Feb 9, 2012

5-Step Guide To A Neater Nail Polish Application

Of late, I have been on a nail polish craze - blame it all on the fabulous photos I have been seeing online.  Buying the latest colours is easy, though, when compared to actually getting them to look nice on my hands.  I did figure out some easy steps that can make all the difference between a messy application and a decent one - and they aren't all that difficult.  Try these basic steps and see the difference:

1.  Moisturize.  Yes, it's as simple as that!  Start with clean, moisturized hands, and you can either indulge yourself with a soak in warm water and a massage or just do a quick job with a rich, fast-absorbing moisturizer.  Either way, always remember to pay exta attention to the area around the nails - use a cuticle cream to get rid of any dry bits.   My favorite:  Lemony Flutter from Lush.

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2.  Use a base coat.  Wipe off any extra moisturizer/cream from the nail.  Apply a good base coat.  Base coats help fill up any nail irregularities and provide a smooth base for the nail polish.  It's also a good idea to use a base coat if you don't want your nails to get stained, especially with some of the darker colours.  My pick:  Essie All In One Base Coat.

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On days when I am extra extra lazy, my nails are done with this step.  My nails look so much neater with just a base coat on, and I don't have to bother with any more steps :D
3.  Spacing.  This is one step I started doing quite recently - leave a bit of gap along the sides of the nails instead of painting right up to the cuticle.  This helps makes the nails look a bit longer while at the same time preventing any staining with the nail polish on the skin.  I do it more for the ease of clean-up rather than any illusion of length :D

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Leaving a gap between the edges means lesser cleanup later.  This is one step I still have to learn to do properly, though.
4.  Clean up.  You can clean up the messy nail polish application with a bit of nail polish remover on a Q-tip, but a clean-up pen would be a bit more precise.  My pick:  Sally Hansen No More Mistakes Manicure Clean-Up Pen (it is the only one I have tried :P)

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Another easy way to clean up nail polish from around the nail edges is using a brush dipped in acetone/nail polish remover.  I use an angled eyeliner brush (a cheap one I got from Target) dipped in nail polish remover, and I find this awfully useful to clean up the mess I make with application on my right :D

5.  Finish with a top coat.  A good top coat helps your polish last longer without chipping and also gives an extra glossy effect to the nail polish.  My favorite:  Sally Hansen Extreme Shine Top Coat.

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So those were my 5 steps to a cleaner manicure.  Do you have any secret steps for a fabulous manicure - do share :)

Also read:
Makeup Essentials:  Foundation
Apply Eyeshadows in 3 Easy Steps
3 Small Tools That Make a Big Makeup Difference