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  • How To

Applying Nail Polish

March 1, 2020

We’ve put together some of the best tips to apply nail polish from our nail polish addicts (NPAs) community. Applying nail polish looks so easy, but is it?

Before you start:

Meredith’s best tip would be to PP. Pee before you Polish. Its rather difficult to do with wet nails, or guttering to have a freshly finished mani smudged. @polisheddiff74

Get Naked:

Magda’s best tip is, take off your fluffy sweater. There is nothing more annoying than that single one fluff ruining the flawless surface of your freshly painted nails. This case is also called ‘the winter nail f*kc-up’ oh dear! @redheadnails


Steffy’s best tip is, don’t paint your nails when you’re in a hurry. Have a seat, sit down and relax. Take your time and enjoy the nice and smooth application of a gorgeous shade on your nails. Give it enough time to dry properly before you put on some topcoat. And the most important thing: enjoy your work. @die_yps_lackiert

Patricia’s best tip is, to be relaxed. Relax while applying your nail polish. Cause nail polish must be fun, that’s all that matters. And of course to watch your favorite tv show, meanwhile in the background. Or, on a more serious note, clean up – every mani looks a thousand times better when the cuticles are clean. And everyone can learn that. @patnailedit

Interuption Free Zone:

Winda’sbest tip is, to make sure you’d have an uninterrupted time to paint your nails. Nothing worse than having to redo an almost done mani because you had to move laundry/wash something/etc, except having a done-but-not-quite-fully-dry mani ruined because you need to take something out of your pocket (true story ????) @polishedandpoised


Katrin’s best tip is, to have a proper working space. Give yourself some space for arranging the stuff you will need. And you need a good light on your nails. Then take your time, choose the color(s) and enjoy the best hobby in the world. @lackkeks

Rotate the Bottle:

Tal’s best tip is, never shake a nail polish bottle. Rotate the bottle between your hands if you need to mix it because if you shake it right before applying you will get bubbles. @nail_art_by_tal

Remover & Thinners on Hand:

Gerda’s best tips to apply nail polish are, to have a remover by your side. Its a mortal sin if you have to reach for something like the remover bottle when one or more nails are wet from polish.  And girls with long hair, please use a hair tie. Don’t ask me how often I dipped some hair strands in the fresh painted nail because I turned my head. You will curse yourself immediately. (Btw I forget to use it most time ahhh..so get used to it from the start of your ‘nailpolish life’) @blingwinkel

Kaylee’s best tip is, to have a nail polish thinner (don’t use acetone!!) on hand for thinning out thick gloopy polishes, which can be really hard to apply and don’t self-level as well. This way, you can extend the life of your nail polish. @nailsbykayleed


Natalia’s best tip is, before applying nail polish, it is necessary to prepare the nails and cuticle well with a remover and nail oil, then the coating process itself will be much easier and more pleasant. And another essential point: you should enjoy this activity. @naillution

Francesca’s best tip is, before painting my nails, I put a cotton bud in nail polish remover and gently rub it onto each nail to remove any excess oil. So when I apply the base coat, it goes on smoothly and without any bubbles (because I moisturise and push back my cuticles with coconut oil beforehand). @knitpunknails

Lisa’s best tip is, to apply nail oil before filing your nails and invest in a glass file. Be sure to file your nails properly in one direction. It may seem like an irrelevant tip for applying nail polish but if you have dry brittle nails like me it helps to avoid breakage and peeling which in turn makes for a much smoother application. @bluejay_nails 

Kathryn’s best tip is, in the old adage: ‘decoration is in the preparation’ applies to nails too. Using a cuticle remover product and carefully removing the flaky cuticle scales from the nail with an orange stick or cuticle tool makes a better surface for the nail polish to adhere to and gives you a longer lasting polish. It also looks a hundred times better if a pretty polish is framed by a tidy, nicely shaped and oiled cuticle. Nothing screams ‘amateur’ more than raggy cuticles! A well prepped nail and you’re halfway there to a good polish application. @my_candid_heart

Get to Know The Polish:

Ivy’s best tip is, get to know the polish, do a test trial first on one nail at least. Formulas differ and sometimes fully loading the brush is impossible (but so necessary for longer nails) coz it would flood the skin and cuticles, so you need to dip twice, sometimes the polish would only dry well and bubbleless in thinner coats. Someone said to clean the cuticles right away. I agree, especially for glittery and shimmery polish that sticks to the skin, but I just sweep the most of it with one move of the cleaning brush without the remover (I have a really thin one) and clean it in detail later, coz I don’t want to risk having the remover dillute the polish while it’s wet. You said one piece of advice…lol @lastbastionofbeauty

Carol’s best tip is, know the texture of your polish. If it’s thin and see-through, probably will make thin layers, but runs straight to your cuticles. If it’s opaque, take your time to get it right the first time with even strokes. Polishes with solids (glitter, glimmer, sparkles,…) will be thicker but won’t run as much. With this information, it’s also possible to know how much you can get in the brush to make even coats – I repeat, even coats @the_dreamlike_world_of_tina

Stabilise Your Hand:

Lea’s best tip is, take your time while working around the cuticles. The better you’re doing while applying the polish, the less work it will take for clean up afterwards. Also, try to stabilize your hand e.g. putting your pinky on a stable surface. It’ll give you much more control. @hummelnimlack

Wipe The Brush:

Emoke’s best tip is, to wipe one side of the brush clean, then lightly tap excess polish from the other side of the brush before applying nail polish. This way you’ll have the perfect amount of nail polish on your brush without floading your cuticles. Practice makes it perfect anyway, so don’t give up… even when it looks like some kindergarden child painted your nails. We all (at least I hope ) have those days. @mission_polishable

Neha’s best tip is, when you remove the brush from the bottle make sure that you have cleaned the excess polish on the neck of the bottle and only on one side of the brush there is a drop of polish. This helps in not flooding the cuticle and the application is thin and even. @nehabothra

The Top’n Base:

Bianka’s best tips to apply nail polish are, to use a base coat to protect my nails from staining. When I’m painting my nails I always work with thin coats to avoid bubbles. Apply a good top coat. The most important thing is a nice looking cuticle area. I always use a clean up brush. @nbnailart

Thin Coats Only:

Lisa’s best tip is, although sometimes I just want to slather a thick coat of polish on my nails to hurry & get a gorgeous color on, that is a huge no no! Thin coats & at least 2 coats of polish works best. Using thinner coats allows the polish to dry quicker & more even. @lmskok

Nancy’s best tip is, three thinly applied brush strokes. First down the center of the nail, then each side. Starting at the base, fanning the brush out and pull gently to the tip of the nail. Since all formulas vary so much, it’s a bit of a learning process to figure out how much should be on your brush. Nail polish is formulated to dry quickly with thin coats, so that’s a crucial point. And a good top coat. Always. @nailatude

All In One:

Dee’s best tip is, pee before you polish, you don’t want to be in the middle of painting when you get the need to pee. Okay, seriously, though lol, my best tip is to get rid of any oils on your nails before applying your base coat, wipe one side of your brush and give yourself time to polish and work in thin coats. @livinglacquered

Sarah’s best tips to apply nail polish are, make sure you leave a gap around the edges of your nails. I see lots of people trying to paint right up to the cuticle and sides of their nails but that’s going to make your polish peel up. The oils on your skin aren’t going to let the polish adhere and will lift your mani sooner than you’d like. On that note, those oils transfer to your nails so it’s best to make sure your nails are very clean and slightly dehydrated before your base coat. Swipe those babies with rubbing alcohol first, let them dry and then put on a high quality base coat. If you follow those steps your mani should last a lot longer and without chips. @sarwhere

Jule’s best tip is, a good prep before start painting, push your cuticles back, remove the oil from the nail plate with acetone. After basecoat start with a thin layer of polish, allow to dry and apply another thin layer, repeat this step until you reach full opacity. Always have a toothpick beside you, a cleaning brush and acetone, and if you mess up, clean it immediately, don’t let the polish dry. Don’t start painting with an empty stomach. Otherwise, your hands do the shake dance, and it ends in a disaster. Go pee before painting and put your long hair back. @schneeweisschens_7_lacke

Lilo’s best tips are, to wrap my tip before painting a nail, coz if the polish isn’t self-leveling or has a special finish you’ll get weird horizontal lines (at least I will).  I do have another odd tip: my finger nails I paint with a distance from the cuticle, than push downwards to the cuticle and after that upwards. Than two more brushstrokes from the sides following a round line near the cuticle upwards. Ok I think many more people do this lol But… for those with a straight cuticle on the thumb: I paint first a horizontal line near the cuticle to get a (kind of) straight line, than wrap the tip (so there isn’t too much polish on the brush) and paint like described before. If I use 3 vertical brushstrokes to paint my thumb, it will never be neat near the cuticle. @crueltyfreesnails


Jasmin’s best tips to apply nail polish are, to take your time, relax and enjoy it. I drink a coffee or a tea while I polish my nails. After I finished it and the polish is dry, I take some oil and massage it into my hand. If I need some more care I take a rich moisturised hand mask and put some gloves on. After twenty minutes my hands are so soft. @pinselstrich

Practise Makes Perfect:

Sian’s best tip is, to practice. It is amazing how good you can get by painting your nails often. I never thought I would be able to paint my dominant hand with my non-dominant hand. @siannoble

And that sums it up your best tips to apply nail polish… woohoo!

Love these tips… shop nail polish now.