Hair, Nails & Skincare

Tips for Applying Nail Polish

Nail polish is something I’ve never *really* gotten into that much, similar to foundation… but I’ve always been fascinated with it (unlike foundation). Recently I’ve started applying nail polish*, and I’m having fun with it!

Nail polish can be a great way to make your hands look especially pretty - and applying nail polish doesn't have to be a chore! Find out 6 great tips for getting perfect nail polish, every time, in this beauty tips article.

Here are my tips for applying nail polish, based on what I’ve learned though trial and error (and, of course, some research into the matter ;)):

  • Use a base coat to ensure that the color doesn’t stain your nails.

A base coat* should also protect your nails and keep them healthy, which is another very good reason for why you should use it! Let it dry completely before applying nail polish (and then let dry completely again before applying top coat).

  • Don’t rush it.

If you are in a hurry and are trying to do a quick job of painting your nails, the nail polish is going to smear and smudge! You can fix it by using a Q-tip soaked in nail polish remover* and sweeping it around the nail (something I learned from this article), but that will just take even more time.

The bottom line: make your nail polish application session a time when you can relax and go slowly.

  • Apply a thin layer of top coat over the colored nail polish.

This is a mistake I recently made: I applied it a little too thickly, and within a couple days the top coat started to peel right off! Luckily, you can easily just add another top coat*, but it’s much easier if you don’t have to keep on applying top coats, isn’t it?

red nail polish

Every time I glance down and see this color, it brings a smile to my face.

  • Always have nail polish remover on hand.

I don’t like the look of chipped nail polish, which hasn’t ever really been a problem for me since I normally use a clear or shiny nail polish instead of color.

However, when I recently wore red nail polish*, I had to face the issue of chipped polish! I was concerned about the health of my nails and I wasn’t sure how comfortable I felt about using nail polish remover, until several people pointed out to me that I was already putting nail polish on my nails—how much worse could it be for my nail health if I use nail polish remover? And they were right! Get rid of that chipped polish immediately.

  • Don’t just keep applying new nail polish immediately after you’ve removed the old polish.

I think this is a really important thing to take into consideration. Nail polish can be very pretty, but our nails aren’t really designed to withstand nail polish and nail polish remover all the time.

That’s why it’s good to let your nails breathe. Keep a close eye on your nails, too; if you’re noticing that your nails are starting to show little lines, ridges, or bumps instead of being smooth and clear, that’s a sign that your nails aren’t doing so well. They might need a break from nail polish (and maybe a change in diet, too, since your nails might be indicating that your body needs a nutrient boost).

Scrabble red nails

I feel like this shade should be called SCRABBLE RED!

  • File your nails before applying nail polish.

This is important! Your nails will look much prettier if you file them* before applying the nail polish, and then just let them get longer until it’s time to remove that polish. If you file them after applying the nail polish, you’ll get a scraggly look at the tips of your nails.

Remember the order: file nails, wash hands, dry hands, apply base coat, apply color coat (or clear polish), apply another layer of color / clear polish if you like, and apply top coat.

What are your tips for applying nail polish? Share in the comments section below!

*This article contains affiliate links, which means if you click on them, I receive a small amount at no cost to you.

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