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!
Step 1: What you’ll need
clear top coat
nail polish remover
As far as nail polish, I really love Covergirl, Essie and Milani. They’re the brands I use the most often. Sephora also has a nice line of polishes called Sephora by Opi.
Also, if you haven’t tried glass files, you should! They last forever and work quickly. They’re all I’ve used for the past few years.
Step 2: Tips for painting your nails
Keep in mind that what you are about to do is going to take forever – give yourself at least an hour. Before you start this endeavor, do the following things:
eat a snack
use the restroom
if you have long hair, tie it back
make sure you have a nice beverage nearby
find something to entertain you that won’t require you to touch things
convince your cats they are not allowed to help you paint your nails
Seriously. If I don’t do these things I almost always mess up my nails by trying to accomplish these things.
This time was especially precarious due to camera operation.
It’s also always best to paint your nails on a well lit, clean and flat surface. I never have any luck painting my nails when my hand is not resting on a flat surface. You get the wobbles, which leads to getting nail polish alllll over your finger.
Step 3: Getting Started
Choose a nail polish in the colour of your choice.
Pick a place to paint.When choosing a place to paint your nails, go for a clean, stable surface in a well-lit room.
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.
Take off any old polish.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.
Push back your cuticles. Your cuticles are the little pieces of skin at the bottom of each nail.
Rub the bottle between your hands to warm the nail polish for about 25-30 seconds.
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.
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.
Open the bottle of colored polish and remove any excess from the brush.
Place a drop of paint at the bottom of the nail.
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.
Allow the first coat of polish to dry before applying a second. 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 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.