After months of painting our nails on our own, we’d like to say that the struggle to make them look professionally done is very real. We can’t count the number of times we’ve had to redo our work because of accidental smudges and chips—not to mention the practice and patience we needed to produce salon-level nails on our own.
In case no one has told you about these time-saving hacks and common mistakes, here’s what we learned about getting those perfectly polished DIY nails.
Don’t shake the nail polish bottle
Be honest: You vigorously shake the nail polish bottle to make sure it isn’t dry before you apply it. This is apparently a major no-no according to nail experts because shaking traps air inside. This results in tiny bubbles appearing once the polish dries, which also happens when you quickly dip the polish’s brush in and out of the bottle.
Instead, gently roll the nail polish bottle between your hands to warm up the liquid. If you already shook the bottle, wait for at least 30 minutes to allow the bubbles to settle.
Paint in layers
It’s tempting to just apply one thick layer of polish and go, but this makes your manicured and pedicured nails chip more easily or, worse, look tacky. According to nail experts, you’re supposed to apply nail polish in layers.
First, smear a base coat to hydrate your nails and prevent the polish from staining them. Apply at least two layers of nail polish and make it as thin as possible by only painting three strokes on your nail: one on each side and one in the middle. Don’t forget to let each layer dry for at least two minutes before applying a new one. Once done, apply a top coat to seal the paint.
Drop a bit of oil
Don’t have time? You can dry your nail polish faster by applying a drop of olive or baby oil after painting your mani-pedi’s last layer. Doing so thins the paint on your nails, and thinner paint means faster drying time. Wait for a maximum of two minutes or until the oil forms a bead before wiping it off with a paper towel. Olive oil also helps nails grow faster and keeps cuticles healthy, which is a good nail care bonus.
Wrap your tips
Do your manicured and pedicured nails chip a lot? Wrap its tips to seal your polish and fix that problem. Simply apply the top coat around your nail’s tip or over its bottom edge, following the curve of your nail and ending just underneath the tip. Doing this makes your mani-pedi harder to damage because the extra swipe of polish acts as a protective wrap.
Invest in liquid latex
We all hate painting our nails using our non-dominant hand because of how messy it often ends up. But nail experts say that balance is key, and painting your nails on stable and flat surfaces like a table or desk is the best way to avoid slip-ups. Make sure that the hand you’re painting is pointed away from you, then place your non-dominant hand’s pinky finger down on the table or desk to keep it steady and give you greater control.
If all else fails, invest in liquid latex instead. This sticky gel helps make a barrier you can easily peel off after painting your nails. It’s a practical thing to have when you’re prone to getting jittery and painting outside the nail area.
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