Thursday, November 8, 2012


Beauty Q&A: Nails 101

Jolie: I have fingernail anxiety. Well. I have anxiety in general but today we're going to talk specifically about my fingernail anxiety. The issue is this: I like a nice looking hand. I admire the sort of woman who always has a manicure. I aspire to be that sort of woman! But I cannot, for the life of me, sit still in a salon long enough to let things dry and then I get angry with myself for ruining the manicure I just paid for but also I can absolutely not manage to get my cuticles looking remotely acceptable on my own, though I am rather good with the painting part of things, and do you see what I mean about the anxiety?

The other thing is this: I'm writing a book and spending a lot of time staring at my hands and also am in desperate need of any and all new procrastination methods because I am the least disciplined writer ever apparently, and what better way to justify procrastinating than to tell yourself you're Learning A New Skill? Well, now I am Learning The Skill Of Fingernail Doing. But... I have questions:

Do I really need to use a base coat? Is the fact that I don't use a base coat the reason that my polish doesn't go on smoothly/gets streaky/darker in one spot and lighter in another?

Yes, yes, yes, yes. Girl, get a base coat! What is the deal? What are you afraid of? I actually know what you're afraid of: you think it's going to add time to your manicure, and to you, time is the enemy. Well, time is the thing the ladies with perfect nails are willing to endure, so... You cannot beat them with magic or a secret product only they know about. No, you can only join them, or keep wishing to no avail. The choice is yours!

First, a note about all nail lacquers, from base to color to top coats: they've gotta be fresh. Nail polish is a lot like, um... eggs? Yeah, eggs. You know how eggs can be delicious for a long time, but if you want to make perfect and beautiful meringue you need fresh ones? I realize this metaphor isn't quite working, but nail polish is like that. You need the paint to be fresh in order for it to work well and look it's best, which means that if you don't own a salon, there's going to be waste. That is just a fact of nail life. I probably get through no more than half a bottle before tossing most polishes due to goopiness, hair and crusty crumb invasions, or color separation. Okay, now where were we? 

In your infinite quest to understand nails stuffs, you went on to ask about how to deal with "two nails that have green splotches on them because the color wouldn't entirely lift off."  The answer? Buh-huh-huh-hase coat! I'm not a scientist, so there could be something else going on, but it seems that bast coat is a lot like a primer you would use when you paint a room, or one you'd smear on your face before using foundation. It not only smooths out textural imperfections, but it'll cover discoloration and create a barrier between the paint and the surface of your nail. You know how people are always talking about their nails yellowing after using red polish nonstop? Base coat protects against that sort of staining. My nails — which never go without polish, and are often painted pink or red — are living(?) proof.

Seche Base is my favorite base coat for a few reasons: 1. It dries quickly. 2. It sort of helps fill the ridges in my thumbnails (they're deep, so nothing totally fills them in). I hate to buff the ridges out of my nails because it makes them thin and floppy and then they eventually break and split. 3. It's actually really pretty on it's own — a sheer, pearly white — so I can stop mid-manicure if I get asked out on a hot date on Nail Night.

Play around, though, to find the formula you like working with best.

What brand or type of top coat do you recommend? 

For a clear, quick-drying top coat, I stick with the same brand: Seche Vite. I think it's excellent in terms of thickness and how fast it dries. I apply rather soon after my last coat of polish, just when it's barely dry to the touch. If you do it when your polish is too wet, it can come off on the brush OR you might get those little bubbles under the top coat. If you wait too long, you might not be able to pick your nose until foreverrr, and also it'll lose its ability to smooth out mistakes you've made in your polish application.

There are also a few "fun" top coats out there that I use regularly. Sephora by OPI has a line of Jewelry Top Coats, and "Only Gold For Me" is in heavy rotation over here at the moment. Also, the top coats in Essie's Luxeffects line are fun, but a little... hm... "young" looking? So I only use those on holidays. With either of these lines, it's not necessary to apply a clear top coat afterward.

At what point do you use the top coat? I know with crackle finishes the top coat goes on over the crackle, but what about with nail art (like dotting or tape manicures)? Glitters?

Last! Always. I personally love the glassy finish it gives my nails, even over rhinestones and chunkier glitter. Plus, it lends 3D nail art staying power. But the great thing about nail art is that it's art and it's yours, so do whatever looks best to you. If you like the look and feel of raw glitter better, you can skip a top coat altogether, but you'll be reapplying your polish more frequently in that case as it'll probably chip a lot sooner.

Speaking of which, do you have any nail art websites that you really dig?

If you don't get too jealous of girls who get to live in London, WAH Nails is the best. And Pinterest. Finding nail art ideas is really the only thing I use Pinterest for. Just search on nail art and scroll for days. That's how I found THESE CALCULUS THEMED NAILS, WHAT OMG.

What kind of nail varnish remover is best?

First, what I hate: those prepackaged nail polish remover pads — unless I'm travelling somewhere that doesn't have a drug store and need to limit liquids — and the thingy with the sponge that you stick your finger in. Basically, I hate any gimmicky nail polish remover. You know what works best? Plain old drugstore brand nail polish remover and large 100% cotton balls. Because I don't have acrylics, I use an acetone remover which works well on chunkier things like glitter — though with some glitter I have to remove the top coat, buff a little with one of those buffing blocks, and then use nail polish remover again. It's a pain in the ass. If you feel like your nails or hands are drying out too much, try Cutex. They have emollients in their removers that'll combat that, although you'll want to wash those off your nails before you polish or it won't stick, so that is some damn contradictory advice right there, that's what that is! And if you have acrylics or wraps, you must use non-acetone remover or you will destroy them thangs.

Am I correct to think that the crackle polish is a good thing to use to extend a slightly raggedy looking manicure? Or am I just looking for easy solutions where there aren't any?

Yes, and maybe? I would say that's a really smart idea, except for it ignores, or is born out of you not using, one thing: top coat. Where is the top coat you applied earlier in this equation? Are you painting the crackle polish over your chipped top coat? That's a hell of a lot of polish to have on your hands. And you're probably not going to put a top coat over the crackle, are you? So that's just going to chip off in a day or two anyway. Again, up to you, but in the face of all of that, I just cancel my plans for the next hour and do a proper job. Which I am not ordering YOU to do, but if you want your nails to look great, then yes, I am. :)

Can you suggest a reasonably priced nail dryer? Like the ones in the salon with the infrared lights that assuredly are giving me cancer? Not the fan-only ones, I've no patience to sit that long.

No. First, UV rays scare me. They're probably safe, but I'm not going to look it up. And second, just sit still for 10 minutes!!! I think it will help you in so many ways, not just in your nails. Just relax and take a valuable break. This whole deal, the manicure, will take less than an hour, start-to-finish, once a week. You should actually be chilling out a ton more than that. Prioritize time to zone out on something like this, m'lady, or you will get sick and DIE. You think I'm joking!

What's the best way to deal with my cuticles on my own? Basically I get a professional manicure every 4-6 weeks mostly so that my cuticles get dealt with, but there has to be a way I can do them on my own. I've had some luck with cuticle cream and/or oil but I dunno... it still feels like I'm majorly missing something that other women know how to do.

Like a lot of shit, cuticles come in all shapes and sizes. Mine, for example, never adhere to my actual nail, so scraping is rarely necessary. They do, however, become dry and crack at the corners, so I need to trim them with cuticle trimmers like these before they start catching on things and bleed. You may have the opposite kind — the ones that look like a paper-thin web has grown between your skin and the white half-moons of your nail bed. If so, apply a cuticle softening lotion like this one, or an oil if you prefer, then soak them in warm, soapy water for about five excruciatingly long, relaxing minutes. Wipe them off and take the flat side of an orange stick to detach that skin from your nail, pushing back toward your skin, but not too hard. A lot of people are squirming right now, thinking "WHYYY!? Nature did not intend for you to remove your cuticles! They must have some benefit?" And they might be right? How would I know? What I do know is that it's really hard to paint pretty polishes over that junk, so if you want to gain a few more millimeters of polish area and have a nice smooth cuticle, this is the way.

Think long and hard before you go the way of the trimmers, though. They are addictive and it'll be hard to quit using them. My best advice if you think you need to trim them by cutting is to have it done by a pro once or twice and pay VERY CLOSE ATTENTION to their technique. They'll start the same way, with a nice long soak in some warm, soapy water. Then, they'll trim off any parts that look "pruney." Go slow and think "moderation," because remember: after the prune look goes away in an hour, they'll look 1,000 times better than they did while you were hacking away at them.

I have Googled up, down and sideways but cannot find out where to buy that mystery pink lotion they use at nail salons here in NYC. 

I'm guessing it's something that comes in bulk. Maybe you could start a manicure supply co-op in your building?

Do you have any sub-$5 nail polish brands you like? Sally Hansen, Wet n Wild, Milani, and Sinful Colors are all ones I've read about. I've had REALLY good luck with the Wet n Wild FastDry polishes, except that they make me feel like I'm 10-years-old every time I look at the Wet n Wild bottle.

Grow up, Jolie. Just kidding! Don't, ever. First, remember that those little skinny brush bottles are all really cheap — like $2 — so you can collect up a bunch to layer over the polishes you already own but are totally sick of. Suddenly you've doubled your choices! Add a hot pink french tip, a few stripes, some dots...

I don't personally dig the WnW, but that is what's great about opinions. My favorite cheapies are Milani, which you mentioned, and Prevail, which you didn't because it's a weird one that I've only found on occasion in random endcap displays at the Duane Reade on Delancey in NYC. But again, if you like it, you like it. For me, the base and top coats go SO FAR in making your nails look professionally done, that the color itself is kind of the least of my worries. The only drug store polishes I don't really like are the ones that claim to dry in under a minute. They may work fine at first, but they tend to get goopy after just a few uses.

And finally, I've been trying to create this effect and am bombing out, so if you know of any good tutorials on the technique let me know! 

Ooh, ooh, I DO know this one! Here's my technique, which I used to do the look above. You can also place the glitters at the base of your nail rather than the tip for an even trendier effect. Okay, here goes:

1. Apply a base coat.

2. Apply one coat of color over your entire nail. I used Essie's "A Crewed Interest," which makes no sense as a name for "peach."

3. Apply another coat of color on your nail but skip the very edge where most of the glitter will be. This is so you don't get 5 coats of polish piled up in that area, which would look bumpy and take forever to dry. Don't worry if your nails look uneven after this step.

4. Apply a thinnish line — like the width a french manicure would be — of fine glitter from a bottle with a skinny brush. I used Art Deco's "Silver Glitter."

5. Apply a thicker sloppy line over almost half of your nail with a chunkier glitter. Don't worry about it being uneven. Look how uneven mine are and it's fine! If you don't want the big glitters, I still recommend this technique, but just have the second coat of fine glitter come from a bottle with a large brush. I used Sephora by OPI's "Only Gold For Me."

6. Top coat on the half that didn't get the glitter top coat.

Previously, in Nail Art: How to Give Yourself an Amazing Hand Job.

Previously, in Q&As: Hair Products 101.

Do you have a question for Jane?

217 Comments / Post A Comment


Don't throw out old goopy polish! They make nail polish thinner -- put in a couple drops to replace the solvents that evaporate out of the polish and you're good to go. You can find it at Sally's, or if you're a fan of Seche Vite look where they sell that and you can find Seche Restore, which is the same stuff.

Thin your polish! But don't use acetone, or may Deborah Lippmann forgive you.


@rewil ooooh aaaand, Amazon is having one of those "buy the top coat AND the base coat AND restore for this many dollars!" things, look!


@rewil Seconded on the nail polish thinner! Seriously, I have bottles of polish I've literally carted across the country for years, drop of thinner, bam, like new.

This will also work for polishes where it looks like the color separated. Drop in a drop, roll the bottle in your hands till the color goes back in.


@rewil YES YES YES THIS. I own hundreds of bottles of nail polish and I will never throw them out because NAILPOLISHTHINNEROMG.


@rewil super late to the game here, but I always used a drop or two of (non-acetone) nail polish remover, and it works perfectly.


CAN be useful :)@a

Jolie Kerr

You should actually be chilling out a ton more than that.

It's like you have literally never met me.

Disco Sheets

Ooh ooh ooh, tape manicures: HOW DO THEY WORK?!?! I have tried every tip (pat the tape on your arm first! remove just before the polish totally dries!) and I CANNOT GET A CLEAN TAPE MANI. I really want to do some cool tape designs now that I have about a bamillion polishes thanks to Julep.


@Disco Sheets Have you tried a different type of tape? One of the nail bloggers I follow uses stationery tape, which I keep meaning to get:



@Disco Sheets Also you can stick it onto a hairless section of your arm and /then/ put it on your nail. It becomes less sticky.


@Disco Sheets Ah fuck I didn't read that you were already doing the arm thing. I use stationary tape because of that very same post above. Plus it's better for wrapping presents with.

Jolie Kerr

@Disco Sheets: My current working theory based on nothing other than two tape manicures is that they work best when you do them over a single layer of polish NO BASE COAT. You can see a successful (if doofy-looking because it was just for playsies) version here. The failed version done over two coats of polish + base you can see at the top of this post.


@Jolie Kerr One thing that does help, if you want to do multiple coats underneath, is to do a light coat of quick dry topcoat wherever you're putting the tape.


@Disco Sheets OMG. So, I thought by "tape manicure" you meant the peel and stick kind. I have learned something new today! I always thought people just free-handed those designs.

Citizen Cunt

@Disco Sheets Be sure the base layer is 1 zillion percent dry before you stick the tape on. This usually turns into a 2-day manicure for me b/c it always turns sloppy even if I've waited for hours. Go overnight. Then, when you put the tape on (doing the arm thing) and paint over top of it, be sure and remove the tape right after, don't let it dry any.


LOVE that manicure! Doing it tonight! No top coat after step 5??

Jane Marie

@janedonuts oops! fixed. :)

Jolie Kerr


First of all, this is amazing and thank you thank you thank you!

Continuing on:

2. I used the Seche base when I got that green stain actually! The polish was essie 'pretty edgy' and so I'm going to blame it and be done with things.
3. That Duane Reade is my Duane Reade, which makes sense since your old place was near my current place but also is HAPPY LUCK for me! Will try the Prevail and report back.
4. For the benefit of others, the WnW I've had great luck with is their FastDry line.
5. I actually have two of the essie luxeffects polishes! I got 'as gold as it gets' and 'set in stones' — the gold is a dud (just boring) but 'set in stones' is amazing and like the silver version of your gold glitter gradient manicure. So now you know what I'm doing tomorrow!
6. I love glitters and do not give a fig that they're too young for me. If you, too, love glitters please go buy PopBeauty's Confetti Glitz it is amaaaaaaaaaaaaazing.

I will have 30,000 more things to say about this post.

Killer Kitties

@Jolie Kerr Can you tell me things?? Like, is it true that you should only file in one direction? Because I find that extremely annoying and tedious.


@Jolie Kerr Glitter is for everybody. It knows no age range. And even though it's a pill to remove, it does extend the length of a manicure.


@Killer Kitties It depends on your nails. If you have really sturdy nails that can take it, sure, file both directions--just make sure you do it slowly, so you're not ripping up your nails. If your nails are weaker, then going in one direction will work better for you.


@Jolie Kerr wait, but Jolie, don't you get scared that you cant keep your nails as clean when they're polished? I feel like the polish stiffens them so much that its hard to keep them super clean, and plus you can't SEE if they're clean as easily. UH.


@Jolie Kerr Was it seche clear? I bought a bottle of seche clear by accident thinking it was seche vite and that shit is the worst basecoat EVER.


@bevrockin thank you for using the term "pill." I really love that expression!

Jolie Kerr

@aintquite: It does bother me that I can't see if my nailbeds are clean, but I have naturally hard nails so the polish doesn't do much to make them stiffer. But since I'm in LEARNING MODE (READ: procrastinating) I've been removing manicures pretty often and getting all CLEAN PERSON up under them.

DullHypothesis: OH MY GOD IT IS THE SECHE CLEAR. BRB going back to Ricky's.


@Jolie Kerr GLITTER! Also, here is the very, very best way to remove it, especially when there are big chunks: soak a cotton ball/pad in acetone remover, wad it onto your nail so it covers the whole thing/ everywhere there is glitter, then wrap the whole shebang in tinfoil! Wait a few minutes once all your nails are done then slide those babies off, dragging the remover-soaked pad firmly against your nail. Done!


@anitabath Yes, that is the best method. I saw a tutorial that was basically that technique but with like a 1" square of tissue dunked in remover and pressed onto the nail for like 2 minutes. I can't remember which British nail blog it's from, but I have tried it and it works.


@dinos The trick is that the tinfoil keeps the remover from evaporating, so it penetrates more effectively!


@Jolie Kerr I don't think I'm ready. but i'm proud of you! i think this is hard for cleen personz!


@Killer Kitties You can also try getting files with very, very fine grit. Not for everyone, but I pretty much swear by glass files. Last forever, just rinse off, aaaaand a very fine grit.


@Jolie Kerr You may be able to remove the stains from your nail bed by using a paste of baking soda and hydrogen peroxide. I've not tried it yet, but I heard that it works wonders.

Violet Strange

@Jolie Kerr Okay, so not only am I'm a little late to this thread I'm going to be the naysayer and say: I've never liked the Seche products. I think the base/top coats shrink when they dry (at least that's what them unusable for nail transfers when I tried) but whatever it is I've never gotten a great result with them.

Ulta basecoat? Awesome in a bottle. And the website is currently doing a buy two/get two deal on all their polishes! Sally Hansen Acrylic No-Chip top coat is currently a week old on top of an old bottle of polish (and branches of plum blossoms painted in acrylic paint) and still shiny and chip-less.

Green polish can be dangerous. I have used $.99 bright red polish with no basecoat and been fine, but I am *still* growing out icky yellow nails that were the result of a lovely lime-ish green 4 months ago. I've tried everything to make it go away with no luck.




@antarcticastartshere ME TOO! Brand makes a difference, I think - the Sephora one is magic.


@themegnapkin Natalie Dee, who writes Superpoop, Married to the Sea and the eponymous Natalie Dee comics, has a blog where she writes about makeup and nail shit (I know, I couldn't be in love with her more) and she is super no nonsense, hates gimmicks, and she LOVES the Sephora sponge jar. I like it because you can shove your glittered finger in there and just stay put for 30 secs or so and then pull it out and rub the motherfucker with a cotton ball and all the glitter goes away. Removing glitter polish is TEH WURST.


@DullHypothesis LINK PLS



Read her post about "Who put guilt and shame in my lotion!?" it's a great takedown of the whole beauty industrial complex of buying fancy bullshit science cream and serums.


@DullHypothesis This is my favourite makeup blog ever.


@antarcticastartshere I love it too, but it always makes me feel like I should take my sponge jar out for dinner and drinks before just shoving my finger in and wiggling it about.


@themegnapkin I, uh, have the CVS brand one. It is good. Way faster than cotton balls. Now that I know there is a Sephora one I want the Sephora one.


@DullHypothesis I bought that Sephora sponge polish remover because of that post! I have not painted my nails in a while though, because, you know, hurricane, so I haven't yet tried it. I have loved Natalie Dee for so long, and SIPOMF is the greatest.


@kellyography Meeee tooooo! I just manicured myself last night for the first time in a while, and I almost can't wait to take it off just so I can stick my fingers in the Sephora pot.


@DullHypothesis I totally thought the pic said brain dissolvant at first. (zombie!)


On the cheap nail polish front: I've had good luck with the "confetti" brand, which is usually pretty well-stocked at CVS. I also really like Urban Outfitters' offerings, which tend to be awesome colors and cute square bottles and they usually have on a 2-for-$8 deal.


I used to love me some Seche Vite. It dries SO FAST. However, my manicures were not lasting. I got major chippage. Like, the entire nail's worth of polish would just peel off within a day. Lately I have been using Essie's Good To Go as my quick-dry top coat. It doesn't dry quite as quickly, but it is still really quick, and the manicure lasts a lot longer. Ulta stocks some good colors of their house brand, and they are often on sale around $2 a bottle. I really love their multi-colored glitter called "Pinata-Yada" which looks good over black or hot pink.

Also, has anyone ever tried the Konad stamping plates? I like using them, but it does require some time and set up.


@bevrockin I enjoy the set-up and the process with Konad stamping, but I am just ... not very good at all at it, yet. I see pictures of other people's manicures with their straight lines and all and figure I just have to practice more. I got the Bundle Monster plates off Amazon, and they have some really cute designs.

And for top coat, I just go with the plain ol' Sally Hanson quick dry stuff in the red bottle. I have SV, but I save it for when I'm going for a total glitterbomb look. NYC's Grand Central Station is also good, according to the ladies over at MUA's nail board.


@rewil I have not broken down and bought the Konad special polish. Maybe that would make a difference. My stamps aren't especially straight, but I guess you have to be OK with that. Most folks are super impressed with the results.


@bevrockin I swore by Seche Vite for a long time despite the entire manicure peeling off whole (tip: roommates and lovers do NOT think it's cute when you line up all your "homemade fake nails" on the table) and the SHRINKAGE (man, I hated the shrinkage) and the whole bottle getting so thick and gummy after so long, and I am here to tell you: Butter London P.D. Quick Topcoat!! It's not quite as fast or glassy-finished as Seche Vite, and it's stupidly expensive for a top coat, but it's beautiful and it lasts a long time and the manicures... the manicures last so very long with no chipping or peeling or shrinking!


@bevrockin I don't have the Konad polish, either, but I figure what I do now is good enough, and I'll improve over time? I'd rather spend money on more plates if anything.


@bevrockin - I have the Konad thing (or maybe I threw it away by now?) and I just could. not. figure. it. out. I couldn't get any polish on the actual stamper, no matter which polish I tried. I don't get it.


@bevrockin Sally Hansen Insta-Dri anti-chip topcoat omg. I love this stuff. I used to use the Revlon quick dry, which was... fine, but the Sally Hansen spreads a lot thinner and really does set touch dry in 30 seconds. And if you've done basecoat etc, the manicure lasts forever - way longer than it takes me to get bored and start thinking about what I could do next.


@bevrockin I had the same problem with Seche Vite! It made my nails look amazing, but only for like a day. I switched to Revlon fast dry topcoat - it doesn't look quite as good, but it lasts way, way longer for me.


@bevrockin to chime in with all the quick dry sprayers -- I use the Sephora by OPI quick dry spray -- works well enough for me, not too expensive, and lasts a long time (unlike our nail polishes, I guess :/)


@KeLynn Did you take out the plastic film from the discs? It's a common mistake.


Wait, if you wait too long to put the topcoat on, the whole thing takes longer? I sort of thought the more time in between coats the better. Is this why I always ruin my home manicures??


@twirl2 Yes and no, its tricksy. If the polish isn't bone-dry, you can sometimes use the top coat application to smooth out any bumps/bubbles in the polish. Think Goldilocks.


@twirl2 : Seche Vite top coat needs to be applied while your last coat of color is still wet. Its whole deal is that it penetrates all of your polish and dries it really fast (plus makes it super glossy).

I will also take this opportunity to say that Zoya's "Remove +" is the best remover EVER. Also, flip-top spill proof pump dispenser! Then get the huge bottle and refill from that!


@collier I love the Remove+ dispenser! I refill it with the homemade version of Remove+, though. Acetone + water + glycerin + some random BPAL imp so it smells good like Remove does. I use Loodie's recipe: http://loodieloodieloodie.blogspot.com/2011/07/moisturize-your-nails-with-acetone.html


@twirl2 - Yeah, what? If I put a topcoat on when it's anything but bone-dry, it takes FOREVER to dry. Like, don't even bother putting a topcoat on at all because it will be more time-consuming than if you just re-paint your nails in 3 days.


Everybody knows the trick to painting your fingernails, right? Where you start by painting your DOMINANT hand first? So if you're a righty, you paint the nails on your right hand first, then switch and do your left hand second. If you're a lefty, do left hand first, then right. It's weird and counterintuitive, but I get a much better, less smeary result, because you're not trying to both paint with your off hand AND keep the nails on that hand from touching each other. (took me years to figure that out.)
Also, base coat and quick-drying top coat are absolutely necessary, they instantly turned my pedicures from sad raggedy smears to gleaming works of miniature art.
Also also: if you layer three or four coats of that Sephora Jewelry top coat in "Flurry Up", you get astounding disco-ball nails. I highly recommend it.

Violet Strange

@area@twitter The paint your dominant hand first thing never works for me. I think it's because I'm so used to holding things in my right hand that I forget those nails are wet and always press a nail against the handle, whereas the only time I do detailed work with my left is on my nails so that hand basically *learned* to hold a brush without touching the wet polish.


DONT'T THROW OUT YOUR OLD POLISH! Is it separated? Shake it! Lots of even *new* polishes do that. No big.

Is it thick and gloopy? Get ye to a nail supply store and buy a bottle of polish thinner. Perfect Ten and OPI both make good ones. Keep adding a few drops at a time until it's the right consistency.

Your Seche Vite will also get thick and gloopy halfway through the jar. At said beauty supply store (I like nailsupplies.us and victorianailsupply), get the SV "pro kit" for super duper value, plus a bottle of Seche Retore to fix your SV when it gets thick and stringy.


I have a truly disgusting amount of nail polish (some opened, a lot still good, some unopened, and it's all OPI and Essie) and I never, ever, ever paint my nails anymore. I have painted them two or three times since May and hated it and removed it the same day. I used to be one of those people who never ever had unpainted nails and I've flipped. Is this normal? What do I do with all my nail polish? Can I donate it somewhere?

That said I want to do that manicure above, like, right now. I love it.



I got back into painting nails by having me time once a week, where even if I have the dude over I'm like "hold up bish, it's nail time." Kind of like taking BCP.


@Ellie Ugggh, and I didn't get back to edit this in time, but I also got back into polishes by doing seasonal ones. Like, oh it's fall, time for burgundy. I was having issues with getting all sad that summer was over so my plan to make myself less sad last fall was to eat a lot of mint chocolate things and give myself snowflake manicures. It worked!


@Ellie *raises hand* Seconding DullHypothesis, I will take those off of your hands. Hehhee.

I have a terrible habit of chewing my nails to the quick and bleeding unless I pain my nails. So in that sense...its kind of easy? Hah. Paint the suckers, or have bleeding hands, pretty much.


@celeec4@twitter Yes, also this, I paint my nails so I don't compulsively clean underneath them, which was making them all sickly.


@Ellie Sharepin your nail polish collection!


@Ellie If you're up for selling, polishsale.livejournal.com is very active. But for donations, I imagine you could call just about any women's shelter and they'd be happy to take it. :)


@Ellie I was going to say GIVE IT TO ME NOW but I really like that idea of donating it to women's shelters.

(But if you don't, I WILL BUY IT OFF OF YOU.)


@DullHypothesis Seriously, people don't believe me because I keep my nails painted, but when I get too busy to do a proper job and don't bother, then they're like, OHMYGODSTOPITISEEBLOOD. And I just, kind of continue to omnomnom my nails.

The Lady of Shalott

THIS POST IS RELEVANT TO MY INTERESTS. I just got a gel manicure done this week for the first time. And the manicurist was not great, but I am IN LOVE with how hard-wearing the gel is so far!

Also also: CUTICLES. Oh my god. My cuticles are always nasty and growing every which way, but I'm afraid if I get a cuticle nipper I will NEVER STOP CLIPPING them. Ever. Until I don't even have fingers any more because I nipped them away. (I used to have this weird little tool that was like a scraper, but super sharp, so you could dig-and-slice your cuticles away? God, it was awful but SO ADDICTIVE.)


@The Lady of Shalott I'm fucking addicted to clipping my cuticles. The only cure is to do a full on manicure with the soak and such, so your literally duplicating what they do at the salon, so I tell myself "if you're doing it longer than Miko (heyyyy Miko, my manicurist) you are doing it TOO MUCH!


I recently started painting my nails again for the first time since I was a glitter-obsessed 13-year-old and I DO NOT GET how you other ladies keep it up. My polish always chips within a day (even with a base and/or top coat), and removing it takes forever so I end up with awful-looking raggedy paint on my nails most of the time.

Will someone please enlighten me about the secrets to maintaining decent-looking polish that does not take the length of an entire episode or Parks and Recreation to remove?


@crocuta Do you type a lot at work? I type a lot at work so I get a lot of chips. I recommend Orly bonder base coat, it's good at keeping away chips, and if you do a thick enough coat of nail polish (especially glitter) if you ever want to take it off you just gently nick at the sides and the whole nail will pop off. That being said I change my nail polish twice a week for this reason, cause poppin' the nails off is weirdly satisfying.


@crocuta : My nails are always short, thin, and weak -- which is not helped by always doing things with my hands and not wearing gloves when I wash things. But! With the right stuff, I can get two days out of a manicure...and by that time I want a new color anyway.

1) Good base coat. Nubar Foundation and Zoya Anchor work best for me.

2) Good polish. There are exceptions, but if it was a dollar at the drugstore? Probably not good. Still, even some expensive brands chip like crazy on me (Rescue Beauty Lounge).

3) Too many coats / too thick will make it chip or peel faster, especially if you have thin bendy nails like me. Also, SOLID DENSE GLITTERS can have too much glitter/ not enough lacquer binding them and can chip fast (China Glaze, but I wear them anyway).

4) Get a large-ish cotton round, saturate with remover, mash across all four nails and hold it on with your thumb for about 30 seconds (a minute or so for glitter). Be sure there's plenty of remover on it - wet, but not dripping. After 30 secs (more for glitter), it'll pretty much slide right off.

xo, a glitter-obsessed 40-year-old.


@collier GLITTER 4 LIFE.


@DullHypothesis : FUCK YES. I'm going to be wearing that shit when I'm seventy. Because what, it's only acceptable to wear sparkly stuff on your hands if it's in the form of jewelry? Suck my dick if I had one, I'm wearing glitter.


@collier Man, Imma have blue hair and glitter with me in my fucking grave. FUCK THA HATERZ. I had a boss who complained about my glitter nail polish to me so I reported him to HR. MY NAILS, MY BODY, FUCK Y'ALL.


@DullHypothesis : OMG, the super-dense China Glaze glitters (including the one named "OMG") do that one me, and I enjoy the crap out of it.


@collier @DullHypothesis I am with you both. MOAR GLITTER PLZ. (And also flakies! And duochromes. And holos. All the shinies 4eva, basically.)


@rewil : Flakies OVER duochromes and holos. I'ma do that again tonight, as I am currently rocking 80% chipped off BL British Racing Green, but I have lots of cleaning and stuff to do today.


@rewil Sephora's It's Real 18k Gold Topcoat is still stupidly expensive even at 50% off but my god, it's the most beautiful glitter/flaky/GOLD in the world. Plus, you can quote Austin Powers in Goldmember even more than I assume you usually do. I LOVE GOOOOOLD.


@anitabath I still quote that movie all the time because I'm horrible. Smoke and a pancake?


@crocuta Also, regarding how your mani chips within a day: Talk to me. What brands are you using, what's your procedure? How thick are your coats? Even cheap polish should last longer than a day with a top and base coat, so maybe we can tweak what you're doing so you get more wear time.


@collier I use the zoya basecoat and either zoya or OPI polish, usually. I usually do one thin base coat, then two thin layers of polish. I do type a lot, maybe that's it?

Thank you for responding, I definitely need the help!


@DullHypothesis Popping off nails sounds amazing! I don't know if I could keep myself from doing it every day.


@crocuta What do you do before you apply the basecoat? Lotion? Anything? Make sure your hands are 100% clean and free of anything lotion-y, including polish remover that isn't acetone. I wipe mine down with acetone before I put down a base coat. There are primers out there, too, but I think acetone would do the trick. Also, make sure there's no time for your nails to get all icky in between base and first coat of polish. And you need top coat! Zoya and OPI are both good polishes, but you definitely need a topcoat. When you apply it, you'll want to drag it over the tips of your nails (the top tips, the edges of them...am I making sense?) to seal them. It'll help prevent chipping.


@DullHypothesis ...I had a boss who did snarked about my polishes once. Think he thought it was funny. Didn't cry when I got let go, instead made friends take me out to the bar to celebrate.


@catsuperhero : Yeah, definitely make sure you don't have any lotion/oils on your nails before starting. The thing that makes the biggest difference for me re: not chipping or peeling is KEEPING MY HANDS OUT OF WATER. Seriously.


@crocuta It's addicting. I really really really try not to do it, especially because often times I'm going straight from work to a show and I want to look nice when I'm performing, but OH WELL, it happens.

Ladies Who Punch

Seche Vitae! For REALZ!!!


OK, so I have found a really great nail polish remover wipe, and they will seroiusly change your life. It's THESE, and bonus, they smell like oranges.

Oh also if my Gnome is from the States I kind of want that Seche Vite base/topcoat really bad hint hint


@Megano! you forgot the link!


@redheaded&crazie Ahh! No, I just forgot that editing a comment breaks EVERYTHING.

Here we go again

Ladies Who Punch

Also, maybe do your nails while watching some sort of trash TV? It makes me feel like I've done something other than watch an hour of Castle.


@Brewing Mischief Or sports. A number of us football fans around here know that the third quarter is called the Pedicure Quarter. (holla, football ladies! Check out my sweet Redskins pedicure- burgundy base, gold glitter top coat!)


Okay, nail time. This post is relevant to my obsessions., and some expertise.

1) Echoing everyone else, polish thinner. Don't waste your old polishes. Polishes get goopy when parts of them evaporate (no joke). Thinner adds those chemicals back in. And acetone seems like a good idea, but in reality will break your polishes down. Don't do it.
2) You should be keeping the necks of those bottles clean, anyhow--each time you go to use your polish, take a cotton ball soaked in remover and clean the dried remnants off the neck of the bottle. It will extend the life of the polish.
3) Cuticles! Well, number one, the pink lotion in salons...don't worry about it. Get a good lotion that doesn't have alcohol as the main ingredient and use it like crazy. Number two, cuticle oil. Morning, night, whenever your cuticles are dry. Olive oil, if you don't feel like buying cuticle oil! Jojoba oil! Hell, butter. The point is, apply lipids.
3a) Trimming cuticles! Okay, trimming them is a pain, but the majority of the time, you should be using cuticle remover and pushing them back. There are a bunch of good removers on the market, both high-end and drugstore. I use Deborah Lippmann's ($20, Nordstrom) and love it. Apply, let sit, push cuticles back, use stick to get off dead stuff. Ew, I KNOW. Repeat if necessary. Don't let your cuticles go for weeks between removing/pushing--push them back regularly! Get a good pusher, and do it anytime your cuticles are well-moisturized. I do mine almost every morning in the shower. Not kidding! Perfect time. If you NEED to trim them, I can't recommend Tweezerman's trimmer enough. I bought mine in a mini-kit that Sephora carries, and it's essentially super-sharp ended tweezers. You'd be amazed how much easier it is to trim a hangnail with them rather than the pliers-shaped trimmers. If you're terrified of trimming, do the pushing and use a remover, and see a professional every once in awhile for a good trim.
4) Base and top coat. Yep, important. Find those that work for you, though! A lot of people love Seche; I'm a butterLONDON fan. It's worth putting a few extra bucks into your base and top coats; they'll extend the life of your polish. If you're a huge glitter fan and want something that will even out the glitter and help it stay put, go find some Gelous.
5) Glitter! A pain in the ass to remove. Unless you use the foil trick. Soak pads in nail polish remover (honestly, I use 100% acetone), wrap them around each finger, and wrap each finger in foil. Leave on for about ten minutes. Glitter will slide off much more easily. I find that non-acetone removers don't do a whole lot for glitter removal, so grab one with acetone.

I can recommend some fast-dry topcoats that I apply when the polish is wet--Essie Good to Go, Poshe top coat, butterLONDON Hardwear, Rescue Beauty Lounge top coat. If your topcoat dries and it looks like it shrunk around your polish, find another topcoat; that one's not working for you.

Also, a fabulous nail resource that's pretty cheap is Ji Baek's book Rescue Your Nails. It will tell you just about everything you want to know.



Jolie Kerr

@collier I ALSO MADE MY OWN POLISH. It was exhilarating.

Also this is the technique I use to remove my glitters because I can't even fathom having the patience for the tinfoil thing.


@Jolie Kerr : It is SO FUN. The funnest part is buying glitter by the half pound...and then sticking your hand down in the bag.

That's basically how I remove glitters, but I use a cotton pad rather than a ball so I can use my thumb to hold it against all four fingers. Efficient! Also, that aforementioned Zoya remover pump bottle makes it really easy to thoroughly saturate your cotton without getting it everywhere.


@collier SO IN. I have yet to go down the glitter rabbit hole...I did in high school a lot and now I think I have a mental block? So I stick to shimmers and cremes for the most part. A friend just sent me a decant of a NerdLacquer though, and OH THE SHINY. OH GOD THE SHINY. But because I will never ever pay for NerdLacquer, seriously, you make your own polish? Enlighten me! :)

Also: OH YEAH ZOYA REMOVER!! I feel actual shame that I forgot to mention how awesome this stuff is.


@catsuperhero : Uhhh...funny you should mention that one brand....


@collier HAHAHAHAHA should I just ask you how many you have, which ones, and if you have swatch pictures? :)

Full disclosure: Even though I say I won't pay for Nerds (my downfall is RBL; I finally justified it by limiting my polish to almost-without-exception RBL), I will probably most definitely pay someone for Event Horizon, because OMG blue teal glitter perfection.


@catsuperhero Question, expert:

My nails flake off ALL THE TIME. Like, big flakes of them will come off. I noticed when I ate nothing but meat nonstop in Germany this summer I no longer had this problem; so to fix it now that I'm home do I take iron/protein supplements or is the lotion everyone talks about?


@'riella Wait, your actual NAILS? Not your polish?


@catsuperhero : I have all of them, because NerdLacquer is me. And yes I disappeared off the face of the earth, and yes I will be back very soon, and shortly there will be a very long post on my G+ page asplaining where the hell I went, but I won't get into it here because this is a happy thread in a happy place.

Also I hate that RBL works on you. That shit is flaking off my nails in eight hours or less. Booooo.



I haz a happy, and I know a lot of other people will, too. Well, except those who are trying to sell your stuff for $60/bottle. They won't be. But oh, I hope you're well! A lot of people have been hoping you're okay and doing well, you know that, right? I hope you know that!

RBL works on me because I don't use their base and top coat. Their top coat is good for most people, which is why I recommend it as a good high-end option, but seriously...it didn't work on me at all until I switched to butterLONDON. You've tried other products with their color?


@collier And also: My god, Event Horizon. And Entirely Unlike Tea. Seriously, was not a glitter person at all until I saw swatches, and then went OH MY. Nom nom nom.

Jolie Kerr

@collier Wow hi BRB getting Jane!


@collier OHMYGOD YESSSSSSS. *does a dance at work*

(Like, seriously? I've been hoarding my bottle of Warrior Ethos as my precious and I deeply need a refill. Omg, hope everything's been okay!)


@celeec4@twitter : Aw, geez, thanks you guys! It is really, I can't even tell you, so nice to see the enthusiasm. I just now posted a Big Long Thing on my GooglePlus page, which I should have done ages ago and I feel really bad about that but whatever, we all do what we can do, right? Right. (Deep breath) aaaaanyway.

WHATEVER with your Rescue Beauty working with other tops/bases I have tried SO MANY and it's chiptastic on me. The colors I have are from a few years ago, maybe they're better now? Perhaps I'll try again...


@collier Just read; and (despite what you indicated) man, I am sorry. I'm glad you're holding up and life is getting better, and you had every right to just shut up and go away--I seriously don't think you need to feel badly about it.

Also, your mother sounds like one hell of a lady. A tip of the hat to her, and you.

I am (even though totally a newbie!) very excited that professionally, though, you're back. I'm going to go get the last wee drops out of my Event Horizon on my nails in honor. :)

I am also sad that you are on the west coast and I am in Ohio, because MANICURE PARTY.

And as to RBL--which colors did you have? Ugh, I will be sad if they just all chip on you...Ji's ability with shimmer is ridiculous. A few definitely wear better than others, though. I'm thinking that I could send you a few of mine to try? That way if they work, great...if they don't, you're not stuck with polish that doesn't work for you that's $20/bottle and non-exchangeable? Try them, do a few manis, send back? Lemme know; it's a hell of a lot easier than doing decants.

But hey, if your RBLs don't work, and you'd like someone to sell them to...I still have a few I'm looking for and I would be ecstatic to take them off your hands. If one of them is Noisette, I would bake you pies.


@catsuperhero : Thanks, lady. It is okay. Or, it *will* be okay. But yeah, NL and I will be back in action soonest. Burn that Event Horizon (one of my faves, too...TEAAAAAL, everything should be teal always forever) because more shall be available.

Also, I am in Fairhope Alabama at the moment, still -- though I lived in Ironton, Ohio for thirteen lonnnnng years. Where YOU at?

RBLs... erm, I have.... 360, Diddy Mow, and the cement grey one (gave that one away, had a Nubar almost the same color that stayed on so much better). Thank you so much for the offer, but do not do that! I'll probably break down and buy one or two of the newer ones -- have my eye on Catherine H.

ALSO. We should have a Random Obscure Polish Brand thread sometime. Peripera! Missha! Ludurana! Hits! Tony Moly!


@collier OOOOOO random obscure polish thread! For a long, long time my heart belonged to Claire's/Icing polishes. Also the little tiny Le Metier de Beaute polishes, before they announced their full line. So not TOO obscure, although I'm totally getting into Picture Polish and Cirque. Holy lord, Cirque.


Ironton sounds like a central-Ohio town. Am I correct? I've lived just outside of Cleveland my whole life, in North Olmsted and Lakewood, and now I'm in North Ridgeville. I didn't love it growing up, but Cleveland is getting damn cool now.

Diddy Mow is one I'd be happy to take off your hands, should you like!

Catherine H is awesome, and one of the ones I was thinking to send you. I like the Tudors a lot for wear. Also...it'd be worth you picking up a bottle of Scrangie, either on the swap boards, or eBay buy it now. Iron. And purple-teal duochrome! Hmmm...weirdly enough, the white jelly-creme hybrid, Bella, took forever to come off my hands. It took me a long time to buy it (mostly because my initial reaction was, "Hm. Semen. It looks like semen.") but once I got it on my nails, milk glass. And ungodly gorgeous with any kind of flakie.

We need Nail Polish 201 on the Pin now.


@collier @jolie I'm actually picturing Jolie putting her hands in a bagful of glitter, taking them out, and realizing way too late that it's physically impossible to clean up every last speck of glitter. And maybe freaking out a bit.


@catsuperhero : TEAAAAAL. Also, I have a couple of Picture Polish colors on my shopping list, and I JUST saw Cirque for the first time recently. Never got into Le Metier, as they seemed $$$$$ for a tiny bottle, and in colors I already had or didn't like. But dude, I've got a couple of Periperas you might kill me for. Holy shit they are so good. The Tony Moly galaxy collection looks amazing, but, just like the overly-dense ChGlaze glitters, they're top-coat eaters and chiptastic. WE SHOULD TRADE SWATCH WHEELS! I have loads of swatch wheels, and they are so fun to paint.

Ironton is at the pointy bottom tip of Ohio, right across from Ashland KY. It is a miserable hell pit and I am well shot of it. Cleveland is sigNIFicantly cooler.

Okay, Catherine H is on my YES list now, and tooootally want Scrangie (fave nail blog ever). Not so much into the spooge-color, but good to know it wears well? I haven't been buying polish for a while because of Things, but I have some Zoyas and a few Butters on their way to me now. Yay!


@collier Although Le Metier reps deny it, their provider seems to be Diamond Cosmetics. A friend of mine bought enough colors on both sides and matched them up. If you don't have Diamond Cosmetics' Chainmail Charm, you need it. Steel-grey holo.

I bought Picture Polish Orbit and was sad because it was too purple to match up to my night starry sky ideal. Which I will probably never find in a polish. Because, picky.

Now I'm looking up Periperas.

I don't have swatch wheels! I should do some. Although my collection is boring at this point, because like I said, mostly RBL. I swapped/gave a lot away when I realized the nail polish was taking over. It was the only way I could stop myself from buying every pretty color I saw.

I'm wondering how Fyrinnae loose shadows would do in a polish. With all their complexity and duo-chrome goodness.


@collier My god Peripera has the cutest cosmetic packaging I have ever seen and I am counting all the other Asian brands I know and Rouge Bunny Rouge.


@catsuperhero : YES! Peripera! And if you have them turned around backwards it is GOLDEN CAT BUTTS AHOY. Three of the ones I have are kind of a .... foil plus? metallic that also seems to have a glass fleck thing going on? Soooo glittery/shimmery but not actual glitter. The color names aren't on the bottles, but I think they're Crystal Green, Crystal Khaki, Crystal Blue. All are just gorgeous on, and allllmost opaque in one coat so good for layering. Ebay!

The Missha I have is a really nice (but not unique) blue-green duochrome, and from the top, the bottle is heart shaped and SO cute. Also, it is scented and smells *precisely* like Dior's Water Lily. Also, I want a bunch of CastleDew polishes. Now I have to look into this Rouge Bunny Rouge. THAT NAME.


@collier I love cat butts! My cat just sat with her butt...never mind. God, I shouldn't have taken that Xanax. TOTALLY INNOCENT I LOVE CATS I AM A CAT PERSON IS ALL.

I'll eBay, because I love glass fleck. In my just-getting-into-glitter, glass fleck is fabulous. It's weird because I'll wear bright colors with no issue but somehow I feel too old to wear a lot of glitter. Which is bullshit, I know, glitter polish walks down runways for god's sake. But I do have a special place in my heart for glass fleck.

Rouge Bunny Rouge is all makeup, no polish. But fabulous packaging, and intricate stories with each product. A little more sleek than cute, I suppose. Still gorgeous. Also, for packaging, Paul and Joe. Lipstick heads shaped like cats. Laduree is another one. Blush in the shape of full-bloom roses. Petals and all.

Ooohhhhh, I loved Water Lily. I had to return it. My cat wouldn't come near me with the scent. All I could think was that she could still smell it after it faded. And since I wants my kitty snuggles nightly, the polish went back. So sad. I've yet to find another pistachio I like as much. I want one that looks just like Jello pistachio pudding, and even Water Lily didn't get that close.

Now looking up CastleDew DAMN YOU


@collier wait OMG ARE THESE THEM:




@collier Am sure that a lot of people will be anticipating your return. My sympathies for your loss.

ANYHOO, yay nail polish?


@celeec4@twitter : Thanks so much, C. It's bad, but getting better, as these things do. But. Yes, yay nail polish foreverrrrr. We take our jollies wherever we can get them.


@collier Oh, holy wow! Lady, you do good work. <3 <3 <3

(I'm sorry for your loss.)


Yep! Tweezerman nail kit at Sephora! I really wanted the tweezer-style nipper but it's like 20 bucks on it's own, and this whole set is like 18. Awesome deal.
Reading the reviews on it made me irrationally angry at all the women complaining that the "tweezer" just cut their hairs instead of plucking, though.

Jolie Kerr

@collier I read your post and am extending a virtual hug, lady. Glad you're back :) If you ever have a moment, shoot me an email so I can pick your brain on proper nail varnish storage and such (jolie@thehairpin.com).

Jolie Kerr

@catsuperhero Not gonna lie, my entire body seized up when I read the part about sticking your hands in a giant bag of glitter.


@collier I am so sorry for your loss. And I'm sorry that I don't have anything better to say than that because you've heard it a billion times by now and I'm sure it doesn't even sound like real words anymore.

BUT I will tell you that I am at work and while I was reading this thread, when I got to the part where you said you were NerdLacquer, I straight up SQUEALED.
In my tiny, quiet law office.
Luckily the only people around were those I could admit why I was making "OMGJUSTINBEIBER"-type noises at my desk like a 12 year old girl, but AHHHHHH!!!! You're okay and might be making polish again!!!

I'm a creepy polish stalker who never got the chance to get any of your Doctor Who or Firefly polishes and has been kicking herself ever since, and to find out you're also a 'pinner, well...you just made my day.


@catsuperhero Yes, ACTUAL NAIL. Thoughts? It's just like at the tips. and it's not down to the skin, but still.


@Jolie Kerr Rule of thumb (hehehe) is to store nail polish tightly capped, upright, in a cool/dark place. Oh, and it helps a great deal to take a cottonball soaked in acetone and wipe off any polish on the threads of the bottle. Suckers will last forever.


@celeec4@twitter @joliekerr These are my favorite way to store my polish:


I stack them up in my study, and they look cute as well as being super sturdy--enough to hold a good 50-55 bottles of polish, and that's the littlest one. Keep your remover/cotton/tools in another one, and you've got them both hidden and at the ready.


@'riella This is the "I'm not a medical professional" disclaimer...but it sounds like yeah, you might want to ask your doctor about iron supplements, or maybe more protein intake? Iron deficiency can definitely result in peeling nails, but again, because iron isn't one of those things you want to OD on, I'd talk to a doctor about how much you're getting right now and how much would be appropriate to supplement.


@NeverOddOrEven I'm actually laughing out loud at the thought of all these women trying to pluck their eyebrows with a cuticle trimmer. Thank you, so much, for that knowledge. At some point, it will depress me that people are idiots, but for now, I'm just giggling.


@catsuperhero I weep for our future.


My husband has learned that nights I do my nails, I'm pretty much out for the count. No dishes, no picking up anything of any kind, no eating finger foods, etc. I park it in front of the TV all night until I am confident that they are fully dry. If I have to hurry it up, I definitely use the "cold water" method of drying nails faster.

It also probably takes me a million years to do my nails because I never leave them solid. I take great delight in trying new patterns with new color combinations.


@olivebee What is this mysterious cold water method of which you speak? Impart unto us your secrets!


@area@twitter I read it in American Girl magazine (no joke) when I was, like, 10, and I have done it ever since. Basically, when your nails are in that horrible limbo where the polish won't come off on your hand if you touch it lightly, but if you touch it too hard, it will leave a big ole smoosh mark - run your fingernails under ice cold water. The colder the better. It will help the polish harden faster.


@olivebee Totally true! The cold water takes out the moisture in the polish.


@olivebee Have you ever tried quick-dry drops? They work super fast IME. I use Orly and literally two minutes later I can open pop cans.


@KeLynn Why did I say pop can? I never say "pop." I'm different on the internet.

polka dots vs stripes

Starred, Bookmarked, Emailed to all my friends to who's interests this article is relevant.

And now I want to paint my nails tonight but my boyfriend's friend is staying with us & I feel like that'd be weird :/

Maybe I'll just buy more nail polish instead!


@polka dots vs stripes Yes, same. This entire article has awakened my terrible endless hunger for glittery nail polish. ALL OF THE BOTTLES.


Cuticles: buy a $1 cuticle pen from ELF (they might still have them at Target), use it every day to push back and moisturize your cuticles. Those things last forever and maybe it's placebo effect, but I feel like my nails are stronger because I'm getting them nice and moisturized.


You guys know you can rescue broken eyeshadow by turning it into nail polish? Just dump whatever combination you like into clear nail polish and mix it up. It comes out matte, but gets shiny with a topcoat.


@bluestargirl : Indeed! But add a bit at a time, and be sure to thoroughly crush it up before you add it to the polish bottle. Start at like 1/8 teaspoon of shadow per bottle and build from there.


@bluestargirl You can always re-press it, too! Alcohol and glycerin will do the trick.

Jolie Kerr

@collier: I had really good luck crumbling the shadow out into one of those reeeeeeeally small "snack sized" Ziploc bags, sealing it, and then rolling it around to crush up the shadow completely. I scooped the shadow out using my metal cuticle pusher, which wipes clean really easily. Then I used as much or as little shadow as I wanted, resealed the bag with the remaining shadow, and threw it in with my other varnish funsies for another day. It would also work well to snip a corner off and funnel the shadow into the clear varnish I think!


@bluestargirl I used to try to rescue my powder by mixing it with alcohol, but it ends up funny consistency, so maybe I will try this from now on!


@Jolie Kerr : That is an EXcellent way to do it! I usually make a teeny funnel out of a rolled up piece of paper or clear packing tape stuck to itself -- I find that's the least-messy way to get it in a skinny bottle opening.

Also, I broke a Nars "Night Breed" eye shadow (which I never wore anyway because chalky + fallout) and made polish out of it, and honestly, I liked it better than Nars' version of that polish. Though I did cheat a bit and add extra microglitter...

Citizen Cunt

Go to Sally Beauty and get the Orly Bonder Basecoat, it's amazing. It makes the base... rubbery? It makes the polish stick on for longer and I never ever nerver get stains. They make a bitchin' topcoat too, the Glosser Professional Topcoat. Yes you have to wait for it to dry for a while. That's just part of it. Get some wine and netflix and just sit for a while. Actually the whole Orly line is awesome and it's usually on sale there.

1) Go to the bathroom first because it is Science that you will have to pee within 5 minutes of finishing a manicure
2) File nails in the same direction
3) California Mango Cuticle Remover: smells good, isn't caustic. Just rub it on, wait a minute, and get one of those flat-ended sticks and push your cuticles back.
4) Get one of those buffer blocks and rub the hell out of your nails with it, it smooths out ridges temporarily.
5) Base coat, 2 or 3 coats of polish (let dry somewhat in between), top coat, sit and wait.

Bonus Tip:
To clean up edges get a cheap ass eyebrow pencil brush (angled, stiff bristles) from Walgreens, dip that in nail polish remover, and clean them bitches up.


@Citizen Cunt Caveat: Those with weak nails may want to skip the buffing part and find a ridge-filling base coat instead.

California Mango remover...this I will have to investigate.


@catsuperhero Ooh, ooh, me! [Holding up my hand frantically like in grammar school.] Weak nails, particularly the thumbs which are very ridgy, for one thing, to the point of having a bump in the middle, and which (if your squeamish, stop reading) get little soft spots that show up after two to three days of having polish on them--like soft to the point that not only does a bubble appear in the polish, but if I pick at that bubble (usually between those stupid nail-bumps and my cuticles, not just nail polish comes off. I hate the bump in the thumbs and have been doing something that is probably horrid: filing it down as flat as I can with a soft-grade emery board. But it comes back always. And now (because of this, I imagine), the part of my nails right near the cuticles is like a serious divot.

I don't think it's a nasty nail-fungus issue because it's way too symmetrical. I assume that the longterm answer is "quit picking." But in the meantime, do you have a suggestion--I mean, if you even have any idea what I've just tried to explain, that is...


@Hellcat I do have an idea! And oh so not squeamish, so you're good. It sounds like what's happening (and here I feel like I have to say I'm not a medical expert, so blah blah blah) is that the polish is keeping air from getting into your nail--and the air is what keeps the nail hardened. Kinda like how a scab won't really harden unless you take the Band-Aid off? That. So whenever you keep it covered, it softens up and you get that bubble.

Well, for one thing, I can tell you that yeah, the divot is caused by the filing down. BUT that kind of divot can be caused by overzealous cuticle trimming/scraping, or buffing really hard down near the cuticle, too. So you're probably not alone in having this.

I would tell you to check with a doctor first just about the possibility of a fungus. Or maybe just the pharmacist if you'd consider buying an OTC remedy. It's best just to make sure that option is totally off the table.

And of course, stop picking. Yeah. Which is the answer to about 95% of nail/cuticle issues, anyway. You need to let that part of your nail grow out, so the divot isn't there anymore, because that's a really weak spot in your nail.

As to polishing...hm. I honestly think your best bet is to know that you can't have polish on 24/7. You know that that bubble is gonna show up in two days--so take that polish off before you see the bubble, or right at the start. Let your nail harden up again, and don't pick at it! You really don't want an infection there. Then get yourself a good ridge-filling base coat and use it, so you're not tempted to really file that bump down. If you absolutely must, use a gentle buffer, and just buff it to the point where you can use the ridge-filling coat.

How's that sound? Anything I missed? Didn't get/understand?


@catsuperhero THANKS! You seem to have covered everything (much like I try to do with my nail-bump)! BUT... I feel like, no matter what, that ridge-bump combo never grows out, though I could be picking even when I think I'm being good. In fact, there are a lot of times I don't even realize I'm kind of using another finger on the same hand to... scrape at my thumbs' cuticles and sides until my BF, without even turning his head, gently grabs the offending hand. I also wash my hands a lot and never use gloves for dishes or cleaning so I am even more terrible than you thought just a few short minutes ago!


@Hellcat Dude hygiene is awesome; keep washing your hands. And okay...water and nails, a story:

You may want to get gloves for washing dishes, because warm water can make your nails weaker. Hot water is nail polish's enemy--it can cause it to peel--but notice how flimsy and flexible your nails seem after lots of hot water? Because you already have weak nails with issues, I'd get some gloves.

Chlorine, incidentally, will also weaken nails. It was tough to have long nails in high school, when I was swimming for a few hours a day. If you swim...um...well, I hope you don't swim. :)

My guess is that you do pick more than you know; it's just a thing you do by now, like I'm tapping my foot even though I had no idea I was doing it until now. Sooooo...try to be really conscious for the next few weeks. Get gloves, be diligent about polish removal and giving your nails air time, try to stop picking, and get the ridge-filling coat for when you do use polish. And still see a doctor, in case something really is up.

If you need to separate this into two steps (stop picking THEN see how all this other shit works), maybe put a bandage over your thumb so you can't pick it? Your nail is gonna get softer, but maybe if you can break the picking, it won't matter so much when you take the bandage off?


@catsuperhero OK, well, no swimming, and I don't tend to get my hands all up in it if I clean with bleach. But I suppose I knew before I asked that gloves are a good thing. Now who knows where I can get me some dishwashin' gloves that do not make my hands smell like rubber all the livelong day? (Or I could just use the dishwasher at my new place--first time I've ever had one!); for some reason, on weekdays, I just handwash the very few dishes I use and only run the dishwasher on weekends when more accumulate.) Also, do you know if there is a breathable nail strengthener so I can do a two-birds-one-stone kind of thing?

And thank you, dear nail lady! You are very nice to try to help me like this!


@Hellcat *grins* Dishwashers are amazing things. That's my two cents.

Annndddd...I'm honestly not sure on the nail strengthener. BUT! That's where makeupalley.com is amazing. Go check out their reviews--all user-submitted--for various nail strengtheners. There are boards where you can ask people, too. The only strengtheners I have ever used are Sally Hansen, and while they are good, I'm not sure they'll work with you.


@catsuperhero Haha--"with you"! Oh, I'm a tough case alright! And I just feel like if I waited until the dishwasher was full to use it, I'd have to constantly be pulling out a fork here, a coffee mug there...

Thank you again for all your hopefully helpful hints!


@Hellcat UGH I AM A DOUCHE I AM SORRY "with you" sounds like I am an ass. Ugh. How about "with your nails"? That's what I meant. Ugh.

You're welcome! I hope they work. Soldier onward!


@catsuperhero No, no--"with you" made me laugh and laugh! In my searching, I keep seeing Essie mentioned as a "breathable nail polish"... I have some o' those! And something called Inglot, which says "breathable" right there on the bottle, so hmmm...


@Hellcat Oh, thank god. I'm half-asleep with my cat on my lap, so saying stupid shit is not generally beyond me at this point.

Based on Inglot's makeup--which is cheap and great quality, by the way--I'd say the nail polish is worth trying.


@catsuperhero No worries! I might start with some Essie base coat or repair stuff though because I'd have to order the Inglot online, but because I have to go (back!) to Target tomorrow because the cashier left something out of my bag from today, I can at least pick up some Essie and do a manicure tomorrow night... without any rough-house nail-bump filing, of course (but with wine!).


@Hellcat Wine good. Nail bump filing bad.

And Essie makes good stuff. It's as good a place as any to start.


Can we talk about rubberized base coats? I got the Orly one from Sally's last week and I felt like I had to use SO much more polish on it. I didn't really understand how I needed so much.

It did double the life of my manicure BUT I have only so far tried it with some Maybelline gold polish that *literally* only lasts one day, so who knows if it is so good that it doubles manicure time, or if it's so crappy it only gives your manicure one more day.


@KeLynn : I read about that rubbery base coat JUST the other day - I think in Hairpin comments, in fact! Definitely going to give that a shot. In fact, hell, I should order it now before I forget about it (again).


@collier I like Bonder, but it tends to yellow my nails so I use it for like a week and then switch to CND Stickey or whatever else I have on-hand for a breather.


@KeLynn I use Orly bonder and I'm fucking addicted to it. Yes, it doubles the life of your polish job, even if you type a ton. I literally sit in a cubicle and click click clack all damn day and the only thing that solved my chipping problem was orly bonder.


@DullHypothesis - I'm pumped to hear that! Inspired by this post I did my nails last night, using the bonder, and I figure this is the first "real" test because I didn't use my crappy gold polish this time. I used a deep red Orly polish. So I hope it works out as well for me as it does for you! So far so good...


Query: am I the only person who doesn't use nail varnish, trim her cuticles, etc.? I feel very weird.


@Verity I don't normally, either. I do when I remember that it's a THING I "should" be doing, as a lady, but other than that...no. It's too much trouble. I don't find it fun, or relaxing. And I hate getting manicures as well (I've gotten maybe...3 in my life?) because I'm afraid the manicurists will judge my raggedy-ass nails/cuticles. This is kind of shameful, because in every other way, I present as a person who cares about her appearance.

That was probably way too much answer for your question.

up cubed

@Verity Cuticle cutting gives me the same feeling as getting onto escalators (panic, tinyscreams). Also, I think I have the world's tiniest adult toenails. I never get pedicures because it seems like such a waste/hassle. My mother told me to get the little toes' nail surgically removed since it wasn't doing anything (...!)


@Verity I don't trim my cuticles. I don't even understand how? I just push them back, although apparently that's bad, but I don't see how it's worse than actually cutting them.


@Verity I have only recently become aware that I maybe could be doing something with my nails. So now I notice that my cuticles are a raggedy mess every once in a while, go to town with the softener/orange stick, and then promptly forget about them for another month. I keep my nails super-short (grew up playing piano), and I don't have much passion for the cosmetic arts in general.


@Verity My nails and hands are not particularly pretty, and I do too many things with my hands for varnish to last more than a day or two, so I don't bother. I'm all about the face make up and whatnot, but then I top it off with un-prettified nails.


@MilesofMountains It can be pretty fun, though. I work with my hands all day long, and I can still keep a manicure for about a week or so.

Yet, heells no I cannot get up early and paint my face. XD Super girly & pretty nails, bare face and hair in a clip.


@Megano! It's not bad! You're doing okay! I'd make sure you push them back after a hot shower (so they're all moisturized and won't crack) but it's healthy and good. Carry on. :)


@Megano! Yeah, I don't understand how you trim cuticles, either. I just ignore mine; that seems to be working fine.

Lexa Lane

@Verity I haven't worn nail polish for years, because I think it looks *so* tacky when it chips and I know I don't have the patience to maintain it. So I figure bare nails that I keep filed and decently maintained are better. BUT I got a gel manicure for the first time a few weeks ago, and walked around for two weeks with gorgeous, chip-free, "I'm Not Really A Waitress"-red nails, and now I kind of want to start painting them again. I can't afford regular gel manicures, but maybe I'll just see if I can be disciplined enough to maintain them?


@Verity - I'm on and off with polish - it's very much something I just do now and then when I'm in the mood (like eyeliner), not an everyday necessity. But cuticles, I never do anything with. I don't even push them back before painting usually. I guess I think it's weird to cut them off for some reason, and I have literally never looked at someone's hand and thought "man she needs to get a handle on her cuticles" so I don't think it's anything anyone would notice.

Unless you're all looking at MY gnarly hands wondering when *I'm* going to get a handle on them and I'm just oblivious...

@upupandaway - my baby toe is stupid tiny, too! Every time I paint it, I have to decide whether to just skip it, or glob on a little drop and then scrape the extra off my skin after it dries, because it is so small that it is impossible not to get paint on my skin with a regular nail brush. But, I can't say I have ever contemplated actually getting it removed!


@Lexa Lane - I saw a home gel kit at Sephora yesterday, FWIW. It was like $150 and I have no clue how well it works, but if you're into it (and the reviews are good) it would pay for itself after about four manicures, right? Aren't the gel ones kind of expensive?


@Verity No, you're not the only one. I think well-done nails often look amazing on other people, and I used to be really into painting mine when I was a teenager, but I find all of this terrifying. Partly because the thought of devoting an hour a week to nails terrifies me, but also because I play a sport which is hell on the nails. I am sure there are ultimate players out there with nice nails, but I am always breaking mine when I catch a disc wrong.


JANE MARIE YOU AND I ARE NAIL TWINSIES. Deep ridges + terrible dry cracky cuticles that don't grow over the nails!!

Jackie G@twitter

I don't understand cuticles. Mine look 100x worse pushed back rather than just left alone. And they're too tiny to have anything to cut off. I have given up on getting professional manicures because I find the cuticle pushing/cutting part painful and ugly looking.


@Jackie G@twitter You may just have naturally slow-growing, short cuticles. If it's painful to push back, then yeah, don't do it--it's too much. It sounds like you're good to go just leaving your cuticles be--just keep them moisturized so they don't crack/make hangnails!



AH! I have been thinking about nail polish so much lately. I love doing my nails, but there are two things that are mystifying me:

It seems like it takes YEARS for each coat to dry. And you have to let each coat fully dry before applying the next coat, right? Or else the nail polish stays squishy forever? Are there any workarounds for this? I have heard of the quick dry drops from Sephora and will definitely be trying them, but those are just for after the base coat, right? I love the idea of spending time on myself by doing my nails in theory, but in practice I don't remember that I wanted to do my nails until an hour before bedtime and unless I want sheet lines all over my nails (I don't) I just give up and say "well, maybe tomorrow."

ALSO. Anyone here wear gloves all day? I wear nitrile gloves 8 hours a day for work, and I noticed the last two times I did my nails that they had gotten a little squishy and had imprints from the inside of the glove on them. The last time it even started peeling off really, really quickly. Is there anything I can do to prevent this? Or should I just be giving up on trying to do my nails unless it's right before a weekend? :(


@sherbet I use seich vite top coat, and although they are goopy underneath the dry layer for a while, they do dry before I go to bed (even if I paint right before going to bed) because seiche vite bonds with the underlayers and dries them as well. I do not wait for each layer to dry completely. I used to wear gloves a lot, too, and seiche vite, as long as you pain the night before, will fix that issue.


@sherbet - I always thought you had to wait for each coat to dry too, but when I got my nails done by someone else last year (I usually do it myself) I noticed that she didn't really wait. Almost as soon as she was done painting one coat, she would start painting the next. So I stopped waiting too, with no ill effects, you just have to make sure the coats aren't too thick. Like, the first coat will look totally shitty.

Also, quick-dry drops! Not just for after the basecoat. At least, if they are, I use them totally wrong. I always use them very last. (In an earlier thread I said it would take 2 minutes for my nails to dry - last night, encouraged by this post, I used a topcoat for the first time in forever. I waited about one minute after my second polish coat, then put the topcoat on, then used the quick-dry drops. It took about 15 minutes to dry, so longer than it does without a topcoat, but 15 minutes isn't so bad in front of the TV.)


@DullHypothesis I might have to invest in some of that stuff, it sounds like it would be worth it! I'm currently using cheapo sally hansen stuff because it's what I have lying around, and never thought twice about the fact that a better quality topcoat might make a difference.

It was really disheartening last time I painted my nails that they got all weird with the gloves. I worked so hard on them and the color was so pretty!


@KeLynn haha, I just realized I said that way wrong - I meant that I would put them on after the topcoat! But it's nice to know that I could not wait for them to dry between coats, then use the drying drops. For some reason I always thought the layers had to be rock hard in between coats, and that THAT was what caused squishiness. It sounds like a better topcoat + quick drying drops might be the key for me!

This is why I love the Hairpin!


@sherbet So, there's two potential reasons for that. One is that you might be painting on overly thick coats of polish that isn't drying completely. The other is shitty topcoat, basically.

Try and find a quick dry topcoat you like, and maybe drying drops/sprays too. Though, beware, I find that drying drops/sprays seem to make my manicures die faster.

Have not empirically tested this because the thought of having the same nail polish colors for up to a month makes me want to diiiie.


@celeec4@twitter and @collier aww thank you for responding! I'll read my topcoat directions more thoroughly from now on, and pay attention to the goldilocks moment when you're supposed to add it. Now, to pile onto the recommendations, this stuff is the most durable and prettiest polish I've ever used: http://www.soulsticespa.com/collections/nail-polish. The colors are really rich, and it goes on smoothly and lasts for like a week - it's the only nail polish I've tried where the manicure loses its look because my nails are growing, rather than from chipping. I got some at a co-op in San Francisco and have been keeping an eye out for it ever since, but finally caved and bought some more online. I also bought the topcoat, because when I used Essie or OPI topcoat over it, it seemed to make it MORE likely to smear and chip. Which maybe had to do with the timing? Or the fact that it's a different ("natural") formulation that doesn't play well with other chemicals? I don't know but I'm reinspired to get it figured out by all of you <3


This is so far down the thread, not sure if anyone will see. I do my nails myself every week and I'm pretty good at it but one thing I absolutely cannot do is paint my nails with a pale pink or peach color. It seems to take 4 coats before it shows up at all, and then I inevitably ruin it because even with a quick dry top coat it still takes a few hours to dry. Whyyyyyy?!! How can I get better at this/what am I doing wrong?


@ajayne If you want a pale pink or peach color that coats well, I would HIGHLY recommend any of that spectrum of color from sally hansen complete manicure. I have a peachy light pink that is almost my skin tone (because I am hella pale with pink undertones) and it coats in two coats no problem, sometimes even one coat.

This is the one I have! http://www.walgreens.com/store/c/sally-hansen-complete-salon-manicure-complete-salon-manicure-nail-color/ID=prod6010356-product


@ajayne - OK, maybe this is a dumb assumption, but I always thought those pale pinks weren't supposed to be opaque. I always thought they were supposed to be a sort of "my nails but better" thing, so I've only ever done the two coats I usually do. And you can still see through them, see where the whites of my nails start, etc. but I thought that was the point.

If you don't want that, maybe a coat of white between the basecoat and the pink would make the pink pop?


@DullHypothesis Thanks for the suggestion! I know I have one that brand that is nearly that color, maybe a little lighter. It definitely doesn't coat in 2 for me, but like @KeLynn said, maybe I am looking for it to do something it's not made to do? All I know is every time I try I end up miserable.


@ajayne KeLynn is mostly correct. It's rare to find a truly opaque light pink that's more than My Nails But Better. They're mostly meant to be clear-to-sheer, and make your natural nails look healthy.

You can do the aforementioned white coat underneath (that's a great idea to make any color of polish pop) or do a google search for "opaque pale pink nail polish." That might help. Just hit the image search.

I know Rescue Beauty Lounge does an Opaque Pink, as well as quite a few others in the neutral range, and swatches are readily available. OPI's Bridal series might be a good option to look for, too, and I think the OPI site indicates how opaque a color is. I know for a fact that Zoya's website will tell you on a scale of 1-5 (maybe 1-4, you get the idea) how opaque a color is, so you'll know.


Anyone else thrilled for this post and frantically copying and pasting most of these technique/polish brand suggestions?!?


@Lyssachelle me me meeeee! I've recently realized that I love love looooove getting to paint my nails again (after years of food service jobs where I wasn't allowed, finally I have a job with freedom!) but I need to know all of these little tricks and the right things to use so that it doesn't make me super frustrated. I am SO excited!


@sherbet YAY FOR YOU!!! (I'm being serious, that's awesome.) You know, I really enjoy loodie loodie loodie. She has a few tutorials and while I've never watched any of her videos, I do really love her posts; she talks a lot about the science of polish, PLUS she's got ridiculous nails...


Great post! I have so much to say! Want to second the love for Essie's Good to Go-- has really helped me not mess up my nails. Re: relaxing, I like to use nail time to listen to podcasts or catch up on TV shows that aren't so high-quality I need to have my eyes glued to the screen the whole time (Nashville). Also, I want to support the "thing with a sponge that you stick your finger in" that Jane doesn't like. This one has saved me a lot of time that I used to spend rubbing off my polish with cotton balls. That's all!


I had to come back and have a few more things to say about the fabulous world of nail polish. I'm just glad to know so many other people are as fixated on the product and technique as I am.

If you don't want to waste a bunch of time this fine Friday, DO NOT Google "nail polish blog." Do not consider purchasing a ton of colored glitter and clear polish to make your own glitter polish. And most certainly do not check out the YouTube channel for "cutepolish" with all her adorable tutorials. Do not.

I have to give a shout out to Wet n' Wild because they actually do collaborations and lines for the craziest reasons. They have a "Saved by the Nail" line, of which I have "Chick Magnet Zack" which is a pretty teal, and "Nerd Alert Screech" which is one of my favorite greens. I also have some of the Wet n' Wild line that they did with Fergie called "Hollywood Walk of Fame" that has huge, chunky glitter stars in it.


So many thoughts on this post so I hope I haven't missed the boat posting so late:

1) I recently started painting my nails after years of being too afraid it would look garish (it is amazing) and I've found that expensive nail polishes DO make a difference. Even compared to Essie, Butter London dries a million times faster and lasts at least 5 days with no chips, sometimes more. Plus ALL OF THEIR POLISHES ARE 30% OFF RIGHT NOW. On their website, butterlondon.com.

2) The 5 days with no chips is partly because I only wash dishes with gloves and re-apply my topcoat every day or every other day. I use CND Speedey because...chemicals.

3) How do I file my nails? I've tried the one direction thing, and I always end up with either raggedy or totally lopsided nails? I feel like it's more lady-like than just clipping, and keeps your nails long, but I always end up having to clip off the parts that the file ruined and end up with super super short nails--what am I doing wrong?


@log_lady WHY DID YOU TELL ME THEY ARE 30% OFF RIGHT NOW. this is dangerous.


I feel like I will officially be an adult when I can paint my nails and not ruin them within the hour that follows. I'm 32, and it's still not happened! It's not that I can't sit still, it's more that some disaster inevitably comes up that demands the use of my hands, and also my polish seems to take *hours* to set. Bah!!


@snowmonkeyplum I know this is old so maybe you won't see this, but get the seche vite quick dry top coat!!! I just used it for the first time yesterday and I was amazed at how quickly they dried. It wasn't a miracle, it still took about 45 minutes for them to really feel okay, but it wasn't like it used to be when I would have to plan for the ENTIRE afternoon to be full of laziness of not using my hands because I would mess up my polish. Plus, they are so shiny now!


Yaye, nails! I saw several posts from folks having problems with stamps, and I had the same problems - couldn't get the polish to transfer to the stamper, etc. Here is what you do! Use your nail file to lightly grit the image on the plate - seriously, lightly, or you'll lose your image (done that.) You don't have to use the special polishes, but you do need one that's thick - I've had luck with some of the Sinful Colors cremes and the Sally Hansen Insta-Dries are good, too. You also have to work pretty quickly - have you stamper, scraper and plate all right together and a acetone-soaked cotton ball to lay your scraper on. Paint the image with your polish, scrape it, and - here's the part I wasn't doing right - roll the stamper lightly over the image. I thought that since I wasn't getting the image, what I needed to do was bear straight down hard and kinda force the polish on? Yeah, didn't work. I kept seeing tutorials that said to roll the stamper lightly and snorting because obviously I had a deficient stamper or something. Then I actually did what the tutorials were telling me and bingo, perfect stamps everytime! Unless there's bourbon involved...


Does anyone else find nail polish makes their nails bad? Mine don't peel but they look much more ridge-y and damaged after a few weeks of continual painting. Are you meant to air nails in between spots of polish?


Old thread is old, but Healthy Hoof Topcoat is amazing. Two coats of base, two coats of China Glaze, two coats of topcoat. This can actually spread out over two days. Topcoat actually seems to work better for me the next day, to smooth out sheet marks.

Jackie G@twitter

stupid nail polish. I got all excited after this and thought base coat would be the answer to all my nail polish problems. Turns out it doesn't fix klutzy. Any tips how to clean off just one finger and without getting remover everywhere and having to start all the steps all over? Also how long to wait between coats so that one coat doesn't just smear the previous one? Is my polish too old and thick for multiple layers?


@Jackie G@twitter Oh, dear heart. Use a Q-tip for the one nail. Maybe try applying thinner coats, and if your polish is too gummy, try one of the thinning products people suggested. Polish should be about dry to the touch before you do another, and make sure you have enough polish on the brush that you're not dragging the first coat back up off of your nail. (Using gummy polish would not help with that either.)

Probably the answer is: Polish thinner.

crunch grabowski@twitter

I TOO WAS A JAR-REMOVER DEVOTEE. except painting my nails 1-2 times a week, frequently with dark colors, meant i was spending a fortune on fresh jars. ok not really but Y'KNOW?!
Anyway I saw this linked on Buzzfeed and it actually changed my life, as dorky as that is to say. One cotton ball, ten nails. No stains from the jar. http://gingerbreadmanne.blogspot.ca/2010/09/5-minutes-nail-polish-removal-tutorial.html

Post a Comment

You must be logged-in to post a comment.

Login To Your Account