather than drag out and push back with the second stroke. I’ll try it your way, because a more troublesome and liquid polish will pool around the cuticle when I do it with my method.

    Great video tutorial! I’m an old time polish fiend, but it took me the longest time to get the hang of it and I wish I’d had a video tute when I was just starting.

    • I wonder what I used to do first. I know I start in the middle these days since I’m so used to swatching (I only swatch three fingers!), but I wish I could figure out what I used to do, haha.

      Thank you, GG! :)

  10. Rhia

    Wow you’re so good at this. and your nails are soo pretty. I have really wide nails so I need more than 3 swipes of the brush to get everything covered and I always get polish on my cuticle, but I’m going to try your way of painting it farther up and pushing back. ^.^

    • I hope it helps! I find pushing back gives the nail the coverage, but it doesn’t let the polish pool at all too close to the cuticle. I’m usually forgetful about polish, too, so I’ll often end up doing my nails *right* before I leave the house, and minimal cuticle coverage is vital, ha!

  11. H. Lee

    I am soooooo bad at painting my nails but I really want to practice more and get good at it. I have really fat fingers so I have big nails that’s pretty transparent too. They look so yicky :( I’d like to cover it with nail polish as often as possible but I can never wear bright colors because I work at a dental clinic. I think I’ll scare all the patients away :S

    Do you guys have any tips on how ti paint the right hand nicely if I’m right handed?
    Also, my nail polish gets “goupy” (is there such word) very quickly. Is there a way to prevent that or is their a good nail polish thinner you could recommend?

    THANKS

    • Hey!

      I don’t have any thinner recs, mostly because even if I notice a polish needs thinner, I don’t remember until the next time I use it… which is usually a long while away (and the cycle repeats, lol).

      Anyway, one reader mentioned doing the right hand first, then your left! I think practice will help a great deal – I used to be terrible at it, but I’ve just found that keeping at it has greatly improved my performance!

      • Diligent Shopper

        Thanks Christine.

        I sure need a lot of practice. I think my problem is I use the same nail polishes (rotate between 2-3 colors) all the time so they are “exposed” to air more often. Or when I shake it too much it creates are bubbles. :( Sigh…

    • GG

      Seche Restore! Seche Restore! That is all.

  12. Avatar of Kate Kate & Zena

    I love seeing how different people paint their nails different ways. I’m notoriously clumsy so I always have a little bit that ends on my skin. I just carefully peel it off when it dries.

    Even though I’m having an “I hate OPI moment,” I do like their natural base coat and Rapidry top coat. They work really well with my nails.

    If you’re really clumsy (like me)or have really unsteady hands, paint your pinkie first and work your way up to your thumb. Also, try putting your pinkie on the surface your working on to stabilize your hand.

  13. Omg! You did them so perfectly! I am a total klutz when it comes to applying nail polish. One trick I learned recently was to lightly coat the skin around the nails with Vaseline so that if you accidentally paint outside the lines (lol) it’ll be easier to clean up!

  14. Proximity

    Hey, what a great tutorial, I’m also going to try your method of dotting it, dragging it up and THEN pushing it back toward the cuticle :)

    A couple questions:
    Do you completely paint one hand and then do the other, or do you do both hands at the same time (like base coat on everything, then color on everything etc.) when you’re not making a tutorial?
    and How long do you wait for things like your base coat, or a coat of color to dry before you do the next coat (like color or topcoat)?

    I also use the Zoya color-lock system and I love it. Hurry Up Drops alone have saved me SO much time!

    • Let me know if it works for you! :)

      I usually paint all ten at once. I start on the right hand, move to my left hand. Repeat! For base coat, maybe a minute or less – usually by the time I’ve put it on all ten, I just go ahead with the color coats. For color, I probably wait between 2-5 minutes. I’m sooo not patient, so it’s hard for me to wait much longer! For top coat, I’ll wait 2-3 minutes, then do hurry up. No biggie on that, since it’s droplets, so it doesn’t tug or pull or leave brush strokes behind!

      • Proximity

        Thanks so much for answering :) I never wait long enough, especially in the in-between stages. I’m so impatient!
        I was painting my nails last night. Using your method of pushing it back towards the cuticle instead of starting at the base worked well for me especially when I use my right hand (I’m right handed) to paint my left nails. That’s when I usually mess up and get a lot of polish on my cuticles, and I got a lot less this time than usual, so thank you! It’s a great tip!
        It didn’t work as well for me on my other hand, but I think that’s just because I don’t really have any problems with the other hand, so modifying what already works well for me wasn’t as successful. I’ll probably try it a few more times and see if it catches on, but I’ll definitely be using it for my left hand!

        • I’m glad it works for one hand, lol! It did make me giggle a bit – the idea it works for one, but not the other! What’s your technique normally?

  15. livnzoe

    great video!!
    my fingers are always a bit messy after i painted them. but yours are totally clean! good job!
    i’ve seen that you’ve got lots of nail polishes, it would be great if you could do a video or some pictures with swatches of some of them..
    thank you

  16. Christelle

    Hi ! Thank you for this video.
    I’m usually not good with nails. So I have one question : how long do you wait between each coat of nail polish ? Because when I do my nails it always seems not to be dry enough.

  17. Steph

    Loved the video! Your nails always look so perfect, and I always have issues around the cuticle. I rarely paint my nails because I work at a coffee shop, but hopefully I will have perfect toes!

  18. paige

    You should try OPI Drip Dry. Instead of 10 minutes, nails will be try in less than a minute. Not kidding!

    • Zoya’s Hurry Up dries PRETTY fast, like it’s dry to the touch right away, but if you start moving around, typing, going to bed, you’ll get imprints still!

  19. Awesome. So how do you get a good pedicure? Other than my big toe, my toe nails are quite small and I always get nail polish on my skin which I hate. It doesn’t help that I’m not flexible enough to bring my toes right next to my face to make sure I “color within the lines.” I may have to just invest in one of those laps with a magnifying glass attached to it.

    • Same technique really, although I paint horizontally, LOL. Sometimes I just get it done, when I have time to spare. Last time I got one was because I had a two hour layover at an airport. Airport spa for the win!

  20. Lamps. I meant “lamps” not “laps.”

  21. Alma

    I always have problems with appyling nailpolish, because I have a problem with my nervous system, causing my hands to shake when I need to do precise things (like writing, or polishing my nails).

    I just did my nails with this technique, and it worked really well for me! Because I would start sort of half-way my nail, and then went down, I didn’t get any on my cuticles. Normally I have to clean up a lot, so this really is great.

    Thanks for the tutorial!

    BTW, the color is lovely!

    • I’m soooo happy it helped you, Alma! :) I have minor (used to be worse!) carpal tunnel, so my hands have a tough time staying 100% steady (though it sounds like yours probably shake more) — anyway, all that is to say I feel for you!

  22. Christina

    That was really helpful Christine- thanks a lot for this video! Next time I polish my nails I definitely will try your technique! I love this homepage! Greetings from Germany, Christina!

  23. Avatar of Amandine Hinahon

    Hey Christine !
    Nice video i’ll have to try it soon !
    I had a question about nails…
    when mine break they don’t just break off, they break in layers… I dunno how to explain it…
    those are thin layers but it’s kinda bothering me because you can see when it’s going to do that since it looks like the nail is broken.
    Do you know what could be the reason of it? and is there anything I can do against it?

    Thanks a lot !

  24. Beth

    Great video, your nails are gorgeous! Love that color, too.

    How long does it normally take for polish to be dry enough to not get “imprints”? Nail polish seems to never dry on my finger nails, even if I do only one very light coat, I’ll be getting imprints 24 hours later. What am I doing wrong??

    • Hey Beth,

      When I use Zoya’s, it seems like it dries pretty well within a few minutes, but then mostly dry in about 30-45 minutes. I can go to bed and not have major issues, but I usually try to give it 2-3 hours to avoid imprinting. I can go about my regular business after 10-15 minutes, I’d say – obviously not washing dishes or anything :P

  25. crystal

    this was so helpful thanks!

  26. Avatar of marie marielouise

    Hi Christine! Thanks for the tutorial! Just one question; do you ever use spray quick-dryers? I tend to use those a lot, and between almost every coat of polish I add. My favourite is one from Sally Hansen called ‘Shea Butter Rapid Finish’, but unfortunately I can’t buy it where I live. Got it while I was vacationing in NYC. How do you feel about those?
    Best regards,
    MarieLouise

  27. I do a completely different technique when I paint my nails! I learned from this really awesome nail artist..i put a big drop of polish in the center of my nail, bring it down to my cuticle, and then do the right and left sides of the nail. Then of course a few quick strokes over the top to even out the polish. If I did your method..omg, i’d screw it up so bad!

    I love your nail polish collection & For Audrey is one of my absolute favorite colors (I love Mint Candy Apple by Essie a little bit more, it goes well with my skin tone!) Awesome video, I definitely want that color lock system too :)

    • Your method seems really similar to me? Just starting from the center instead of closer to the bottom :) Glad you found one that works for you, Katie!

  28. Amna

    hi , luv it, how can i buy zoya products, i’m new to this website, can you please copy and paste the address bar (website) :) thanks :)

  29. Lark

    Yes, you paint them right! I do mine like that- three strokes -because a major piece in Bazaar or Vogue said to and suddenly the whole country had better manicures, lol! this was when I was senior in high school and constantly globbed up my nails. They checked with pro manicurists and beauty schools and better polish is made to flow on 3 stroke style.

    I want that Zoya kit. It’s like good make up brushes, better tools equal better application.

  30. I’ve heard that if your nail polish is becoming old or hardening, you can add a TINY bit of nail polish remover and shake in order to get it good as new! Does that actually work?