Think back on the many birthday sleepovers you had as a young kid. If they were anything like the neighborhood shindigs I got pulled into, it meant one of two options: Waiting in line for their parents to do it or smearing polish all over each other’s stubby fingers and nails.
By the time I got to high school, I was over the phase where I thought nail polish was uncool and girly, and instead I learned to hone my craft so that I would never have to get an $80 manicure, which, for some reason in America is more than typical. These are tips taken directly from my own experiences, of which I believe have transformed me into an avid-polish-wearer.
1. Fix Your Cuticles
If you’ve gotten a manicure, you know that there’s a painful moment where the person doing it uses a curved metal tool to push your cuticles back against the skin (as well as the second one to clip loose ends). Sure it hurts, but your cuticles also seem to be the most likely portion of your fingers to get color smeared all over them. Use the twist-y part of a pair of nail clippers to push your cuticles back against the skin on all of your fingers. This will not only leave more nail exposed for you to paint, but also increase the tidiness of your paint job on the surface area of the nail being exposed.
2. Start From The Back
This should be a given, but if you start painting a nail from the front then you’re just asking for serious smearage. Paint in long, even strokes from where the cuticle is up to the tip of the nail, with as little strokes as you can get away with.
3. File First
Don’t wait until after you have a fresh coat on to jack up the ends and make them fray off. Get your nails looking how you want them before you add the paint on, else you’ll be stuck redoing the tips over and over again while they chip away. While you’re at it, explore some of the new shapes people get with their false nails. A current favorite of mine is the squoval (square + oval) shape, although usually, I prefer classic soft, rounded-looking nails. With fewer chances to scratch your face on accident, don’t knock short nails until you try ’em.
4. Clear Coat Underneath
This will pave the way for you to paint your nails how you want them (cleanly). Also, if you’re like me and you hate the experience of nails that chip, a clear coat of polish underneath will make it so that the polish is easy to peel off if you decide that they’ve been red for long enough and you’re over it. Just don’t try this trick if you plan to be swimming often, the water will easily steal the color off your nails.
5. Find A Solid Remover
Play around with a few bottles of nail polish remover and decide which one is the best for you. Remember to watch out for those that dry out or damage your nails, especially if you plan to be painting them monthly or weekly. Once you have your remover (and some cotton balls or Q-Tips to boot) you’re ready to paint as messily as you desire. Simply wipe the polish off that goes onto the cuticles or the pads of your fingers.
It may seem messy to tape around your nails before painting them, but with only a few strips of Scotch, you can save all of that time and frustration wiping the stuff off. Cover the cuticles and you can focus on the sides of your fingers and take at least 1/4 of your mistakes out of the equation. Is that how math works? Four sides to a nail… Anyways. You get the picture.