Monday, November 28, 2011

262: tutorial - nail care basics

This post is all about the basics of nail polish application & a bit of nail care too! Things in here are pretty simple & I do think some of you nail-pros will already know all of the following, but I've been getting questions about it, so here it is & I'll be adding more tips to this post in the future! Hopefully it's helpful to some of you!


When trimming your nails, a square cut nail is pretty standard & is a good shape for avoiding ingrown nails from cutting too deep. Cut your nails & file any uneven or rough spots in long strokes in ONE direction.

Before applying any nail polish, wash your hands and nails thoroughly with soap to make sure they're clean & then towel dry. Then with a cotton pad, use some nail polish remover to get rid of any excess oils on your nails. Coat your nails with a basecoat to protect your nails from turning yellow and make your mani last longer.


Start by taking your brush and resting it near the base of the nail. Push the polish towards your cuticle, being careful not to touch your skin. Leave a tiny gap right by the cuticle.

Keeping the brush parallel to your nail, float the brush to the tip in a single, smooth stroke.

Then starting at the center base of the nail again, and pull the brush along the side for your nail, contouring the edge.

Do the same on the other side of your nail, in a single smooth stroke.

With only 3 smooth strokes, you should have one THIN coat of nail polish on your nail now. Try your best to apply the polish in thin layers & allowing each layer to dry in between. With most nail polishes, a coat or two is enough & some cheaper ones may take 3 coats, so it will take some time... just have your computer or tv nearby so you have something with you to kill the time :)

When applying any nail art on top of your base colour, try to keep coats thin or let all thicker polish (like dotting or drawings) dry thoroughly because it can smear when you top coat.

Finish with a fast dry topcoat and reapply the top coat a few days into your manicure to make it last longer.


Cuticles are a layer of skin at the base of your nail that act as a seal and protect your body from nasty stuff like bacteria & fungi. That's why it's important not to cut your cuticles! I used to cut mine, but one of my nails actually started forming deep horizontal ridges from the damage at the base of the cuticle. There are ways to keep your cuticles looking good and being healthy without having to snip them off !

- moisturize cuticles nightly with a cuticle cream or with an oil. Vitamin e, jojoba, coconut or olive oil are all great choices. I personally use a body balm that contains jojoba, beeswax, avocado, hemp & peppermint. Burt's Bees Lemon cuticle butter is awesome too!

- when pushing back cuticles, make sure not to do it while they are dry. You can soak your nails in a bowl of warm water or just do it after you shower. Grab some cuticle remover oil and an orange stick and gently push back your cuticles & then move the stick in small circles around the base of the nail to take off the dead skin that clings onto your nails.

- avoid using nail polish remover more than once a week & always wear rubber gloves when using harsh cleaning chemicals!

If you have any more tips, product recommendations or questions, leave us a comment!


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  1. Hey!
    What do you do for nail polish storage? My nail polish always get really globy, especially base coats and top coats. It gets to the point where I have to put a thick coat on or else I'll have huge globs on my nails! :(

  2. Thanks Syl!!! I currently do nothing to my cuticles....I think I'll start now that I have good info :)

  3.  Use a lacquer thinner made specifically for polish.  Another tip is to store your polish upside down, then minimal air gets to it and it tends to last a little longer. 


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