Tuesday, April 16th, 2013

Beauty Discovered

Makeup & Beauty Tips on How to Apply Nail Polish

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

Temptalia’s Tips

  1. I prefer to place the first initial bit of polish just below the center of the nail and pull it down to the bottom and then back to the top.
  2. I use one thin-medium coat for my first coat, then a medium to medium-thick coat on the second one. This is especially true with any streakier polish.
  3. Quick-drying top coat or speed drying top coat is a must to minimize sit-and-do-nothing time!

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

  1. These are great tips, Christine! This is pretty similar to how I paint my nails. I also find for me, that the brush size matters. As much as I love OPI, I find their brush a bit too wide. I do better with a slim brush & it’s less messy.

  2. Great tips! Do you have any advice for how to avoid bubbling that sometimes happens towards the end?

    • Masuma

      You might want to try to put a clear coat on top and avoid drying your nails with a fan or any type of air heater, people say it works but it actually makes no difference!

  3. I use a similar technique starting the first blob about halfway down my nail. It really helps to minimize pooling around the cuticle. With this method, I also rarely need to do clean up with just little stray bits here and there usually on my left hand as I am left-handed.

    I have very high arches on the sides of my nails so I tend to begin spreading out the polish on the steepest side of my nails and working sideways to the opposite side.

    I always apply a thinner first coat with a somewhat heavier second coat to follow. I find thinner coats adhere far better than thicker coats. Sometimes I would rather do 3 thin coats because it gives a more consistent manicure.

    I try to keep my brush as perpendicular to my nails as possible, gliding the nail polish on as opposed to brushing it on. This helps to avoid streaks and brush strokes, but some polishes are difficult regardless (Zoya Neely yesterday drove me quite bonkers)

    I try to let each coat dry thoroughly before beginning the next. I find it improves my application and avoids getting that really thick nail polish thingee happening.

    Fast dry top coat is a must. I now prefer CND Super Shiny over Seche Vite which has a tendency to seriously dry out my nails and it also shrinks.

    I do not keep a manicure on my nails longer than a couple of days. If I do, I start picking and that can contribute to nail bed damage so I take it off before the temptation gets the better of me. I usually rest my nails between manicures.

  4. Great tips, I use them too!

  5. Always, always wrap free nail edges. It increases the wear time of polish.
    And for the cleanup, I found pure acetone and angled gel eyeliner brush work much better than nail polish corrector pens.

  6. Dinitchka

    If I am working with glitter I like to leave the bottles upside down while I shape, file and prep my nails.

    I like to work on my left hand first (I am right handed). And work from pinky to thumb. I do a base coat. Let that dry. Then I do an initial thin strip starting with the middle of the nail. I start close to the base of the nail and work up. Then I do the sides. Normally left side and then right side. I work on my right hand, taking more time since I am right handed. Once that dries, I go back to my left hand and do a strip down the middle and then work the opposite side first (right side and then left side of nail). I take time to cap the nail. Once the polish has time to set, I top with a top coat and then a UV coat. Pop my hand in the UV dryer and I am done. Once fully dry (I wait at least 30 minutes) I take a small eyeliner brush and a shot glass of a bit of pure acetone and do a clean up if need be. If I am able to use a nail file to file off the polish I opt for that method. If I polish before a shower I skip the clean up since washing my hair tends to do the clean up. Before I go to bed I put oil on my cuticles and the entire nail. I let that set and then rub it in.

  7. Carolina

    Well, I’ve become a nail polish application pro after using your tips (I think you posted a video, no?), so I can only say these are dead on!

  8. Phoebe

    I pretty much have the exact same technique, Christine!

    Aside from wrapping my nail tips, I also wanted to mention to slow it down. Painting your nails is not a race! If you slow down, you can get really precise and eventually really good at working with polish.

    • JRMillington

      Super great tip!! We as women tend to rush through most of our beauty regimes. I too have found that by doing my nails when I have a minute to spare always achieves better results.

    • This is so true. Taking your time does end in better mani. I keep forgetting it. Thank you for reminding me.

  9. oh.no.pepper

    Perfectly timed Beauty Discovery. I’m going to give these tips a try tonight with some new polish I just got in the mail. Thanks everyone! (In case you were wondering I got the new YSL nail color in 2013 Summer Vert d’ orient-I’m super excited about this).

  10. I noticed that if I paint the nails of my dominant hand first, from pinkie to thumb, I run a much smaller risk of smudging something. It’s made a huge difference in how successful my home manicures are.

  11. Great tips! This is pretty much how I like to paint my own nails. And like others are saying, brush size does make a difference.

  12. Great tips!

    What’s your favorite quick drying top coat?

  13. Ilona

    Just watched your tutorial. Great tips!

  14. LBH

    Thank you so much for this post. I am definitely going to use all these tips later today. So excited.

  15. Christina J.

    Thank you Christine! I’m actually a little embarrassed I never thought of painting the last half of the nail first..it seems so obvious now:) When I did my nails, I would get ugly pooling on my cuticles and it was just so obviously NOT a professional manicure. I just tried your tips with Illamasqua Harem and….it turned out beautiful(imo)For reals, thank you:)

  16. Mayesha

    Thanks for the awesome tips, definitely try those out! Whcih top coat do you recommend?

  17. Molly, NYC

    Does anyone else handle a mani and/or pedi by spreading it out over a couple of days?
    The filing, shaping, fiddling with my cuticles, buffing, base coat etc. happen on day 1 and the actual polish on day 2.
    I suspect that if I were a better manicurist, it wouldn’t matter, but this gives me a better, longer-lasting [1] result. The prep work is usually better if I don’t rush it, and the polish gets a chance to dry between coats.
    [1] The comparative adverb is key here: My one-day efforts usually look as if I mixed polish with juice from canned tuna fish, fed it to a cat and got the cat to lick the distal part of my hand. My two-day attempts merely as if I’d done it while drunk.