Paint Your Toe Nails

Painting your toenails is easier than painting your fingernails for the obvious reason that both of your hands will be free, but don't worry it's easier than you think, just follow these simple steps.


  1. Remove your old polish. Before you do anything, remove any polish you've got hanging out on your toes. Painting over old pedicures never a good idea. Use a q-tip if you must for those hard to reach edges.
  2. Buff the tops of the nails. The nails on your toes are usually rougher than those on your fingers since they're always rubbing against socks and shoes. Use a nail buffer to smooth down ridges and grooves. Buffing helps remove any residuals left by your old pedicure and makes your new pedicure last longer and look better. It also primes the nail to soak up the base coat to protect it from staining.
  3. Clip and file your nails, too. Clip until you can see about 1/16 of an inch (about a millimeter) of your nail extending from the nail bed. Then file to the desired shape. You can do square edges, round edges, though not pointed, as pointed nails can break easily. That and you might hurt someone with them.
  4. Wash up. You need to get all of the nail polish remover off (since residuals can heat up and turn into gas under your nail polish, causing bubbling) and soften your cuticles for later. And you smell like you just ran a marathon.
  5. Once you're ready, use a cuticle stick to push your cuticles back, cutting them with a cuticle cutter if you feel the need. Once they're to your liking and off the nail, you can use a cuticle cream. Wipe off any cream that gets on the nails.
  6. Separate your toes to make the rest of the application steps easier.
  7. Apply a base Coat. This next step can be the last one for you if you're looking for the natural look. For this step, you're going to need a base coat that's enriched with calcium.
  8. Pick your color. Color is a huge factor in how you feel about your toes and yourself Reds are cute the day after when you get out of the shower and wiggle your toes. At the time of painting, though, they can seem a little mature. They're also harder to get off and can get really messy if you don't have a steady hand. If you're worried about coming across as too grown-up or don't want to deal with the mess, pinks and corals are always a nice choice. Or you can paint the whole rainbow on your toes. Just don't make them look tacky.
  9. It's time to paint. Painting the color on is crucial, so be mindful of the power you're holding. Slow, even brush strokes. Don't get hasty. You've gotten this far. Paint a light, thin layer and let dry for 10 whole minutes.
  10. Unless you have a really light color, the second coat should be all you need. Followed by the top coat. Same process as last time. Slow, even brush strokes. The second layer can get stressful. If you color outside the lines, it's okay. When you smudge your toenails, get a q-tip and dip it in some nail polish remover. Then work it over the smudge until all evidence of the mishap is gone. If you remove a bit too much polish and can see the nail bed, just put on more paint. You can handle the situation however you like. You're going to want to wait 20 minutes before you go to the next step, though.
  11. Apply a top coat. Top coat. It preserves your pedicure and prevents chipping. It's the least you can do for yourself after all the hard work you've done. And with me breathing down your neck the whole time. Well, except for the time you were in the shower. Apply a top coat from a brand you trust. Sally Hansen is an exceptional drug store brand. OPI is a bit more high-end. The point is, make sure you don't buy top coat from Jim down the street. Apply one layer of top coat, let dry for 20 minutes, remove toe separators, and marvel at all your hard work.



  • Find a color that suits your skin tone.
  • If you're having trouble with nail polish bubbling, keep it stored in the fridge. It will prevent separating so you won't have to shake and cause bubbles. If it still separates, as some cheaper polishes will, roll the bottle between your palms or turn it upside down, then right side up, then upside down slowly until it's mixed. You should never shake a bottle of chemicals. Even if it's stabilized.
  • Try to maintain your nails when you're not keeping them painted. Cuticle cream, clipping, and filing are not only for when you want your toes to behave. Give them love and they'll return it.
  • Be careful! Try not to paint too far outside the lines.
  • Buy good nail polish. Cheaper nail polishes will have poorer results
  • If you have fungus under your toe nails, see a dermatologist and such.
  • Choose a color that fits your mood.
  • Try some funky stuff if you're in the mood for it. It's like a french manicure but less serious.


  • Fumes can mess with you, so keep the nail polish remover covered when you're not using it. If you feel like you've been painting, removing, and reapplying the same color nail polish for 4 hours because it's not perfect enough, you're high.
  • Please remember because of harmful chemical DO NOT paint your an child's toes or fingers under the age of 3 years old. This could lead to long lasting damage to the toddlers brain.
  • Do not paint toe nails if you have an open, gaping wound in the middle of a toenail. It will not help.
  • Nail polish remover stings athlete's foot, so treat that first. Besides, it doesn't matter how pretty your toes are if your skin is peeling between them.
  • Try not to wear shoes or socks straight away as it will ruin your pedicure!

Things You'll Need

  • Nail Polish
  • Nail Polish Remover
  • Cotton Balls
  • Nail File
  • Nail Clippers
  • Cuticle Cream
  • Cuticle Stick
  • Q-tips (optional but helpful)

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