Tuesday, February 19th, 2013

Beauty Discovered

Makeup & Beauty Tips on How to Apply Nail Polish

Share your best tips and tricks for applying nail polish beautifully!  Feel free to share your experiences, how you mastered techniques, or what you struggle with.

Temptalia’s Tips

  1. If you regularly use hand creams/lotions, make sure to wash hands prior to applying, as the moisturizer on the nail can interfere with application.
  2. Roll the bottle, don’t shake, to avoid bubbling.
  3. Apply one coat that’s not too thin or too thick, and then let it dry before applying the second coat.

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40 thoughts on “How to Apply Nail Polish – Tips & Tricks

  1. Yasmin

    My friend swears by this, after she applies nail polish to her fingers, she sticks her fingertips into a bowl of ice cold water, she claims that it hardens the nail polish and dries it more faster than letting it air dry.

  2. I always keep a couple of baby buds/q-tips handy with a bottle of nail varnish remover so that when I manage to colour outside the lines I can take care of it quickly. (So it might happen more than I like…)

    Alternatively, I leave it over night if I’m doing my nails the night before and wash my hair extra vigorously in the shower – brings the extra right off leaving nice neat nails :-)

  3. Kathleen C

    I would say to use a good base coat. I love Orly’s Rubberized. I agree with letting the coats dry (although I will admit I am more of a slap ’em all on and let Seche Vite do the drying). I have found it is extra important to let the layers dry with 5-free polishes. Brands like Zoya will be wet underneath but your top coat can be dry.

    Buffing the nails is nice but do not over do it as it’ll lead to thin nails. Use sharp clippers and nail files that aren’t worn down. I prefer to file my nails at every polish change a little opposed to clipping once every other week or so. I feel clipping, no matter how careful I am, can lead to easier breakage for me.

    Lastly, be careful with your nails/hands. Wear gloves when cleaning. Try not to type with your nails or pick things up with your nails. Your nails are not tools.

    • Jennifer Pham

      Nails are tools . . . otherwise why do we have em? But I get what you mean, lol. They shouldn’t be if you can avoid it

    • Magdalena

      Actually: yes, nails are tools. All animals use them as such. Naturally, they might break if you do, but sometimes, I feel there should be a limit to how much we constrict ourselves for the sake of beauty. Wouldn’t you agree?

  4. AnGeLwInGz

    Allow enough dry time when painting your nails. Don’t do it 1/2 hour before you go to sleep or you will wake up with pillow marks on your nail polish and nail polish marks on your pillow!

    • Janelle

      OMG I do this so much! I think it is dry and end up with little xx’s on my nails from the sheets. The polish doesnt get on the sheets, but it indents the polish. I need to make sure that I allow the bottom coat to dry before I put on the next coat :)

  5. Number 2 is a good tip, never thought of that. I always shake. My best tip would probably be to take your time to let your nails dry. Something I rarely do 😉 I always end up trying to grab something from my closet or trying to have a bite to eat while waiting for my nail polish to try, only to hit something and ruin the whole mani 😉

  6. JCz

    I use Ulta’s flat eyeliner brush to clean up the cuticles, and I try to start the polish just above my cuticles because I find that if the polish floods the cuticles it’s really difficult to clean up well.
    I use CND sticky coat and I really like Butter London’s PD Quick fast dry top coat – it doesn’t cause shrinkage and the shine is unreal. There’s no way I’m waiting for polish to dry on its own.
    I wrap the tips too – I get a good 4-5 days from a manicure with only minor tip wear in most cases.

  7. Emily

    Don’t blow on them! So many of my friends do this to help them dry, but all it does is cause bubbles. Use drying drops or dunk your nails in ice water if you need them to dry more quickly.

  8. Lindsey

    This is the method I use which a friend of mine turned me onto a few months ago. It SOUNDS like a lot of coats BUT it really doesn’t feel or look thick and your polish lasts forever and it actually dries pretty fast as the top coats speed along the drying process.

    1) use nail polish remover on nails to remove old polish OR lotion, natural oils from your body, etc.
    2) apply basecoat (I use Butter London nail foundation)
    3) apply nail polish
    4) apply a thin layer of fast dry top coat—-this is the super important part! (I use Out the Door fast dry top coat)
    5) apply second coat of nail polish. If you need a third coat of nail color, apply another layer of fast dry top coat in between.
    6) apply a final top coat (I use Seche Vite for the final top coat)

  9. Dinitchka

    One thing that I ALWAYS do is use the restroom before I start to polish. It never fails the urge to tinkle while doing or after doing nails. LOL! I also keep a glass of water or a drink handy, just in case I get parched. I normally do my nails about an hour before bed (I use nail polish dryers). Currently I am using Seche Ultra-V (UV cureable topcoat), which I am in LOVE with. If you use a chunky glitter or do clingfilm mani, I strongly urge you to use a regular top coat and then the Seche Ultra-V.

    • Gena

      What kind of UV light do you need to cure that? Does it last longer? Can you apply it over any kind of polish? Also, is the UV light readily available, as in affordably priced and easy to find, or do I have to be a pro to get it?
      Sorry for all of the Q’s…I LOVE a fresh mani, but it seems like no matter how careful I am, and what base and topcoats I use, it’s ruined by the end of the day! :(

      • Dinitchka

        @ Gena. No worries about the q’s :)

        I use an ASP UV Lamp bought at Sally’s. Currently $69.99 and with card $62.99 (use a coupon and it’s even cheaper). Here is the link (Christine if the link is not allowed, please remove. TY!) … http://www.sallybeauty.com/uv-lamp/SBS-156500,default,pd.html?cm_vc=SEARCH

        It was on sale and I think I paid around $50. For me it was a defo a worth while investment. Sally’s has another I am interested in but it’s $299.99. YIKES, right? LOL! I have had mine around a year and 1/2 and the lights have yet to give out. I do manis any where from 1x to 3xs a week. It does get warm but to me it feels lovely. I do the 120 seconds and I do 3 passes (you will want to test the timer for yourself) with the Seche Ultra-V. Wait 30 minutes, wash my hands, get in bed, put lotion on my HANDS only (NOT on my nails)and feet, coat my nails and cuticles with cuticle oil and head to *zzz*. No bed sheet prints or smudges for me.

        I defo notice my manis lasting longer with The Seche Ultra-V vs a typical paint on polish dryer. My old fav paint on polish dryer after a few days would make my polish peel up. Not very pretty at all!

        *** I forgot to mention. I noticed the Seche Ultra-V has a peppery type smell to it. It does not bother me by the next day but others may be put off.

        • Dinitchka

          I forgot to answer … I use the machine and the Seche Ultra-V with all brands of nail polish … Spoiled, Revlon, Clarins, Butter London, Essie, Pure Ice, Ulta brand etc. I have yet to use it with gel polish.

  10. Carrie

    My tip would be to have patience! And time to spare… I did my nails for two hours the other day before I even painted them. I know thats crazy for most people… but its sort of a relaxing process for me.

  11. Christine

    Excellent tips!!! I always paint with my “weak” hand, instead of q-tips I use a nail corrector pen and last but not least I always go to the restroom before painting my nails 😉

  12. Leila

    While all the standard tips for applying nail polish are good (and they really do help) my tip is something that isn’t directly related to applying the polish itself, but still helps me keep everything perfect.

    Whenever I’m applying nail polish, I realized I always mess it up just because it’s diffcult not to use my hands during drying time. So what I do to relieve the bordom is have videos playing online, so while I’m waiting for drying between coats and afterwards, that way I’m distracted while I’m waiting and I keep my hands flat on the table. It’s what’s worked best for me!

  13. Gena

    Like I replied in a comment below, I’ve tried just about every trick under the sun, and I can’t EVER get my manicure to last (unchipped) more than a few hours!
    However, I am a perfectionist when it comes to manis and pedis. I always keep at least 3 boxes of pointy-ended Qtips on hand; I end up using quite a few. Also, very pointy toothpicks are great for cleaning up messes. I like to put just a dab of cuticle oil or LoLo Bar on my cuticles to keep from coloring outside the lines. :)

  14. Geneva

    I always have cotton lint on my nails even though I purchase the lint free cotton pads

  15. Shelley

    Oh, the rolling! Great point. I’ve always shaken my polishes and have wondered why some had so many bubbles. Duh. Thanks for the tip, Christine!

  16. xamyx

    When using a glitter, I *always* apply a thick “base” coat. My current fave is Sally Hansen Triple Strong, although it’s not a “traditional” base coat, but it can be used under any polish. It really makes removal alot easier & quicker, while “bonding” with the actual nail.

    Cooking spray oil can be used as a quick-dry nail spray, and after nails are dry, can be easily washed away, without leaving a scent. I’ve also brushed cuticle oil or baby oil on top of my nails, and although it does work, the polish only lasts a day or two, which is fine if I plan to change polish often.

    For “cleaning up” around the edges or cuticle, I simply wait until the polish is thoroughly dry (I polish at night) the next morning, and gently use a nail brush to remove any stray polish, or as someone else stated, it usually comes off when I wash my hair.

    To prevent “staining” my nails, I alternate (usually weekly) between pale, sheer shades & bright or deep shades. I also use a clear base coat.

    Top coats also a good idea, especially quick-dry. If I need to freshen up my mani, and I’m limited on time, a thin coat of a glitter polish camouflages any flaws, and it dries quickly.

    As I stated above, I always paint my nails at night, while watching TV; this way, I can just relax after, and I’ve become adept at using the remote during drying time.

  17. I use cut up rectangles of craft felt to remove my nail polish rather than cotton balls! I have to use fewer squares of this than cotton balls, it leaves less fuzz, and it’s easier to get glitter polishes off with felt than with cotton balls.

    • Robin Manrique

      Oooo that’s a great tip! Glitters are always a pain to remove and I’m betting the craft felt will really help speed up the process! Thanks 😀

  18. Arianna

    I clean my nails with acetone before I paint them, to “dehydrate” them as much as possible. Its made my manicure last two more days than they used to.

    Then I use the ELF Professional Concealer Brush and acetone to clean up around my cuticles after I’ve paint my nails. The brush is perfect – its flat with a rounded edge. Also, its a dollar, so I don’t care that I have to replace it about once a month because the acetone ruins it. Its thinner and more precise than the pointed cotton buds.

  19. Apply polish first at the center of the nail then slowly let the brush fan out and move towards your cuticles. This will help you have a clean line. Leave a tiny space between the polish and your cuticles to avoid clean up.

  20. Olga

    The rolling vs. shaking thing is actually a total myth! Bubbling is caused by solvents in the polish escaping as gases (a.k.a. drying). If you paint thick coats, or paint coats on top of ones that aren’t dry, the surface of the polish will solidify before the layers below have a chance to fully dry. The escaping gases from the wet layers then have nowhere to go but form bubbles in the solidified layer. They’re not “air bubbles” at all, and thinking that bubbling is caused by shaking your polish is a widespread misconception.

    In fact, you SHOULD shake your polish. That way, the little metal beads inside the bottle can do their job quickly and efficiently and mix in any color separation.

    • Gena

      Thank you for clearing up that misinformation, Olga! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard people repeat the “do not shake” rule.

  21. Love the dipping fingers in ice cold water trick. Works like a charm!

  22. NeenaJ

    I finally found a method to make my nail polish last more than a day without getting chipped. My nails are weak, tend to split plus, I have an office job where I type most of the day and a 3 year old so I’m constantly washing my hands, dropped spoons, etc.

    1. Start with a treatment base (Nailtiques formula 2).
    2. Apply a sticky base coat (CND Stickey).
    3. Apply two thin layers of polish and let each dry thoroughly (Zoya polish seems to last longest on me).
    4. Avoid a top coat for the first few days if you can. Zoya polishes have a nice finish so, they don’t need a top coat. I think this layer causes me more chipping than it helps. So, I reserve it for day 2 or 3 when I’m seeing tip wear that could lead to a chip if I don’t coat it.

    Finally, shorter nails definitely mean less chips for me. I cut them just below the tips of my fingers so I could paint them red and, I swear, it lasted 5 days – a record for me!

  23. Kellilee

    I always shake my polish. I can’t get the polish to mix right if I don’t shake it. The only time I have bubbles after shaking is if I allow the polish to dry completely before adding the next coat. I have to do it all at once or I end up with a complete mess.
    In order to get my polish to stay on for more than a few hours, I have to strip my nails until they’re dry, then use two base coats, two or three layers of polish, and two layers of top coat. It sounds like a lot, but it dries down real thin on my nails. This will typically get me about three to five days of wear.

  24. Lark

    As the messy polish disaster queen, throwing down on Chanel polish was the best bargain ever! After years of sneaking by their testers and always getting a perfect paint on one nail it finally sank in! The brush, the viscosity, the lasts-up-to-ten-days-thing… I discovered that a lot of women have two or three Chanel colors and that’s it. I don’t bother with top and bottom coats half the time and it still lasts through the beatings my hands take. And it dries super fast!

    My mom has drained Chanel polish bottles. My Peridot is getting there. There are no dupes and it’s worth twenty five bucks for years of easy high quality nails.

  25. Lark

    My glitter trick, for what it’s worth; Put some polish on. A metallic works best. Then glitter polish; The first color pops it up, and I think it bonds better to polish. The color under fills in any teeny spaces so less layers. Use a thin polish first, fatter formulas can be overload.

    It’s also a good emergency fix, a coat of polish over a dead paint job looks bad, but then Zoya glitter next is great quickly get to a party fix. It’ll peel of in two days, but glitter chips anyway. And you look all done up.

  26. Always use a transparent color coat before applying any nail polish then apply at least two coat of color nail polish then again apply transparent color coat.This will gives the perfect color to your nails.