Picture of how to paint your nails
Think painting your nails is an innate skill that girls have from birth?
Nope! Your wrong! Ask any tomboy, this is definitely a learned skill and that means you can learn to do it properly too! No need for extensive googling and youtubing! Learn here and now and get  and practicing!

Once you know how to paint your nails the right way you’ll probably want to do it more often!

  • nail polish
  • clear top coat
  • fingernail clippers
  • cuticle trimmers/stick
  • a file
  • cotton swabs/rounds
  • nail polish remover

There are tons of nail polish brands to choose from and some downright stink! But don’t let that freak you out! Go to the dollar store, Target, Wal-mart or even Amazon.com and pick up some Covergirl, Essie, Milani, Opi or Sally Hanson. Those are the brands I use most often.

Picture of what you'll need:

Step 1: What you’ll need:

Step 2: Tips for painting your nails

Picture of 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

If you don’t have these items at hand you’ll almost certainly  mess up your nails by trying to accomplish these things.

It’s best to paint your nails on a well lit, clean and flat surface. Don’t risk it by painting on a wobbly surface!

Picture of prep work!
Before you paint your nails, you need to do a little prep. If you’re currently wearing nail polish, take that off before starting this step.

First, push back or trim any excess cuticle. If you do this right after a shower it works best! You could also soak your hands in a little warm water to ease this process.

Then trim and file your nails. Make sure your nails are completely dry before filing them or you could end up making a mess of yourself.

Finally, go over your nails with a little nail polish remover – this will clean and prep them for painting.

Step 4: The first coat

Picture of the first coat
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You will be tempted to put on a thick coat of nail polish to speed up the process. Don’t do it! The thicker your coats, the longer they will take to dry. A thick coat of polish can take up to 20 minutes to dry, while a super thin coat can dry within 5-10.

DO NOT take the polish all the way to your cuticles or the skin at the sides of your nails.

Leave the tiniest amount of space around the bottom and sides of your nail unpolished. They will look nicer, chip less, and require hardly any cleanup at the end. You can see in the photo above that the polish is very thin and ends before it hits any of the skin surrounding the nail.

Step 5: How to check to see if your nail polish is dry

Picture of how to check to see if your nail polish is dry
After you’ve put on a coat of polish, you’ll probably want to keep touching your nails to see if they’re dry.

Instead, try this trick:
Touch your polished nails together – if they stick to each other at all, they are not dry yet. If they don’t feel tacky at all, they’re dry and ready for another coat!

Just be sure to do this with a light hand – pressing too hard can smudge them, too!

Step 6: Additional coats

Picture of additional coats
Chances are you will need at least two coats of nail polish. Sometimes you’ll need three for lighter colors.

You can see above the difference one coat of polish makes. Hence the encouragement to do thin, even coats instead of gloopy ones!

Make sure that your additional coats are thin, that the polish does not touch the skin, and that you give them enough time to dry before adding more polish.

Painting over polish that’s not entirely dry can lead to smudges, bumps, and dents later on!

Step 7: The top coat

Picture of the top coat
Use a top coat if you want to keep the polish on for a while. If you don’t add the top coat to your nails, the polish won’t last more than – 2-3 days tops before you see chips.

When you add a top coat it will last closer to 5 days!

You’ll only need one coat of top coat. Make sure to completely cover the polish. Also – make sure to take the top coat over the edge of your nail. I also cover the polish with top coat first and then swipe the nail polish brush across the end of my nail. It helps seal the end which will keep the polish there looking nice for longer.

Step 8: Clean up!

Picture of clean up!
Once you’re done, you can clean up any nail polish on your skin by dipping a q-tip into nail polish remover.

Now go sit somewhere for a little while longer without touching anything. Smudging your nail at this point is a really upsetting thing to do!

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