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21 Things Your Mother Never Told you About Painting Your Nails

Your dear mother was probably the first to introduce you to nail polish, most likely with a pink pedicure when you were a toddler. But she probably neglected to fill you in on nails tips and pitfalls of maintaining your manicure. Here are just a few pointers to help you achieve gorgeous nails!

  1. Coddle your cuticles: Raggedy cuticles are eyesores, so treat them well!
  2. Handle your hangnails ASAP: Ignoring a hangnail can lead to picking and nibbling, which in turn leads to chipping and peeling. Nip hangnails in the bud, as soon as they appear.
  3. It’s all about the base: If you want your manicures to last, never skip the base coat — it preps your nails to adhere to color and protects them from pigment stains.
  4. Three strokes rule: If your polish looks streaky or thick, you are probably over-brushing. Try using just three simple strokes, one down the middle, then one along each edge.
  5. Easy does it: Like over-brushing, applying too much polish at once can streak and smudge, making your mani look amateur. Two or three thin coats will give you saturated color that does not nick or smudge.
  6. Clean up your nails: Leaving specks of polish on your cuticles and fingertips looks messy and defeats the whole purpose of decking out your nails. Use a craft brush or Q-tip dipped in polish remover to clean up stray polish.
  7. Quick-dry your polish: If you are really in a rush, quick-dry products can help prevent smudges, but ongoing use will dry out your nails, leaving them thin and brittle.
  8. Ice is nice: If you must hurry things along, try dipping almost-dry nails in ice water to speed up dry time.
  9. Make neons noticeable: Neon polish sometimes falls short of your expectations, once it’s on your nails. You can intensify and protect neons by laying down a coat of white or nude polish under two coats of neon.
  10. Get the right white: White polish comes in a range of opacity, from sheer to opaque. Before buying white polish, swipe the brush against the inside rim of the bottle to test for opacity.
  11. Pamper your products: Like many other beauty products, nail care products keep better when cool. Store your faves in the fridge to make them last.
  12. Go from thick to thin: Polish tends to thicken over time. To get the most from your favorite shade, add a few drops of polish thinner to make it last.
  13. Single file: Do not saw back and forth over nail edges with a file unless you want jagged tips that snag and chip. File gently and sparingly, in one direction only.
  14. Avoid heat: Hot water dries out nails and cuticles, and can even lead to fungus. Minimize hot water exposure, and wear gloves when it cannot be avoided.
  15. Abandon the acetone: For tough polish removal like glitters or saturated pigments, you may need an acetone remover, but avoid it when possible to prevent drying.
  16. Wear a top coat: A top coat adds a protective finishing touch to your nails, adding shine and preventing chips and nicks.
  17. Banish bubbles: Shaking you nail polish is a hard habit to break, but doing so creates tiny bubbles that can ruin your manicure, and cause chips and peeling. Roll the bottle between your palms instead.
  18. Glitter is glam: Glitter really adds dazzle to your digits, and glitter polish tends to be tough and long-lasting.
  19. Jewels, not tools: pliers, scissors and screwdrivers work better anyway and spare your manicure – let your nails be jewels, not tools.
  20. Don’t be picky: Nervous picking and nibbling are hard habits to break, but they lead to unsightly ragged cuticles and nail ridges. Picking and peeling off your polish also damages the upper layers of your nail bed, leading to thin dry brittle nails.
  21. Strong is beautiful: If your nails break easily and feel thin and dry, they may just need a breather. Let them go polish-free from time to time, then build them back up with a strengthening product like Rejuvacote, Duri’s award winning nail strengthener.
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