Sally Hansen nail polish remover, OPI Lincoln Park after Midnight (plum) & Don't Know Beets Me (pink),
Avon Nail Experts base coat & Rimmel 60-Second top coat (740 clear)
A few of you readers have commented on my nails always being painted and a friend recently reached out to me about my nail routine. I do always (prefer to) have my nails painted and typically give myself a manicure every Sunday (and a pedicure every three weeks or so - more often when summer rolls around, though). I love the look of painted nails and although it is high-maintenance, to me, it's worth it (and more cost-effective if I do it myself, although getting a manicure by a professional is always a lovely treat). I'm really terrible with biting my nails and picking at them and have been trying so hard to kick the habit (I've been good in some instances, but in others, old habits die hard) because they look way better when they have some length.
I've always painted my nails, even since I was a kid, I remember buying tons of Wet'n'Wild nail polishes, all colours of the rainbow. Now, I prefer OPI, however it is much pricier than drugstore brands, so I save so I can splurge on a new colour every so often to build my collection.
I really feel that the brush of a nail polish makes all the difference. You want something that has a wide brush, to minimized the number of strokes to completely cover each nail. I aim for two strokes per nail, but sometimes it's more. I find OPI's brushes are wide, the polish is smooth and it goes on very nicely. However, I have recently (re-)discovered Wet'n'Wild's newer line of nail polish, which I blogged about a few months ago. I don't find the polish lasts quite as long as OPI, but the brush and formula are excellent., and for $2 bucks a bottle, you can't really go wrong. Enough chatter, let's get started.
Start by removing all existing nail polish by using a cotton pad (do not wash your hands after this, the residue from the nail polish remover is actually beneficial to your manicure). I then use a cuticle stick to push back my cuticles, then I gently file my nails square with a stiff file.
I love this base coat, it goes on smooth, the brush is fairly wide and it dries quickly. A base coat is essential in preventing your nails from yellowing from the polish and to help the polish stick to something.
Next up, the polish. I like to do two coats of whatever colour I'm doing. You can see in the first picture it's the first coat (this should be a very thin coat, but completely cover your nail. Try to make it as smooth as possible, no bubbles, but perfection is not the goal here). The second coat (picture on right) is more important - you must ensure you cover the nail completely with quick strokes to minimize any air bubbles or bumps (don't worry about getting polish on your skin, we will take care of that after).
Let your nails completely dry before applying your top coat. This will ensure you don't smudge or remove any colour. Apply a thin layer of your top coat (I do like this top coat, but keep in mind that 'quick-drying' top coats aren't usually as good as non-quick-drying and may cause your nails to chip sooner (personally, I don't care, I'm in a rush all the time).
Once nails are dry, dip a Q-tip in nail polish remover and trace around the edges of your nails and cuticles to remove excess polish. If your nails are taking too long to dry, dip your fingertips in a bowl of ice water for as long as you can stand it. This will set the polish and you'll be ready to head out the door.