If you have ever perused the boards on Pinterest, you’re probably wondering this:
Since I know I will never be able to paint all of the Super Mario Bros characters on my phalanges, I just want to be able to take care of my nails myself, and that includes being able to paint them without looking like a 4 year old did them. Guess what I did? I researched. That’s what I did. I also went out and bought some supplies and tried these methods myself. I have to say, I’ve gotten much better. I’m no pro but I’ve upped my game to about a 13 year old level. Let’s get right to it.
Step 1. Remove your old polish. Seems like a no brainer, huh. Not all polish remover is created equal. Pure acetone is the most effective but also can dry out your nails and cuticles. I only recommend pure acetone if you’re removing glitters or really adhesive art. Acetone based remover usually has some moisturizing ingredients so you can effectively remove polish while maintaining some moisture. Non-acetone polish is best for those with really damaged, dry or peeling nails.
Step 2. Shape and trim nails. Listen and repeat after me: Don’t use your nail file like a saw. You know that back and forth motion that you have probably been doing your entire life? Bad. It causes little cracks and is the #1 cause for breakage. Use a glass or crystal file and file in one direction. I start at the side and work my way to the center, then go from the other side to the center. My favorite file is by Nail Tek.
Step 3. This is not always necessary, but if you have any ridges or peelies, address them now. You don’t want to use a really rough buffer to get out ridges because you’re just taking off layers and when your nails grow out, the tips will be more prone to breakage. Use a gentle buffer and only buff at the base where absolutely needed. If you have any peelies at the tip, you can lightly buff those to prevent them from peeling off after you paint.
Step 4. Remove and push back your cuticles. Listen and repeat after me: Don’t use nippers to remove your cuticles. You know those clippers that look like mini tree trimmers? Bad. They are only for clipping off hangnails. Get yourself a real cuticle remover (in the bottle) and place a drop at the base of each nail. Allow it to sit for about 30 seconds, then use an orange wood stick to push the cuticle back and remove the dead skin. Be gentle with your cuticles. They love you. I use CND cuticle remover.
Step 5. Wash your hands. If you want to use a pampering scrub, have at it. I ain’t got time for all that though.
Step 6. Dry your nails. I’m sure you dried your hands with a towel after you washed them, but you want to thoroughly dry your nail beds with alcohol. This removes any oil residue. Dry nail beds are a key to making polish last. Just use a cotton ball and give them a good swipe.
Step 7. Apply a basecoat. Do I really need one? Yes. Remember those ridges that I told you to gently buff? They are going to get filled with your ridge filling basecoat. I like NailTek II Foundation. It strengthens and fills. Bonus.
Step 8. Finally. Paint them. Seemed like it took forever to get here, huh? It’s a lot of work but it’s worth it. Okay, you want to go slow here. Apply thin coats and take your time. Here’s a handy chart:
(photo from MakeupAlley)
Step 9. Apply a topcoat. My favorite is Seche Vite Rapid Dry topcoat. It dries all layers of your polish quickly but don’t go digging through a bag of Legos immediately. Patience, Grasshopper.
Step 10. Apply cuticle oil. All of that polish remover and alcohol, basecoat and paint…it’s drying. Love your cuticles. They love you. Pamper them with oil. Hand cream works well too. Love your hands. Come close, I have a secret…nipple cream. Yes, lansinoh nipple cream is straight lanolin and your hands will love you. I can’t attest to how your nipples will feel though. Sorry.
Step 11. Made any mistakes? Clean it up with a stiff crease brush dipped in remover. Clean up is the key. This will give you that professional mani look.
I know, it seems like a lot but I got the fungi from a salon last year and I’m still trying to grow out my toenail. It was ugly. I’m not dipping my fingers and toes where others have been for a long time. Do you DIY? what are your tips?