Tips For Applying Nail Polish forums

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Aug 30, 2007
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I saw this posted on another forum & just had to share it here.

Back to basics.

Tips for applying nail polish.

I decided to start from the beginning, as a lot of girls simply do not know what causes their nail polish to look wrong.

1. Filing the nails.

You should always file the nail from the outside inwards along the free edge, working each side alternately. It is important you don't file them like sawing a piece of wood as this will disturb the layers of the nail plate and can cause them to split. It could also cause damage to the matrix (nail root) if you file them too harsh. Filing them to harsh will cause the nail to heat up which will dry out the natural oils in the nails causing flakiness. Also do not file the nails down the sides as this causes a weak point in the nail and then it can easily break (don't I just know that!!!) The ideal shape is oval, but the strongest shape is square.

2. Buffing

Buffing is done for numerous reasons.

a) If you bite your nails, buffing will stimualte the circulation and improve the appearance.

B) To remove superficial ridges on the nail plate.

c) To remove stains from the nail plate.

I used to use buffing paste, but found it to be a waste of time. When you buff the nails, the movement should only be of a moderate speed and in one direction - from the matrix (bottom of the nail) to the free edge (top of the nail). They should be buffed until they start to shine. If you start buffing them fast, the nail plate will heat up and again dry out the natural oils.

3. Cuticle Work

Cuticles can build up over the nail plate like a thin film of skin. It is hardly noticable until you use cuticle remover. The remover is slightly caustic, so it should be left on the nail for a short time only. You should use a cuticle or orange stick tipped with cotton wool when pushing cuticles back. The stick should be used in small circular movements to prevent damage to the matrix (nail root).

If you have a cuticle knife, you should be very careful how you use it. The knife should be kept wet as this provides a protective cushion to the nail plate. Hold the knife at a 45 degree angle to prevent scratches on the nail plate. Use small circular movements only to remove any excess cuticle on the nail plate. Only use a knife if the cuticles have grown thick over the nail plate

Cuticle nippers are used to nip off hangnails (those nasty bits in the side of your fingers that when pulled out, hurts like hell!!) I also use these to nip off the cuticle I have pushed down if it is excessive.

You should wipe off all excess cuticle remover with a damp cotton wool pad.

4. Painting the nails
(finally..... LOL)

Before you paint the nails, make sure they are grease free. You can simply get a piece of cotton wool and dampen it with nail polish remover. Just wipe over all the nails before you apply the polish.

a) Apply the base coat first. This prevents pigments in the nail polish staining the nail plate. It can also help smooth out any ridges or grooves you may have. It also provides a smooth base for the polish and makes the application much easier. Base coat helps prolong the life of the polish. It also protects the nail plate by hardening it up.

B) There are 2 different types of polish. Cream or Frosted. If you use a cream polish, you should only apply 2 coats. If it is frosted, you should apply 3 coats. You can buy polishes that are made to do 1 coat only, but I still apply 2. The cream polish has to have a top coat, but a frost polish does not. Top coats are used to help prevent the polish from chipping.

c) The polish should be applied sparingly, starting from the middle, push the brush down onto the nail so it fans out (this takes some practice) and pull the brush up to the top of the nail (free edge). Then apply the polish at the sides. You should keep the nail polish brush away from the cuticle and the edges. Let the first coat dry thoroughly or the second coat will look messy and start to bump. If you put too much on the nail, that will also cause the nail polish to bump.

A little tip.

Holding the nail polish in your hand for a lengthy time will cause it to thicken up, keep a cup/bowl of ice cold water handy and put the bottle in it when each coat of polish is drying.

I hope this helps........ cus it took me long enough to write it.....

I have added a picture sent to me by my friend Mona (MonaSmith) a member of this forum. Her nails are a perfect example of how they should look. Thanx Mona


You are welcome. I really like the tip of keeping the bottle of polish in ice water to keep it from clumping. I would of thought the opposite.


thanks for posting this! i wouldn't have thought to put polish in ice water either.

i read somewhere that bubbles can be caused by air movement in the room while you are polishing. you might want to turn off any fans before you start.

ps your friends hands are gorgeous!

I tried the icewater trick & my nail polish never applied better even the cheap drugstore brands. Thats why I wanted to share this.



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