I might not wear make-up everyday, but I always wear nail polish. Pretty much every day of the year. Not only because I like playing around with colour, and the application itself feels like meditation for me. Nail polish also keeps my nails healthy. I realise this might sound a little counterintuitive. A while ago someone asked me: “How come your nails look so nice even though you always wear nail polish?” Some commenters have also said something like “I wish I could wear nail polish like this but my nails are too brittle”.
Let’s clear this up: Nail polish is not damaging to your nails. In fact, it can protect them from external influences that really are damaging, like harsh skin care products, frequent washing, detergent, etc. It can also help to remind you to take better care of your nails: If you just put on a pretty colour, you might be less inclined to mess with them, e.g. by biting them or using them as tools to open cans/scratch off labels. Plus, your nails and cuticles will be in an even better condition if you follow a nail care routine as part of your manicure. Using nail polish remover is the only aspect of a manicure that is drying, but as long as you use one that’s acetone-free, the damage really is minimal. So go ahead and wear nail polish every day! But keep you manicure simple. The best thing for your nails is to just leave them alone (don’t ever cut your cuticles!), and only do a few minor touch ups. This little routine below takes me about 5 minutes. I do it every single time I change my nail colour, which is about 1-3 times a week.
First things first: Take off your old nail polish with an acetone-free remover. Always wash your hands afterwards to remove any drying alcohol residual.
Step 1: File, buff and polish – You know those nail file blocks with all those different sides? You only need three of them: First, file the edges of your nails into shape (read this post for more advice) with a standard, rough file, then buff the surfaces and edges of your nails with a slightly smoother file, and then go over everything with a polish side. Your nails should be really shiny at this point. Buffing and polishing the edges of your nails will make snags less likely, so your nails will break less around the edges and won’t get stuck anywhere.
Step 2: Cuticles - With a cuticle pen go over your cuticles to coat them with the oil. This will moisturise and soften them at the same time. After a minute or so, push them back gently with the tip of the pen.
Step 3: Base coat - Always wear a base coat because you never know which colours might turn your nails yellow. Most base coats also help your colour last longer and reduce chipping, because they create a slightly sticky base layer.
Step 4: Colour - For tips on how to apply nail colour to improve the shape of your nails, read this post. If you have trouble staying within the lines, rest the elbow of your painting hand (and maybe even your little finger) onto something; this will make your strokes more precise. Try to paint your right hand first (or your left if you’re left-handed), so when you’re using your more wobbly hand it’s still unpainted and you don’t have to worry about smudging. If you still find it difficult to apply nail polish, just keep on practising. I started painting my nails probably at 13 and I remember they looked less than pretty for the first couple of years.
Optional: If you have any issues with chipping get Seche Vite topcoat. It will solve all your problems
Step 5: Correct mistakes - After your nails have dried take 20 seconds to clean up any smudges and make the outlines neater. You can use a corrector pen (those felt tip pens filled with nail polish remover) or even a normal paint brush dipped in remover.
I hope this helps! What does you nail care routine look like? Got any tips for me?