We all know basically how to paint our nails. In theory, it’s not difficult: unscrew the cap, and you’re pretty much good to go. While this haphazard approach certainly gets colour on those claws, it isn’t always going to guarantee you the neatest results. If you’re keen to spruce up your style, you’ll need to spend a little more time and effort getting things just right. In order to help you to perfect your polishing technique, I’ve had a word with the experts and put together this list of 7 steps to painting your nails like a pro.
1. Clean up
It’s important that you start with an absolutely clean slate. Soak a cotton ball in nail polish remover and, over your bathroom basin, thoroughly remove the polish that you are currently wearing. Try to work at all the difficult to reach places: if left, these fragments of colour will set and become very tricky to eliminate.
2. Soap and Scrub
Using a stiff bristled nail brush and plenty of soap, get to work giving your nails a good clean. Scrub both the undersides to eliminate dirt, and the top of you nails, where the colour will eventually go: this helps to get rid of any oily residue which might interfere with your polish application.
3. Base Coat
A good base coat is a nail polish essential. It primes the surface of your nail for the polish, and it also prevents unsightly staining. Shake yours thoroughly to ensure that it hasn’t separated and then carefully apply it your freshly scrubbed and dried nails. Make sure you let this set thoroughly before you move on with the colour application.
Once your base coat has completely dried, it’s time to get to work with the colour. Choose a good quality nail polish; cheaper variations tend to go on unevenly and are also, sometimes, very difficult to remove. Paint the enamel on in three regular strokes, making sure there isn’t too much on the brush: one stripe down either side of your nail, and a final one in the middle to finish. Allow the first coat to dry thoroughly and then apply second layer.
5. Touch up
If you’re anything like me, you will have accidentally painted quite a lot of your fingers as well. Remedy this problem by dipping an ear-bud into nail polish remover and very carefully using it to eliminate the polish on your skin. Watch out that you don’t allow the cotton wool to come in contact with the painted surface of your nail: there’s nothing more frustrating than having to start the whole process all over again.
6. Top Coat
Once your colour has completely set and you are happy that it is thick and dark enough apply a layer of clear nail polish over the top to finish. This will give your claws added gloss and, if you buy the right product, will also protect your manicure from premature chipping and peeling.
Once your colour and top coat have dried thoroughly, apply a rich nourishing hand lotion to your hands. Concentrate you attention to your fingers and around your nail beds: the oil in the cream will loosen any stubborn fragments of polish that have remained fixed to your skin.
While we all know how to apply nail polish properly, I know that I for one often find myself applying it hastily on my way out to dinner, or within five minutes of getting into the car and driving to work. This kind of rush job is never going to look particularly special; beautiful talons take time and effort to achieve. That concludes my list of 7 steps to painting your nails like a pro: got any tips of your own to add?
Top Photo Credit: Pink Sherbet Photography