Paint Your Nails
Perfectly painted nails can express your mood, match your outfit, and reflect your personality, especially now that there are so many amazing colors to choose from. You can go with classic red, happy yellow, creative green, mysterious purple, or shiny blue and much more. With all this excitement, it's easy to forget the fact that painting your own nails (without making a mess) can be tricky. Read on to find out the best way to achieve beautifully polished nails at home, and you may never have to get a professional manicure again!
- Choose a Remove Nail Polish from the Sink in the color of your choice.
- Choose a color that reflects your mood or matches what you're wearing that day. Remember that darker colors like purple, black or dark red will make your nails appear longer, so you should only choose these colors if you want your nails to look longer
- Choose a nail polish that isn't too old - older nail polishes will become thick and gloopy and you'll find them harder to paint your nails with.
- If you really want to salvage an old nail polish that has become thick, try adding a couple of drops of acetone nail polish remover to the bottle, twist the lid back on, and shake to combine. It is also possible to buy specialized nail polish thinners from some of the most popular brands.
- Pick a place to paint. When choosing a place to paint your nails, go for a clean, stable surface in a well-lit room. A study desk or the kitchen table are good options, just make sure to put some paper towel beneath your hand so you don't get any polish on the surface. The room should also be well ventilated, as fumes from nail polish and nail polish remover are not good for your health.
- Gather the necessary supplies. Gather some cotton balls or rounds or professional tissues, some q-tips, nail polish remover, nail clippers, a nail file, a cuticle stick and a bottle of clear nail polish. Having all of these items easily at hand will speed up the nail painting process and minimize the chances of you smudging a nail.
- Take off any excess nail polish. Soak a cotton ball in some nail polish remover and hold it against the nail for ten seconds. Then swipe the cotton ball along the nail to remove the polish. Use a q-tip soaked in nail polish remover to get rid of any polish trapped around the edges.It is recommended to use professional tissue instead of cotton balls as the tiny cotton pieces may get onto your nail if your nails have not dried.
- Even if you don't have any nail polish on, you should still swipe some nail polish remover over your nails before you begin painting, to get rid of any natural oils on your nails. This will allow the polish to go on smoothly and help the color to last longer.
- Cut and/or file your nails. Use the nail clippers to trim your nails if they are too long or have any uneven edges. You want all of your nails to be approximately the same length. Then use a nail file (glass ones work really well) to smooth and shape the edges of your nails. You can give your nails a rounded or a square finish, depending on your personal preference.
- When filing your nails, rub the nail file from the outside of each nail to the center, doing each side of the nail separately. Each stroke should go in the same direction - you should never use a sawing motion when filing, as these may weaken and break the nails.
- Push back your cuticles. Your cuticles are the little pieces of skin at the bottom of each nail. They can make your nail polish application look messy if they are not pushed back before you paint. Cuticles are easier to push back when they have been Soften Cuticles, so try soaking your nails in a small bowl of warm water for a minute or two first. Dry your hands and nails thoroughly, then use a cuticle stick to push the soft skin of each cuticle back to the edge of the nail.
- Rub the bottle between your hands to warm the nail polish for about 25-30 seconds. This helps to mix up the contents of the bottle, stirring up any color that has settled on the bottom. Don't shake it -- rolling the bottle instead will prevent bubbles from forming in the polish and keep your nails smooth.
- Apply a base coat of clear nail polish. Applying a base coat of clear polish is one of the best things you can do when painting your nails. A base coat will give your chosen polish a smooth surface to stick to, will help the color last longer and will protect your nails from becoming stained by the colored polish. Allow the base coat to become fully dry to the touch before proceeding.
- You don't need to be too careful when applying the base coat -- it's okay if some of the clear polish gets on your skin as nobody will be able to tell since there's no color!
- There are two different types of specialized base coat polishes available - one is a ridge filler, which smooths the nails and provides an even, matte surface for painting on, the other is a strengthener, which protects the nails and helps them to grow longer and stronger. If you like, you can apply a layer of each!
- Press your hand firmly on the table. Don't just leave your hand resting on the table (as this might allow it to shake or move), actively press your hand down on the surface of the table, spreading your fingers wide apart. Start with your index finger, moving along each finger towards your pinky. Then lift your hand and rest your thumb on the edge of the table to paint your thumbnail.
- In terms of whether you paint with your good hand or bad hand first, it doesn't really matter, do whatever you feel most comfortable with. Your bad hand is always going to be shakier to paint with than your good hand - but practice will help.
- Open the bottle of colored polish and remove any excess from the brush. Having the perfect amount of nail polish on your brush is one of the keys to perfectly painted nails. To achieve this, wipe the brush on the inner rim of the bottle to remove any excess - knowing exactly how much polish should be on your brush is a skill that comes with time!
- Also take a look at the brush to see what shape it is. Most nail polish brushes used to be rounds, but more and more brands are introducing flatter style brushes, which allow for easier application and less mess.
- Place a drop of paint at the bottom of the nail. Position the nail polish brush at the bottom of your nail, just above the cuticle, directly in the center. Allow a drop of paint (enough to cover your whole nail) to fall on this spot and pool slightly at the bottom of the nail.
- This is a technique used by professional manicurists, so it might take some practice, but eventually it will allow for the easiest and neatest polish application.
- Use the three stripe rule. Manicurists and beauty experts agree that the three stripe method is the easiest and most mess-free way to paint nails. To do it, dip the brush in the drop of paint at the bottom of your nail and draw the brush upwards in a straight line through the center of the nail, all the way to the tip. Return the brush to the paint at the bottom of the nail and follow the curve along the bottom of the nail to the left, before drawing a second line, all the way to the tip. Use the remaining polish to draw a third stripe on the right side of the nail.
- You should have enough polish to cover the whole nail in a thin layer of color without having to dip your brush back in the bottle. If you apply too thick of a layer of polish, your nails will take much longer to dry and you will be much more likely to smudge them.
- When painting the outer stripes, don't take the polish all the way to the sides of your nails -- leave a tiny gap between the nail and your fingers. The gap will barely be noticeable and you will avoid getting polish all over your hands.
- Allow the first coat of polish to dry before applying a second coat. Nearly all nail polishes will require at least two layers, and some will need three. It is much better to apply several thin layers of polish than one thick one -- the results will be much neater and less inclined to smudge. You must allow the nail polish to dry completely between each application - this should take between five and ten minutes, depending on the brand of polish.
- Apply the second layer of polish using the exact same method you used to apply the first. Try to be equally careful -- don't become impatient and try to finish the job quickly, or you might ruin your good work. Allow the second layer of polish to dry completely, then decide if you need to apply a third.
- As you can see, painting your nails is time consuming, and you will need to allow yourself 30 minutes to an hour to do the job well. For this reason, it is a good idea to have prepared a snack/ gone to the bathroom/ turned on the TV before you begin painting your nails, so you won't be bored while waiting for your nails to dry.
- Apply a clear top coat. Once your second (or third) coat of polish is dry, you can apply a final top coat of clear polish. This will help to prevent the color from chipping and add extra shine. Apply the top coat over the colored paint, all the way to the tips, then go around the top of each nail and apply a little clear polish to the underside. This helps to prevent the color wearing from the top, while providing extra strength and support for long nails.
- Clean up any mess. Once your nails are painted and fully dry you can set about cleaning up any accidents that might have occurred along the way. To do this, simply dip a q-tip (preferably one with a pointed end) in some nail polish remover, then use it to go around the edges of each nail, removing any unwanted polish.
- Make sure to do this slowly and carefully - if you try to do it too quickly the q-tip might slip and you'll end up with a polish-free streak across your perfectly painted nails!
- Try to use a fresh q-tip for each nail - otherwise the excess polish on the end of the q-tip will just make more of a mess.
- Apply Foil Nail Stickers. Nail stickers are super easy to apply and are available in an endless array of shapes, colors and designs. All you need to do do is carefully remove the adhesive backing (or in some cases apply a little nail glue) and press the sticker firmly onto the nail for 10-20 seconds to attach. Little Apply Jeweled Nail Art stickers, like the ones shown in the picture above, are popular and can be purchased at most drug stores.
- It can be helpful to use a tweezers to apply these stickers, as the tweezers will prevent you from dropping the sticker and prevent the sticker from attaching itself to your finger.
- Nail stickers should only be applied once your nail polish has dried completely.
- Crystallize your nails. Another popular nail effect that you can do at home is to "crystallize" your nails using glitter or coarse white sugar. While the clear top coating on your nails is still wet, sprinkle the glitter or sugar onto your nails. As the top coat dries, the little "crystals" will become attached to your nails and you'll have a really cool effect!
- Try nail art. Nail art encompasses a whole range of designs and techniques, many of which require a steady hand and lots of practice! With nail art you can create polka dot, flower, ladybug and Do Bow Nail Art designs just by using different colored polishes and a toothpick, or you can get even more creative and try gradient, acid-wash and water-color techniques to produce a unique, eye-catching look.
- Do color blocking. Color blocking involves using two, three or more polishes of contrasting colors to create cool geometric shapes on each nail. You may want to use a thin paint brush, rather than the brush supplied with the polish, in order to effectively and neatly color block.
- Paint French tips. A French manicure consists of natural-colored pink or peach polish topped off with bright white tips. It is an extremely sophisticated look, which can be achieved at home with a little practice.
- Contrary to what you might think, the white tip is actually painted on first, using a special white polish provided in most home manicure kits. These kits may also provide adhesive strips which you can apply to your nails in order to get a perfectly straight white line across the tips. Otherwise you will need a very steady hand!
- Once you have done the tips and they have completely dried, you can apply the natural colored polish over the white polish, before finishing your nails off with a clear top coat.
- Try other nail painting ideas. Once you have the basic method of how to paint your nails, the possibilities are endless! Consider painting the galaxy on your nails, get feline fabulous with leopard print nails or be artsy and express yourself with splatter paint nails. If you can think of it, you can make it happen - with nail painting the possibilities are endless!
- Be sure to use a clear base coat! This prevents staining of the nail and ensures your manicure or pedicure lasts longer!
- Put tape on the sides of your nails; it can help prevent nail polish from going everywhere on your cuticle and the surrounding area.
- The tape will also help you with the french tips.
- Do not put on the nail polish too thick; if you put it on in lots of little layers, it will give it an opaque finish which will look much nicer.
- Start with your pinky nail and work back. This will help cut down on chances of accidentally smudging the wet polish when you go to paint the next nail.
- Practice makes perfect. It takes a long time to perfect painting your dominant hand.
- Put sticky tape around the nails to protect your skin. After adding the nail polish, there is nothing else left to do except to take the tape off. The tape means you won't have made a mess and you'll be left with perfectly painted perfect nails.
- If your nails keep breaking and the nail polish makes them look gross, buy some nail hardening fluid (this can be found in the makeup section of drugstores, department store and chemist shops) which you apply before the nail polish. It will make your nails nice and strong so they look long and pretty when painted.
- If you get nail polish on your skin just wait until your nails are dry and then run your hands under warm water and rub the nail polish off your skin. It won't take any nail polish off your nails and it is quick, easy and painless.
- When painting your left hand, try to have both hands rested on the table. If this works better, drag your hand and keep your polish brush still.
- Avoid your cuticles, and leave a little gap between the nail and skin.
- If you have liquid latex you can put it around your nails (on your skin), and this will just make your manicure much easier since you can just peel of the latex with no damage to your hand!
- If you put some petroleum jelly on your skin around your nails, the nail polish will not stick to your skin if you paint outside the nail.
- Put petroleum jelly around your nails before painting. This will make any nail polish on your skin wipe away easily.
- You can use a bobby pin's round ends as a dotting tool to make cool and fun designs to embrace your style.
- If you can find someone who will let you, practice painting someone else's nails until you feel comfortable enough to try it on yourself.
- Soak finger tips in water with a few drops of dish washing soap (like dawn) to remove all oils from the nails and the rinse with water. Shape, then wipe down with nail polish remover before starting. The will make the polish last significantly longer.
- If you push back your cuticles, your nails will appear longer and grow faster.
- If you shower right after your nails dry, it will make the polish harder and it will stay longer.
- Cap the free edge of your manicure to keep it lasting longer. Water also absorbs into your nail, expanding it and making polish peel faster.
- If you forget to use a base coat under your nail polish and your nails become stained, one way to get the yellow away is to stick your (unpainted) nails into some fresh lemon juice. Make sure you don't have any fingernail cuts, though. It will sting!
- Keep the room well-ventilated, because nail polish or nail polish remover fumes may be toxic if inhaled.
- Remember to always replace the lids on your nail polishes tightly so the polish doesn't dry out.
- Always keep nail polish and other chemicals out of reach of young children.
Things You'll Need
- Clear nail polish (base and top coat)
- Colored nail polish
- Nail polish remover
- Cotton balls
- Cotton swabs
- A flat surface to paint your nails
- Tape (striping tape works best)
- Nail file
- Cuticle stick
- Paper towel
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