At this point in our lives we’ve been playing with nail polish since we graduated from colouring our nails with markers around the age of 6. But while that means we’re decently experienced nail painters, we haven’t necessarily evolved our technique all that much, and it turns out there are a few simple extra steps that will make all the difference for both the staying power and the professional appearance of your manicure. So if you’re also ready to up your skills, watch the video above for the basics, and read on for some extra insight into making your nails gleam like the star you are.
Tools you’ll need:
- Cuticle pusher
- Nail buffer
- Base coat
- Top coat
Step 1: Push back your cuticles.
Taking the time to do this maintenance step before you get out any polish will go a long way for both looks and longevity. Start by softening your cuticles in warm water, then use a cuticle pusher to gently push them back. Turns out you should also use the scraper part of the tool to remove dead skin from the entire nail, which will help your polish to stick better and therefore last longer. Who knew?
Step 2: Buff your nails.
Lighting buffing will get rid of the rest of the residue and is meant to add some healthy shine to the nail, but be careful not to go overboard or it can end up weakening your nails.
Step 3: Apply a base coat.
Do you really need a base coat? You sure do. A base coat will ensure your nails have a proper surface for the polish to stick to, which will allow it to go on more smoothly. It also hydrates your nails and protects from future staining.
Step 4: Apply polish.
Now for the fun part! Choose a colour (we’re never, ever over a classic red) and apply your polish. A foolproof way to apply polish is to take a light amount on the brush and drag the polish right down the centre of your nail, starting at the base. Next, stroke the brush to the left and then to the right, dragging the polish across the entire nail. If you overload your brush the polish will pool in the cuticle area and things will get messy fast, so take it easy and remember you can (and should) do a second coat to even things out. Another pro tip here is not to attempt to start painting by landing the brush right up against the cuticle. Start slightly away from the cuticle to do your centre stroke and the two sides, and then fill in the space by pushing a little polish from that starting point back toward the cuticle.
Step 5: Apply a top coat.
Again, it turns out that patience really is key and it’s worth it to take this extra step. A top coat will ensure that your polish lasts as long as possible and doesn’t chip right away (which we can all agree is THE WORST). Taking a little more time now will save you time later!
Have any great manicure tips? Leave us a comment and let us know how you make your nails last and last. Then, take your mani out on the town by pairing it with one of these luxe looks.
Visit these St. Vital Centre retailers to shop the look featured in this post (check stores for availability):
White long-sleeved blouse: Hudson's Bay, $99
Gold drop hoops: American Eagle Outfitters, $15.95 (set of 2)