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Newbie to Nails

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I've always loved nail art and pretty polishes, but my nails have always been terrible and I've always had to participate in activities for art school that made nail polish completely pointless since it would get dinged within a day. This year, however, I've decided to put all those excuses aside and bring myself into the world of pretty nails, even if I have to drag myself there. So, I thought I'd come here and get some tips from the nail enthusiast of MUT, because the nail scene is pretty daunting for someone who wears nail polish maybe once a year.

 

  • What advice would you offer someone who is complete beginner at nail care and art?
  • What start up products would you recommend for a nail arsenal to be reckoned with?
  • What colors of nail polish are the staples of nail art?
  • What's the word on press on nails/acrylic extensions/nail strips?
  • How do you get a smooth application?
  • HOW THE HECK DO YOU PAINT THE OTHER HAND??!?

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I was a chronic nail biter for most of my life, and up until last month, rarely polished my nails. In December, I decided to venture into the world of nails, and here's what I've learned.

 

Application: my first handful of manicures were dreadful, but I learned to keep the finger that I'm painting flat on a table, and rest the wrist of the hand that you're painting with on a table. This allows you to be more steady and in control. You'll figure out how to have the perfect amount of polish on the brush so that you completely cover the nail in about 3 strokes. Take your time, and don't paint all the way into the cuticle because you'll get those crusty borders that you then have to scrub off with soap and water. It's taken me about 10 manicures to finally learn to paint my nails neatly and with more control. It'll be really hard to paint with your non-dominant hand at first, but as you do it more, you'll learn to take your time and train your hand to be more precise. (I really do find that resting my wrist on the table keeps my technique less sloppy.)

 

As for what supplies to get: any colors you like (I started with black, a pinky nude, oxblood red, and a plummy purple color), a clear top coat, nail polish remover /cotton balls/ cotton rounds (or wipes).

I got the Plié wand, striping, dotting tools, and corrector pen from Julep as well, but have only used the wand once.

 

As you build your collection: Zoya is having a 3 free polish deal right now, and with Julep you can get a free first box with a subscription.

 

Have fun! I follow all sorts of nail art people on Instagram, who post video tutorials of their creations. Right now, I am only able to do stripes on the tips of my nails, and glitter gradients. I'll probably try something with my dotting and striping tool soon.

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I'll write more when I get a chance but first: get a quick dry top coat! I use sally Hansen insta-dri in the red bottle but there are lots of kinds out there so get what you want. I swear I would never paint my nails if it wasn't for that stuff.

 

Also I use that elf concealer brush to do my manicure clean up. It's super teeny tiny so I can dip that in acetone and clean up any nail polish that got on my skin.

 

Those are two things I swear by and I paint my nails a lot!

Edited by chaosintoart
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Oh also there are lots of nail strips/adhesives and Ive found they vary greatly. Revlon and essie didn't stay on for me. I've heard incoco is great. I personally use jamberry-they're a little different from normal ones in that they have to be heated up to use and I find they last longer because of that. But each person has a different experience with each brand so I say get what you can when they're cheap and try them out.

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I've always loved nail art and pretty polishes, but my nails have always been terrible and I've always had to participate in activities for art school that made nail polish completely pointless since it would get dinged within a day. This year, however, I've decided to put all those excuses aside and bring myself into the world of pretty nails, even if I have to drag myself there. So, I thought I'd come here and get some tips from the nail enthusiast of MUT, because the nail scene is pretty daunting for someone who wears nail polish maybe once a year.

 

  • What advice would you offer someone who is complete beginner at nail care and art?
  • What start up products would you recommend for a nail arsenal to be reckoned with?
  • What colors of nail polish are the staples of nail art?
  • What's the word on press on nails/acrylic extensions/nail strips?
  • How do you get a smooth application?
  • HOW THE HECK DO YOU PAINT THE OTHER HAND??!?

 

 

Your nails do not have to be long to be pretty. My nails are short and neatly manicured (when painted anyway.) I've done the fake nails thing and while it looks pretty, they damage your nails underneath.

 

I paint all the way to the cuticles and have no issues. I always push my cuticles back before painting too.

 

You have to just get used to painting with the other hand. I've found that if you put it on a curved surface, like an arm of a chair, it helps.... Although I would put a towel down since you are not used to it and might spill the paint.

 

I don't do a lot of fancy stuff on my hands, although I've tried believe me. I've decided to just stick to putting glitter on my nails for as fancy as I get.

 

I would suggest looking at rainbow honey for a sub box, they have a lot of different colors and glitters.

 

Oh and some of the better polishes out there are Zoya, China Glaze, and Essie. I'm sure other people have more to suggest.

 

Oh yeah and press on nails pretty much suck and fall off if you don't do them right. I tried this and they popped off at the most inopportune places.

 

Finally for a smooth application, you do it like this: paint the middle of the nail, flatten the brush out as much as possible as you do. Then paint the other sides. It's okay if the sides don't get completely covered, no one will really notice that tiny bit. You will probably have to do 2 coats minimum. But make sure to make each coat as THIN as possible so it dries faster. You can probably find youtubes with tips. I learned how to do this in one of my classes in 7th grade where a girl was doing a presentation on how to paint nails... she was learning to be a manicurist.

 

Oh and finally finally.....

Use non-acetone polish removers. Acetone is poison.

Edited by kittenbiscuits

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I use mainly gel which is nice because it doesn't have a dry time after it's been in the light. This is kinda hard to learn unless you've seen it done or been to a nail salon enough to see how it's done. The easiest type of nail "art" I can do is with glitter. It's really easy and usually my go to look. I see a lot of stampers online but I feel like I would some how mess this up. Take pictures when you find something! :)

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Though I love doing mine in with different polish combinations of accent nails and such, I'm not terribly skilled at it.  With this said, I've taken a real liking to nail strips lately.  As @ mentioned, they tend to vary greatly from brand to brand though.  For example, the OPI Pure Lacquer ones are made with actual nail lacquer, while some other brands are more sticker-like.  Luckily, the Dollarstore by me tends to carry all sorts of different types, so I have a lot of fun experimenting and mix/matching with the different ones I try. :)

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I just became a nail junkie, after many years of no polish (gel only) because it would chip in a day or I would be too impatient to wait for them to dry. 

 

Thanks to MUT I found Seche top coat and base coat, with these my manicure last a full week with no chipping and it drys in a instant. LOVE LOVE LOVE it!! I've collected over 100 polishes and every brand lasts the same amount of time. 

 

Gel is great because there is no waiting to dry and they last 2 weeks, the down side is removal is a pain and (I could be crazy) I swear the light is going to give me age spots on my hands. 

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I just became a nail junkie, after many years of no polish (gel only) because it would chip in a day or I would be too impatient to wait for them to dry. 

 

Thanks to MUT I found Seche top coat and base coat, with these my manicure last a full week with no chipping and it drys in a instant. LOVE LOVE LOVE it!! I've collected over 100 polishes and every brand lasts the same amount of time. 

 

Gel is great because there is no waiting to dry and they last 2 weeks, the down side is removal is a pain and (I could be crazy) I swear the light is going to give me age spots on my hands. 

Some of the lamps are UV so it is possible! When I had one where I had to cure it for 3 minutes over and over I swear my hands would be tanner when I was done. Once I switched to LED I haven't turned any other shade of ghost :)

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I always use a heavy sunscreen when ever I use any lamp, although I only do gel if I'm going on vacation.

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I know you asked a little while ago, but here are my suggestions:

 

complete beginner? - Start with regular polish. Paint the more difficult (non-dominant) hand first. Use a quick-dry top coat. Absolutely get a small square/angled flat tip brush as recommended by @chaosintoart. It is fantastic to have a tool that is effective for clean-up. (Find a manicure brush clean-up video for a how-to.) If you use non-acetone remover, great!.. but you might want to have just a little acetone remover for back-up if clean-up is really hard with some polishes. Otherwise know you'll occasionally have those staining polishes that might require a few baths/showers with a good nail-brush for clean-up. If you have patience for that, you can certainly avoid the acetone.

 

start-up items? - Get less rather than more as you will accumulate things over time. But the core things are: quick-dry top coat, remover, cotton (or lint-free for less annoyance & fibres) pads for removal and clean-up, flat-tipped small clean-up brush, base coat, your favourite colours as desired, black and white polish for nail art. You do not need a subscription to any polish unless you want one. Basic nail art can be done with a ball-headed straight pin/pencil/bobby pin for dotting and wrapping tape for colour blocks. A tiny paintbrush (or a bigger one that you trim with scissors) will round out the arsenal and give you years of projects, if you want. Other handy household goodies are plastic wrap, drinking straws, hairspray/perfume, and dixie cups. Look each up as a keyword with 'nail art' and you'll find hours or tutorials.

 

basic colours? - They're really only the black and white. Many people end up using these for almost every nail art project. Note you can mix these with your favourite colour and get a whole gradient range. I'd say the secondary 'colours' are silver and gold metallic and glitter.

 

press-ons, etc? - The word is mixed. Many love them for ease or for quickly enhancing a look. Some prefer the diy aspects of nail art instead. The key is to always be gentle and patient when removing things from your nails, because you (or even a pro) can damage your nails if impatient or rushed.

 

smooth application? - Polishes vary. Many advocate thin coats. In practice this doesn't always work for me, but is worth trying first. Sometimes you'll need a thick last coat to allow a polish to self-level. The thicker coat of quick-dry top coat will almost always make things look better.

 

the other hand? - Paint it first. Practise and be patient. Rest your hands on a surface, and know you'll have a second coat to fill in tiny missed spots, and will have the clean-up brush for where it went over the edge. It gets better.

 

other cool things? - Acrylic paint is neat to use for nail art. Five colours (black white red yellow blue) and a brush at the craft store are cheap. Remember you can mix. It is water soluble, so you can paint anything on your nail (on top of your base colour or clear) and wipe off with water if it's a mess. Top it with top coat. Stamping is a 'less fine motor skill' intensive activity compared to hand-painting so most of us like it! But you only need a stamper, image plate, and store card (or scraper). Any dense, opaque, and most commonly black or white, polish will do for stamping. Glitters, rhinestones, stickers, Fimo slices, foils, etc. are great, but the more you get, the more you spend. Try not to fall into the trap of wanting ALL the polishes if you know you'll regret it.

 

Have fun!

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