How to Apply Nail Polish Like a Pro

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Is there anything better than the feeling of freshly painted nails? Your nails look and feel clean, bright, bold and beautiful. However, the excitement of a fresh manicure can quickly fade into frustration when you notice chips, bumps, and uneven parts only a few days later… If only you could paint your nails half as good as a pro!

Having beautifully painted nails doesn’t have to be an expensive, arduous task. By following this quick tutorial, you will learn how to apply nail polish to avoid chips, bumps, and uneven areas, leaving your nails looking beautiful days after you paint them. Read on to learn how to put on nail polish—the right way!

What You Will Need…

Before you begin applying nail polish, make sure you have these items with you:

  • Nail polish color of your choice
  • Nail Polish remover
  • Cuticle Oil
  • Top Coat
  • Base Coat
  • Lip Brush
  • Nail File

A lip brush will be used to clean up excess nail polish around the edges of the nail after the final coat of nail polish is applied. If you don’t have a lip brush handy, then try using a fine Q-tip, a nail tee or a pointed steel nail tool.

Tip: Avoid using quick-dry or cheap nail polish as these brands tend to dehydrate and damage nails. Although some of the higher-end brands might be more expensive, they are less likely to chip and dry out.

Step-By-Step Instructions: How to Put on Nail Polish

Step 1: File your nails. Even if you are diligent about filing your nails and keeping them in shape and in good condition on a regular basis, take a minute or two before painting your nails to make sure there are no jagged edges or hangnails. Make sure that the tips of your nails are as even as possible.

If you don’t take the time to quickly file your nails before applying nail polish, then you may find out that you missed a jagged edge the hard way. Rather than redoing all your hard work, avoid this mishap simply by giving your nails a quick file before applying nail polish.

Step 2: Select your nail polish. Before painting your nails, you likely already have a nail polish color in mind. If you haven’t yet selected your polish, it’s important to remember to avoid using quick-dry polish or cheap brands as these tend to dehydrate the nails, making them more susceptible to breakage and damage. Do your nails—and yourself—a favor: Select a quality nail polish brand. You will thank yourself later.

If you have selected an old favorite nail polish, do not shake the bottle! Many DIY-manicurists are guilty of this bad habit. Shaking the nail polish will allow air bubbles to enter the polish, which can make it thick and difficult to apply. Rather than shaking the bottle, roll it between your hands.

Tip: You can also add a little nail polish thinner into that old bottle of nail polish in order to make the polish thinner and easier to apply.

Step 3: Start with a base coat. Before applying nail polish, first layer your nails with a base coat. This will protect your natural nails from staining and dehydration, and it will also help the polish stick to the nails.

Step 4: Apply nail polish. Now you are ready to apply nail polish to your nails. Many DIY-manicurists make the common mistake of applying more nail polish than what is actually needed, leaving nails looking too thick, uneven, and bumpy. The truth is you only need three strokes of polish to give your nails a smooth appearance.

First, dip the brush into the bottle and make sure at least half the brush has polish on it. You may need to wipe the brush on the side of the bottle to remove excess polish.

Then, apply the polish, starting at the base of the nail and work up to the tip. Be careful not to get too close to the nail cuticles. Stroke the brush to the left, the right, and then finish with applying polish to the center. That’s it!

Depending on the color and boldness of the polish, you may need a second coat later. We recommend painting all of your nails first before applying a second coat.

Step 5: Clean up the edges. Once you have finished applying nail polish, and you have put on a second coat, the next step is to clean up the edges. Simply take your pointed nail tool, lip brush or Q-tip, dip it into the nail polish remover, and carefully clean up the edges of your nails as well as your cuticles. Be careful not to use too much nail polish remover as this can smudge and ruin your already perfectly painted nails.

Step 6: Apply the top coat. Once your nails are relatively dry, and the edges of your nails are clean from excess polish, the final step is to apply the top coat. The top coat will protect your nails from chipping and smudges, leaving your manicure lasting longer. Allow sufficient time for the top coat to dry (your nails should not be sticky at all!), which can take up to 10 minutes.

Try to avoid doing any tasks that involve your hands immediately after painting your nails, such as doing the dishes or folding laundry. Allowing sufficient time for your nails to dry and set will leave them looking fresh, shiny, and perfect.

How to Put on Nail Polish Like a Pro

Having beautifully painted nails doesn’t mean you have to spend a bundle on a professional manicure. By following the step-by-step instructions in this tutorial, and with a few simple tools, you can learn how to easily paint your nails like a pro.

If you have some tips on how to put on nail polish like a pro, then we’d love to hear them! Add your thoughts in the comment box below, and don’t forget to share this article with your friends!