Here's my arsenal of polish:
I've found that starting with some sort of "Gripper" seems to be the best base coat for me. It fills all the ridges in your nails and hangs onto the polish to make it last. Next, is your color of choice. And finally, comes the top coat.
I decided to try a trick from Pinterest (since I can be a little sloppy sometimes), so I started by applying lotion to my cuticles and the skin underneath my nail. Next time, I think I will apply with a q-tip to make life easier.
Please forgive the leftover polish (I was just repainting the same color) and lack of visual instructions. It's a little too difficult to take pictures while painting my own nails!
- Paint each nail with your base coat. (In my case The Gripper) By the time you're done painting all your fingers (and toes too, if you're doing both) the base coat should be dry enough to continue.
- Mix your color coat by rolling not shaking so you don't get air bubbles.
- Starting near the base in the middle of the nail, push the polish down to the base then paint a stripe up the middle. Then paint one stripe along each side and then fill in any spaces. Remember to only apply a very thin layer, we will fill in any thin spots with the second layer. Applying polish too thick causes smudges as the top layer drys and the underneath is still wet!
- The most important step is to run the brush along the top edge of your nail! This wraps the polish around the end so it doesn't chip when you run into things! Think of it like tape wrapped around the edge of a piece of paper.
- Apply a second layer of color following the same steps.
- Finally apply the top coat. I tend to apply this layer more liberally and I don't wrap it around the edge.
- If you're lucky enough to have quick drying polish or an aerosol spray use that now! For the rest of us (if you have time) try to let your nails dry for 30 minutes for best result.
- Once your nails are dry, rub the lotion into your cuticles and wash your hands.
This is the first time I've used the lotion on my cuticles. It seemed to work ok, but if you're strapped for time an easily skippable step. As you can see there are still a few areas to be cleaned up and I still had to scrape the polish off my cuticles with my fingernail. It made me a little nervous that the polish would come up as I was scraping the edges. But overall, the polish on my cuticles and under my shorter nails seemed to come up easier.
Now that you have a fresh manicure, it's time to go out and show it off! Enjoy!