Even if you’ve been applying polish to your nails for what seems like an eternity, you might still be missing some key tips that can make your fingers flawless. Some aspects of painting your nails are intuitive and others are learned through practice and patience. If you’re wondering how you can end up with a perfect manicure every time, consider these 7 suggestions.
1. All about that base
Applying a base coat to your nails might seem like an extra and unnecessary step, but you’re doing yourself a disservice by skipping it. There are several benefits to using a base coat of nail polish before you get to the colors. First of all, it’s key that you use polish that’s officially for use as a base coat to have the positive effects. These polishes are often sticky and allow the regular paint to expand and contract without cracking, according to Good Housekeeping.
Allure magazine explained that your nails have natural oils which can prevent nail polish from staying on over time. A base coat places a protective layer between those oils and the color you choose. You might want to find a base coat that includes calcium for even more benefits, Seventeen magazine suggested.
Regular use of a base coat will keep the nail polish from staining your nails. Additionally, you’ll find that you have a smoother surface to apply polish too and the colors will be bolder with fewer coats.
2. Love on top
Adding a top coat to your nails when you’re done painting them can extend the life of your manicure and give them a shinier appearance. Daily Makeover recommended applying a bit of top coat to your nails every few days for long-lasting effects. While quick-dry top coats are desirable from a practical standpoint, they can be less effective than products that require time to harden, Good Housekeeping explained.
3. So fresh and so clean
You should make sure your nails are buffed and clean before you even apply a base coat. To do so, remove all old nail polish with a non-acetone remover. Although acetone increases the strength of your remover, it’s harsh on your nails and cuticles. You might find that your nails are stained from wearing nail polish constantly, so Seventeen suggested making a cleansing paste to rub on them. Combine equal parts baking soda, olive oil and lemon juice, then apply the mixture to each nail. After letting it sit for ten minutes, your nails should be less yellow. They should also be free of oils or lotions before you apply polish.
When you’re filing, move the emery board in the same direction, rather than dragging it back and forth. This will keep your nails from splitting and cracking over time. If you keep your nails long, it’s a good idea to clean underneath them daily. Seventeen discussed how easy it is for bacteria to gather in the small spaces, which you can then transfer to your mouth by accident when eating or biting your nails.
Speaking of cleanliness, Allure suggested regularly sanitizing the tools you use for home manicures such as clippers and nail files. In the same vein, you should throw bottles of nail polish out after having them for one year to keep your supply fresh and sanitary.
4. Sitting, waiting, wishing
The easiest way to mess up a fresh mani is by being impatient. According to Daily Makeover, nail polish takes a full 24 hours to dry, even if it stops being tacky within an hour. One way to speed up the process is with cold water. You should keep an eye on your BABY-G BA112-7A watch after you apply the final coat of polish until three minutes have passed. Turn the faucet to cold and let a gentle steam roll down your fingers and over your nails. However, you might cause smudges if you put wet nails directly in the water’s path.
While many nail salons use ultra-violet light dryers, Allure explained that it’s not an ideal choice. The UV rays that you’re told to avoid in tanning beds are targeted on your hands, meaning there could be similar harmful effects. Stick to fan dryers when you’re indulging in the professional experience.
If you want to take a shower after painting your nails, Daily Makeover suggested waiting at least an hour. Hot water can cause the nail polish to buckle or smudge.
5. Thick and thin
Particularly when you’re using a light shade, it’s tempting to slap thick layers of nail polish on each nail. However, this takes much longer to dry, increasing your chance of smudging a nail. Instead, apply many thin coats of polish, at least two minutes apart. There’s a trick to applying nail polish in a smooth and even way – multiple strokes. Sweep over your nails from base to tip with three or four strokes that go right to the cuticle.
6. I’ll cover you
Part of making a manicure stay is covering your hands when necessary. For example, it’s a good idea to wear gloves if you use your hands a lot during the day. Some women prefer wearing rubber gloves when they do dishes.
7. Pick me up
There are two places you need to avoid picking – your cuticles and your chipping polish. Clipping or pulling on your cuticles opens the skin to infections, so it’s better to keep them hydrated to stop hangnails at the source . Use oils and a nail tool that allows you push the skin away from your nails. Additionally, picking at the polish that’s begun chipping can cause you to remove the surface of your nail by accident.
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