1. Make sure there are no fans or sources of moving air in the room. Too much movement can induce bubbling
2. Despite what you might have learned, don’t shake your bottles before use. This gets air bubbles in the polish; try rolling the bottles between your palms instead.
3. If you have the time, stick your nail polish in the refrigerator for ten minutes before using it.
4. Don’t put any lotion or oils on your nails before polishing them, the oil can react with the polish and cause bubbles.
5. To make sure there’s no oil or other product left on your nails, put some white vinegar on a cotton ball and wipe your nails with it. The acidic vinegar will get rid of any residue.
6. Unhealthy cuticles are more likely to be flaky and uneven, which can trap nail polish regardless of how careful you are. Get in the habit of putting a cuticle balm on before you go to bed.
7. Do NOT cut your cuticles. They only grow back thicker and stronger.
8. You can push your cuticles back to get them out of the way, but apply cuticle oil first (make sure to wipe the oil off the nail part before polishing though). It makes them soft and pliable.
9. When you do get polish on the sides, use a corrector pen (or a toothpick soaked in polish remover) to get the polish out from around your nail.
10. Alternatively, use an extra-thin paint brush or recycled eyeliner/lip brush dipped in polish remover to wipe away bigger polish issues
11. To prevent smudging, put nonstick cooking spray on your dry nails to create a thin layer of oil on them. This makes them slippery and harder to mess up.
12. Stick a fast-drying top coat on top of your regular top coat for added insurance against smudging.
13. Run cold water along your fingers and let it gently wash over the nail— this will harden the top coat of polish quicker without smudging the nails with the force of the water.
14. It’s OK to lick your finger and gently nudge the polish back into place.
15. Or you can put a little nail polish remover on your finger and smooth the smudge over until the ridges are gone. Finish it up with a thin layer of your polish — just enough to hide what’s left of the smudge but not so thick that the nail looks different from the rest.
16. Glitter polish is especially hard to get off. Use regular school glue mixed with a few drops of water as a base coat to make it a much easier endeavor.
17. Glitter polish also comes off easier when you use fewer layers of polish. Use black nail polish or a similarly colored polish as a base for your glitter and you’ll get better coverage with less glitter used.
18. For polish that is sticking to your nails and the skin around your nails, soak cotton balls in nail polish remover and keep them there with little finger-caps made of tin foil for a few minutes.
19. Soften intractable polish by soaking your nails or feet in hot water before removing it.
20. Always scrape up or soak excess polish from whatever surface you’re going to clean. The longer it stays on there, the harder it will sink in.
21. If the spill is on light-colored carpet, use nail polish remover on a sponge or cloth to clean up the rest of the stain.
22. If your carpet is dark, nail polish remover might remove some of its dye. Use rubbing alcohol instead.
23. If you spill on wood or another similar surface, don’t use nail polish remover. Spray the stain with hairspray, let it sit for 20 seconds, then wipe it off.
24. Coarse grain nail files are designed for artificial nails, so don’t use them of your real ones. Use a very thin grain or, ideally, a glass file for your nails.
25. Don’t saw your nails back and forth, which can make your tips splinter. File from the edges of your nail in towards the center instead.
26. Prevent your polishes from getting thick by making sure you screw the caps back on tightly when storing them.
27. Also remember to clean up the dried threads of nail polish that clump around the neck of the bottle- these contribute to thickening polish.
28. A drop of nail polish thinner in a the bottle, swished around with a toothpick, will restore the thinness to regular polish.
29. Use a nail dehydrator before your base coat to make sure the bed of your nail is completely dry. This helps the polish stick to the nail.
30. For bright colors like neons, use a white polish as your first coat (think of it as a primer) to get better, longer-lasting color.
32. Put a thin layer of clear top coat on your nails every other day to protect your nails from chipping.
33. Wait three minutes between each coat—the dryer the bottom layer is, the better the top will adhere.
34. “Wrap” your polish by running your brush along the edge of your nails. This makes the polish extend all the way to the very tip and makes it harder for them to chip on contact.
35. Rest your elbow on your knee or a steady surface and swivel your non-dominant arm back and forth. This is sometimes an easier motion than trying to control your weaker hand.
36. Or you can hold the polish brush steady with your weak hand and move your dominant hand’s fingers back and forth under the brush.
37. You can also just use an extra step for your non-dominant hand and apply vaseline along your cuticles. When your shaky hand messes up, you can just wipe the excess polish off with a tissue.