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After pushing back and trimming my cuticles, filing and gently roughing up the surface (helps with adhesion of nail products to the nail), I apply 1 coat European Secrets Rock Hard, 1 coat of Nail-Aid 1-Minute Gel, followed up with usually 2 coats of polish. I go down the center of the nail as close to the cuticle as I can, bring it to the tip, and again down each side of the first sweep. I allow each coat to dry completely before applying my next. Once done, I usually take a little baby oil and gently smooth that over my nails and cuticles.

Aww, Genevieve, you are so kind to say that to me! Especially considering I’m a real-life beauty school dropout and I haven’t done another person’s manicure since doing my daughter’s nails many, many years ago, so my confidence is as shaky as my left hand!

Hi Lesley, I buy mine at Walmart in their nail treatments area of beauty. It is a pink tinted clear liquid in a bottle that comes in a box, which unfortunately can be difficult to spot in the usual sea of Sally Hansen products in its immediate vicinity! It has helped me keep my manicure looking decent for anywhere from 5 to 10 days depending on which nail polish formula I use. HTH!

There is no Walmart near me but I think I can get it online. My manicurist is going to be away for five weeks in September and I already am having gel withdrawal symptoms.

I get NexGen nails now. When I did paint, I used a base coat. Then, I applied a thin coat of polish, starting from the middle of my nail, then the two sides. Always from bottom of the nail to the tip. I’d then apply a thicker second coat. After that dried, I’d apply a good top coat.

“ridge-filling topcoat” wow never knew one like that existed! I need that! Christine, do you mind sharing all the products you use (base/top/fast dry) please?

I’m currently into Revlon’s Gel Envy polishes and topcoat. Win Big is a gorgeous rose gold that always draws compliments.

My cuticles are an ongoing struggle. I just can’t get them under control.

I’ve never used a ridge filler, and it’s something I’ll definitely look into. Thanks, Christine!

I push my cuticles back very regularly and they rarely get problematic since I ALWAYS have polish on. BUT, if they start coming back, I use a chemical cuticle remover so they go away and look good without cutting them at all.

As far as painting: I always make sure to rub my nails with acetone or remover to be sure they’re bare. I apply a “sticky” base coat like CND Stickey or Orly Bonder. Then, I use the basic “3-stroke” method of painting where you apply the bead of polish almost near the cuticle in the center of the nail. Then, push it closer to the cuticle and stroke the other way to the end. Then, stroke the polish on each side of the nail. It doesn’t work in perfect 3-stroke, though. I end up doing multiple strokes. Wait for each coat to dry and then apply a quick dry top coat.

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