It's POLISH, not paint!

Mar 7, 2001

The Bottom Line Thin coats will help your polish dry faster and not smudge as easily. Always apply a base and top coat to help your polish last longer.

"You paint a house. You POLISH your nails."

I am a licensed nail technician. This opinion is based on what I was taught in school and what I learned from working in the field.

According to the Ohio State Board of Cosmetology, this is how you properly apply nail polish:
- Apply base coat
- Apply one coat of polish in 3 strokes
- Apply top coat

Yes, in the state of Ohio, a licensed nail technician must apply polish in 3 strokes. I've yet to find the reason behind this, other than to make your life a little more difficult.

This is how I apply polish:

Clean, Dry Nails
After removing old polish, wash your hands. This removes any left over cotton. Dry your hands thoroughly with a paper towel, not a cotton towel. Cotton towels may also leave behind fuzzies that will show up in the polish.

Apply Base Coat
Your nail secretes oil and this helps the polish to adhere to your nail better. Apply a thin, not thick coat. A thick coat will just cause polish to smudge or take an extremely long time to dry. Make sure the clear base coat is COMPLETELY dry before applying more polish.

Apply Polish
Depending on the type of polish you buy, you will apply one or two coats of the actual polish. Again, apply the polish thinly to prevent smudging. If a second coat is needed, wait until the first coat is COMPLETELY dry.

Apply Top Coat
Invest in a GOOD top coat. The top coat is what protects your polish. If the top coat chips easily, it won't be doing its job and your polish will chip as well.
Before you apply the top coat, touch your nails and make sure they are dry. Applying a top coat over wet polish defeats the purpose.

Touch Ups
Almost everyone gets polish on their fingers instead of their nails. I've found the best way to clean up around the nail is by using a Q-Tip. Dip the q-tip in polish remover and gently rub around the nail to clean up any unwanted polish. It's best to wait to do this until your top coat is COMPLETELY dry.

Better Polish, Better Experience
If you're going to take the time to polish your nails, take the time to find polish that lasts. Higher quality polishes cost a little more, but it's worth it in the long run.

Here are some better quality polishes and their approximate prices:
O.P.I. $5.00 - $6.00
Zoya $3.50 - $5.00
Creative Nail $3.00 - $5.00
(These can only be bought at a Beauty Supply or Salon.)

What Really Matters
What really matters is polishing your nails with thin coats and letting them dry completely before applying more polish. It won't matter if you buy $.99 polish or $7.00 polish if you put it on thick. Invest in a good top coat too. Top coats react different on different people. You just have to find one that works well for you!

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About the Author ID:
Member: Kati Long
Location: Ohio, USA
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