Tuesday, January 4, 2011

How I Paint My Nails

Do you really care?  Well yeah, since I get asked this all the time.   Again, I am no expert, but having a routine does help.  Here are a few very simple yet very helpful things that will help you to have a successful lacquering.

  • Go to the bathroom, first.  This is not a joke.  There is nothing worse than getting your nails lacquered just the way you want them, then having to go potty.  Nails... ruined.  Go potty, first.
  • Never shake your bottles of polish to mix them.  Always roll them in your hands.  Air bubbles in nail polish is never a good thing.
  • I always have a cotton swab wet with polish remover at the ready.  No matter how good you are at applying polish, there are always things to clean up.  
  • Keep an orange stick close by.  I find that it comes in very handy if I do manage to get polish on my cuticles... just dab that sharp tip into that wet cotton swab  (oh and keep that tip sharp by sanding it on one of your emery boards) and use it like a pencil!
  • I put a square of paper toweling down on my table or surface where I intend to apply my polish.  
  • When you are finished, use that wet cotton swab to make sure the bottle is free from any wet polish, then close the bottle TIGHTLY!  A tightly closed bottle is not only safer, but it keeps the polish from thickening.
  • A quick-dry top coat is an absolute necessity -- at least in my book.  I only use Seche Vite Fast Dry Top Coat.  I get it through Amazon for about $3 a bottle.  Keep this TIGHTLY closed or it will dry out in a matter of hours.
  • I love OPI, China Glaze and Zoya polishes.  Yes, they are wickedly expensive.  I buy them at Amazon and sometimes Ebay.  There have been discussions as to the authenticity of these polishes, but I have never encountered that and I now know my 'connections' well.  It's up to you where you get your polishes, but it's great getting them for almost 70% off retail! 
Usually, I begin with a day of naked nails.  They do need to 'breath.'  This is my routine:
Starting with bare, clean nails, apply some cuticle remover.  I use Sally Hansen Instant Cuticle Remover, but any will do, just follow manufacturer's instructions. I use my orange stick to gently scrape that skin off of my nail by the cuticle, too. Apply some cuticle oil.  I've even used Olive oil. I do this while I watch TV... it's a bit of a process.  May as well be entertained.  I use OPI's Avoplex Nail And Cuticle Replenishing Oil.  This stuff is fantastic, but I warn you, it STINKS.  I put this stuff on every other day.  I am convinced that this is part of the reason my nails are now so HEALTHY looking.  It can even be applied over lacquered nails.

Later the same day, (after the Avoplex has had a few hours to absorb), I begin the filing process.  Not my favorite thing.  Now this is how I do it:  starting from the outer corner of your nail, file in one direction toward the center of the nail ( I shape mine to be 'squoval' which is part squared, part oval).  This rounds out that hard square shape into a more rounded square.  Now, onto the other side.  Same thing.  A few sweeps across in one direction; viola.  Done.  Now, repeat on the remaining nine!

Now onto the fun stuff!  Let's polish!

My secret to a great looking mani!
Always start with a base coat.  I love OPI's Chip Skip.  Does what it says, beautifully.  Let that dry for 15 minutes.  Find your shade and starting in the upper center of your nail, apply a drop close to the cuticles edge (the secret to a great and professional-looking mani is leaving a small area around cuticle CLEAN of polish).  Apply your brush to the drop and allow the bristles to 'fan out.' then pull straight down.  Apply more polish to the brush and go to the base of the nail and swipe the polish along the curve of the nail. Drag it until the entire side is polished.  Repeat on the other side.  Make sure you look closely at the edge of the nail and paint that, too.  Repeat on the other nine nails.  By the time you finish, your other hand is ready for it's second coat.  Repeat above steps.   Wait five minutes, then apply Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat. There is a trick to applying this stuff.  Don't let the bristles touch your polish!  WHAT!?  It can be done!  Get a brush-full of Vite and let a drop touch the nail.  Let the bristles do the work of applying it.  I mean, you CAN let them touch, but I have learned that you will get a glossier finish if you can do this.  Takes a bit of practice, but you can do it!  In about five minutes, you can run your fingers through your hair!  In ten minutes, it's rock hard and you're ready to GO!


  1. Thanks Mary. After 12 years I think I may be ready to polish my finger nails again. I prefer the salon for my feet because it's such a relaxing experience and it lasts for at least a month. I just can't pay to have my fingers done when it chips in a week. I will follow all your tips.

  2. Hi, Amanda! I am no expert by any means, but we can have fun talking nail polish anytime! I should try a pedicure sometime. My hands are much prettier than my feet, though! Thanks for commenting! :o)


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