Ok, I get a lot of questions, so I figured I’d put together a quick tutorial. This is the method I use to do nail polish. There are many variations out there, but this is what works best for me.
Step 1: Get out all of your supplies. ALL. Nothing dings up nails like reaching for something at the last minute.
(my supplies: Polish remover, super glue, nail repair kit, file, wooden nail thingie, clay tool, paint brush, base coat, polish, top coat)
Step 2: Remove nail polish with the remover of your choice. I don’t think I need to show that step.
Step 3: Examine nails for breaks.
I get these deep on the nail bed all the time. I take vitamins, use cuticle oil, went a couple of months without using acetone, keep my hands moisturized blah blah blah blah blah. Still happens. I now accept that I will always get them, so treating them has become part of my routine
Step 4: Brush on glue, dip in acrylic repair powder, wait 5 minutes.
If the break is really bad, I’ll bond it inside the break with some super glue and then do the nail repair on top. Sometimes one patch lasts for weeks, sometimes it just lasts until the next manicure. But it does keep me from having really painful breaks half way down my nail bed.
Step 5: File.
While I’m waiting for my patches to dry, I file my tips. I always carry a nail file with me, in case I get a ‘catch’ somewhere on the edge. Catches turn into tears! Even if they don’t need it, I do a light smoothing of all the exposed edges. Once I’m done with that, I smooth down the patch so it looks natural. This usually means taking off 3/4 of the patch, but you’re supposed to. See? All smooth, hard to tell there’s even a break under there.
Step 6: Base coat.
Base coat is paint primer. It smooths your nails, keeps them from getting stained, makes the paint stick better. Every crafty girl should know the value of primer!
With a coat of primer over my patch, you can barely even see it. If I was into sheers, I could wear sheer polish, or even a transparent top coat.
Step 7: First coat!
Rules of nailpolish: many thin coats > few thick coats. Thin coats dry faster, and they are less likely to form bubbles. Bubbles are gross. They make your nails look like they have pimples. Who wants that?
Step 8: Wrap those tips!
When I first heard ‘wrap your tips’ I was like “wtf? How do you wrap nail polsh?” What they mean is, ‘paint the tips.’ I do this with my base coat, regular paint coat, and top coat, but you can’t see it with transparent polish. Anyway, your nail tips are what have the most contact and wear down first, so it helps to put paint on them. Take your brush with almost all the polish removed and brush the tips lightly.
Step 9: Second coat +
With some polishes two coats is enough. It’s probably enough in this case, but I like to do the ‘transparent tip test’ which is this:
Oh look, the tips of my nails are still really transparent! One more coat it is!
Step 10: Top coat
Like base coat is primer, top coat is sealant. You need sealant. And if you don’t have hours to sit around going ‘la de da’ while your nails dry, you need a super-duper-quick-dry topcoat. The most popular option for this is Seche Vite, but I personally prefer Nubar Diamont Shine topcoat. It dries even faster. It dries so fast, if I don’t hustle when I paint each nail, sometimes part of the topcoat are already dry before I finish. Translation: it makes your nails dry REALLY FUCKING FAST. My nails are dry to the touch within a minute of finishing each nail, and pretty much dent proof within ten minutes.
Step 11: Cleanup
Ok, so I used to stress getting my nails painted cleanly. Y’know, wiping off any smears on the sides of my fingers as I went, and generally fucking up my polish even more. It’s not worth it. Concentrate on getting the polish on your nails nice. Then topcoat. Then, once the topcoat is dry, pour a little bit of polish remover into the cap, dip in your paintbrush, and carefully clean around the edges of the nail. Just remember to wash your hands and moisturize afterwards.
All done! Now I’ll get 4-5 days of perfect nails for about 20 minutes of work. Please keep in mind that I am a hands-on person. Later today I’ll be playing with sand paper, razor blades, and solvents. Before I started doing all these steps, my polish life expectancy was 1-2 days. And after 4-5 days I’ll be bored and wanting something new anyway.