- Select a shape that’s right for your nails. The right nail shape will enhance the features of your hands and make them look polished and professional – something nail polish cannot do on its own. Personal preference is most important, but here are some tips if you need a little guidance:
- Almond: the almond, or pointed, shape will give the illusion of longer fingers. This shape will look best on those with shorter fingers/ petite hands.
- Oval: the oval shape is the most universally flattering. It looks great on short and long nail beds by adding length while reaming soft and feminine.
- Round: the round shape can make short, wide nails appear thinner while softening the features of the hand.
- Square: the square shape favors long nail beds and complements long, narrow fingers. If the nail bed is short and wide, the square shape can make the nail look even shorter.
- Squoval: the squoval shape is a combination of the square and the oval shapes. This shape softens the hard edges of the square shape, making it a more flattering version for shorter nail beds.
- Need help achieving your personal shape? Check out this shaping guide.
- Moisturize your cuticles. Cuticle care is just as important as nail care. It is aesthetically pleasing, but more importantly, it is health beneficial. Cracked, dry cuticles are at risk to bacterial and fungal growth. By simply moisturizing your cuticles, you lower your risk of this tremendously. Whether you decide to use a cuticle cream or oil treatment is up to you. I use both oil and cream interchangeably. My favorite cuticle oil is Creative Nail Design Solar Oil. It also comes in balm form. My cuticle cream of choice is LUSH Lemony Flutter. They’re both wonderful for softening and nourishing the skin.
- Prevent tip wear. Tip wear is when your nail polish starts to fade from the free edge of the nail. It’s a normal part of manicure wear, but you can prevent the tips from wearing too quickly by wrapping your free edge with polish. Here’s how:
- Paint your first coat of nail polish.
- With just a small amount of polish on your brush, sweep the brush across the free edge of the nail. Some of the polish will also be deposited under your nail tip.
- Follow up with a second coat of polish to seal in the wrap and hide the line.
- Repeat steps 2 and 3 for your top coat.
- Don’t ignore chips. Sometimes nail polish chips. No matter what the formula, brand, or steps you take to prevent chipping, sometimes it just happens. If you’re not ready to redo your manicure, don’t ignore it. I know I’m guilty of ignoring chips in my nail polish for too long or even letting full manicures chip away before repainting my nails. *shudders* Touching up is so easy, there’s no reason not to do it. Touch up easily and flawlessly in just a few steps:
- Dampen a synthetic fiber art brush with some nail polish remover. **
- Gently brush across the edge of the chip to soften the ridge. This will prevent your touchup from being noticeable.
- Touch up your bald spot.
- Add a layer of top coat to your entire nail.
**If you’re on the go, use a clean up pen instead of a brush and polish remover. The effect is the same.
- Remove stains from your nails. This is particularly helpful if you sometimes don’t wear nail polish or if you are a fan of sheer polishes. If you use a base coat regularly, staining should be minimal, but some staining may happen regardless of your base. Here’s an easy way to get rid of those sneaky stains:
- Grab a toothbrush (hopefully one that is not currently being used for teeth!) and the whitening toothpaste of your choice.
- Apply a bit of toothpaste to your damp nail and then scrub away any stains. Avoid scrubbing at your cuticles because damaging them could lead to infection or a damaged nail bed.
- Wash your hands and apply hand cream and cuticle oil/cream.
So there you have it: a few tips I wish I’d known when I started my nail journey. Hopefully I’ve made your progress a little easier. You’re definitely on your way to a long-lasting, flawless manicure with these tips and tricks.
Have more questions? Check out MakeupTalk’s Nail Talk forum.