Here are some tips for how to get the perfect at-home manicure!
Use ice water to dry your nails in three minutes.
Let them air dry for a couple minutes then dunk away.
When applying a top coat, run the brush along the top edge (non-cuticle side) of the nail.
This will seal in the raw edge of the polish to prevent chipping.
Whiten your nails after removing a dark polish.
Soak your nails in a solution of hot water, hydrogen peroxide, and baking soda for about a minute. Or you could also put some whitening toothpaste on a toothbrush and scrub the stains off your nail.
Erase mistakes by dipping a tiny brush into nail polish remover.
Use an old paintbrush or an eyeliner brush (perhaps the felt tip of an old liquid liner that dried up?) that you don't care for anymore.
The first coat of chunky glitter polishes should be dabbed, not brushed on.
This will help to distribute the glitter evenly and get the big chunks where you want them. If all else fails, use a toothpick to move the chunks of glitter around.
Apply multiple thin coats instead of one thick coat
A thick coat of nail polish will only dry at the top layer, leaving your manicure vulnerable to smudges.
Apply Aquaphor or Vaseline to cuticles to protect your skin from errant nail polish strokes.
But be VERY careful! Any ointment that gets on the nail will prevent the polish from sticking.
Here's how you remove a gel manicure at home:
This is also a quick way to remove glitter nail polish.
Use Band-Aids (the sheer kind) to get perfect French tips.
Peel off towards the cuticle, not towards the nail.
Use nail polish thinner (NOT nail polish remover!) to revive thick, goopy bottles of nail polish.
You may have read that acetone does the trick, but despite working in the short run, it will ruin the polish eventually. This nail polish thinner is $5 from Amazon.
Fix a smudge by licking it.
If you accidentally smudge a nail while it's still wet, you can easily fix it by licking your finger and gently smoothing the smudge out (you can even use your tongue to smoothe). The saliva reacts with the nail polish to soften and blend the surface. (Remember: LICK don't EAT.)
A product called smudge repair works similarly.
Soak nails in a solution of water and white vinegar before applying nail polish.
You could also just wipe your nails using a paper towel dampened with vinegar. Vinegar will strip the nails of any oils or moisturizers left over from polish remover in order to prevent bubbles. It helps the polish adhere better, therefore prolonging your manicure.
Use VapoRub for nail infections.
The ingredient thymol works on bacterial and yeast infections of the nail plate.
Apply thick hand cream before removing polish if you have pale skin.
If you have pale skin, taking off dark nail polish can stain your hands and make you look like you just killed someone. Apply a thick hand cream before removing the nail polish. Soak a cotton pad in remover and place on each nail for ten seconds, one by one. Apply pressure and slide the pad off each nail. Go back and clean up with a new cotton pad soaked in remover to get anything you might have missed.
Try a rubberized base coat to make your polish last longer.
Professional manicurists swear by this stuff. At $7.99, Orly Bonder is a little pricey, but once you try it, you won't go back. The rubberized effect helps to adhere polish.
If your nail polish is B3F, make sure your base coat and top coat are, too.
B3F stands for "Free from Formaldehyde, DBP & Toluene," a standard which many new nail polishes have adopted. If you've ever woken up the morning after a manicure with smudges and dents on your nails, this could be the culprit. If the top coat isnt B3F, it will dry much faster than the polish underneath.
If the air is humid, wait extra long for your nails to dry.
Humidity can do all sorts of nasty things to a manicure, including the dreaded "bubbling" issue. If it's extra humid outside, make sure you wait twice as long before doing anything that might put dents in your nails.
Don't sit near the fan.
You might think it'll help the nail polish dry faster, but the drafty air will just make bubbles and ruin your polish.