Friday, December 21, 2012

Manicuring 101 - How to Properly Apply Nail Polish (+ My YouTube Debut!)

Hi guys! Happy Apocalypse Day!

My Manicuring 101 Series covers all the basics of nail care. I've already covered many of the basics, including the anatomy of the nail, the different types of nail files, cuticle care and more. Check out the Manicuring 101 tab above to see those posts!

It's actually been a shameful amount of time since my last Manicuring 101 post, which is why I had to sort of re-introduce the series above. Shame on me. But I knew what the next post had to be, and I knew it would have to be a video, so I just kept putting it off.

I'm still rather nervous about posting this, but I know it might be helpful to a lot of you, so I'm sucking it up. With that said, please go easy on me! This is my first video, so I'm aware that it's not going to be perfect. But I'll keep working on improving my videos for you.

Anyways, this post had to include a video because what I'm showing you today is something that has to be seen and not just explained through text. The video will walk you through the steps of how to properly apply nail polish!

I know that it seems like such a self-explanatory subject to a lot of people, but I also know that some still struggle with polish application, so those are the people I'm doing this video/post for. I've still added some explanations below in text, but I know it'll be a lot easier to understand with the accompanying video.

Disclaimer: As a professional manicurist, this is how I have been taught to properly apply polish, and I've found that it is indeed the best method for achieving an even, clean-up free application. However, that's not to say that you're wrong if you aren't applying your polish using this method. On the contrary, if you're using another method and getting results that you're happy with, then continue on. This is primarily for beginners or anyone who's struggling with their polish application.

Onto the video!

In case anyone has trouble viewing the embedded video, here's a direct link to view it on youtube.

Step 1:
Apply your base coat.

Step 2:
The first thing I explain in the video is a trick that you can use in order to not flood your cuticles with polish. When you're removing the brush from the bottle, swirl the wand of the brush against the sides of the bottle. This will remove the excess polish from the wand so that none drips onto the brush while you're painting, which can often be a cause of flooded cuticles/uneven application. This is hard to explain, so be sure to watch the video to better understand what I mean.

Step 3:
Place a dollop of polish near the cuticle, but not at the cuticle.

Step 4:
Push the dollop back towards the cuticle, stopping about 2mm away from the cuticle. This small gap between the polish and the cuticle makes for an overall cleaner and neater looking manicure.

Step 5:
Moving to one side of your nail, paint all the way up to the tip. Do the same on the other side of your nail. Again, leave a small gap between your skin and the polish.

Step 6:
If applicable, wrap the free edge of your nail with polish.

Step 7:
Apply your second coat using the same method, except do your first stroke on the opposite side of your nail that you did on the first coat. In other words, if in Step 5 you did your first stroke on the left side of your nail, do it on the right side for this second coat. Out of pure habit, I forgot to do this on two of my nails in the video (ring and pinky), but you get the point from the first two nails.

Step 8:
You can wrap the free edge once again on the second coat, but this is something I choose not to do. I feel like I get a more even, smooth coverage if I only wrap the tips on the first coat, but this is up to you.

Step 9:
Wait for your polish to dry and apply your top coat!

I know this post was super wordy, but hopefully some of you found it helpful! If you have any further questions, leave me a comment below!

I think the next post in this series will be a clean-up tutorial, but I'm not totally set on that. Is there a topic that you guys would like to see from this Manicuring 101 Series that I haven't already covered? Let me know!


  1. So how would wrapping the tips work for someone who has short nails? I don't like letting my nails grow so long.

    1. If you don't have any free edge at your tips, then wrapping the tips isn't applicable.
      If you have just a small amount of free edge, you would do the same thing I did in the video. In that case, because there's only a little free edge, some polish might get on the tips of your fingers, but that's easy enough to clean up later.

  2. I love your Manicuring 101 Series and it's actually the way I've found your blog. Great video, I hope you'll make more of them :)

  3. Very nice job on your first video! Good lighting, the sound was clear, you stayed in frame!I am very new to your blog and have to say that I love your manicuring 101 series, it's actually how I found you!

  4. Great first video! I am in cosmetology school (because there is no local nail based programs) I am learning so much from your Manicuring 101 series that I'm not learning at school. Thank you this series is great!

  5. Great video! I always love watching pros paint their nails. I usually don't wrap my tips but I just cut my nails pretty short so I guess I have no reason to now ;)

  6. The tips about swirling the brush and starting on the opposite side the second time round - I never even thought of that! Thanks!

  7. Watching that video was hypnotic! :p LOL I can usually do a pretty neat job of polishing my nails, sometimes have a bit of cleanup to do afterwards but that was just perfect application from start to finish - magical! My nails are juuust starting to get long enough to where I could wrap the tips so I'll be trying this method for sure!

  8. Your vid is brilliant, its the sort of tutorial that I've been waiting for: simply 'how to paint nails'. Thank, thank thank you. H.C.

  9. I've added your video to one of my posts! Hope it's okay. and of cause I linked back to you! If not, I will remove it!
    Thank you!

  10. Thank you so much for this post! The tip about doing the opposite side for the second coat was really helpful to me. I'm looking forward to going back and reading the rest of your manicuring 101 posts!

  11. Thank you for doing these! I have learned so much from you. And your video was great!

  12. Vendela AhlströmOctober 27, 2013 at 7:07 AM

    I have always loved nail art. And just discovered the world of nail blogging. I found you through the app Nail Design where I looked for inspirations. I've never really thought of how to apply nail polish properly and this helped so much. Now I don't get any polish on my finger. Thnx so much.

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