My Best Tips & Tricks for Nails

Happy Easter weekend! It's Charlie's birthday! He's three (in human years) and still adorable as when I got him at 6 months. Easter is so much fun now that I have nephews. I'm kinda hoping one of them will rock a bow tie for Easter pics. I won't be wearing a tie, but my nails will be decorated! Today I'm sharing best tips and tricks for nails. My Grandmother has done nails for over 40 years, and my mom used to be a manicurist as well, so I've picked up a thing or two over the years. Enjoy!

middle, right, left

How to Apply Polish--Start by applying color at the base of the nail, right in the middle. Push towards the end/tip of your nail. Go back to the base of the nail and push the color to the left and sweep up. Repeat on the right side of the nail. It's like you're making a "W" by starting in the middle first, then the sides. I paint my thumbs last. If you'd like a more detailed post, let me know.

past nail art posts

How to Get a Longer-Lasting Mani--Some brands chip worse than others, regardless of price! On my nails, the more environmentally-friendly they are, or if they're Quick Dry, the easier they chip, but I use polishes of all types/prices. Start with a clean nail and a base coat--some swear by a quick wipe of vinegar. Make sure you apply at least two thin coats of polish. Apply polish (I do this for top coats as well) to tips of nails and the back of them (if nails are long enough). A top coat is a must! I've noticed my pointer fingers chip first, so I make sure to add an extra coat. If you're really serious about it, use gloves to wash dishes, for example, or get gel nails.

more nail art

How to Not Make a Polish Painting Mess--Try using a small eyeliner, concealer, or art brush to clean around the nail bed after painting. I use this one from ELF and it's only $1. I also will put a heavy moisturizer carefully around my nail, like Vaseline, Rosebud, or Chapstick. Any mistakes will be easy to wipe away once your polish is dry. I wait 45 minutes if I really want polish to not smudge. I use tape around my nails if splattering or marbleizing my nails.

How to Dry Nails Quickly--Cooking spray, clear dry shampoo, compressed air, nail drying spray, or cold water can help dry nails faster. You'll know your nails are dry when they stop smelling like polish. 

summer swirl nails

How to Stop Smudges, Bubbles--Make sure your coats aren't too thick. I also don't shake the mess out of the bottle. If you smudge your wet nail, try licking it. Sounds gross, but it works! Also, dip the back of your finger in polish remover and place it on the smudged area to make it even. Then paint back over your nail, dry, and seal with a top coat. If I have to do something mid-mani, I'll add a drop of olive oil on my nail and sometimes I'll lightly wrap it in plastic wrap. I then let it dry asap.

How to Remove Glitter Polish--Take a cotton ball or tissue, soak in polish remover, and place on top of nail. Then wrap fingers in a bit of tin foil, yes, really! Leave for about 5 minutes and the polish will come right off. You can also make a base coat of Elmer's white glue mixed with water. Allow to dry and then add your polish. It will (much to my delight) peel off! This method doesn't guarantee long-lasting results, but it works.

mixing my own polish

Bonus Tips:
  • New polish--Make your own new shade of polish by taking any shade of eye shadow, scraping a little onto a paper plate, and then mix with clear polish. Paint on nails! Try this post for pictures and descriptions.
  • Stained Nails--Try whitening toothpaste! Or this post which lists other options.
  • Out of Polish Remover--No polish remover? No problem. Just paint any color of polish on top of your existing polish. Wipe away the polish. It really works and is great if you're in a pinch. Also, try hand sanitizer!
  • Glitter Polish--Applying glitter polish can be a pain if you want full-coverage. I suggest tapping the brush onto the nail or painting it onto a sponge and then dabbing the sponge onto nails. Be sure to finish with a clear top coat to prevent any snags from glitter.
  • Make Neons Pop--Try a coat of white polish before painting your nails with neon polish. The color won't be as streaky and the color will pop!
  • Make Metallics Pop--Try a coat of black before painting a metallic polish.
  • Make Nails Grow/Thick--I have always had very flimsy nails. It's genetics. I even took two years off from painting them, and saw no results. Nail strengtheners and hardeners do work, as long as they are on your nail. Try Nailtiques, Sally Hansen, or OPI Nail Envy, just to name a few. Biotin and supplements for nails can help them grow, but I've not yet found something to make them harder/thicker.
Leave your nail questions or tips in the comments, if you'd like.

Be safe, behave, and be well.
Love, Elle


  1. This is awesome! I'm the WORST nail-painter. : ) I'll definitely try these painting tips next time I give it a try!

  2. Excellent tips! That foil trick is awesome for removing glitter.

  3. Learned so many things with this post! Never knew you can use cooking spray to quicken the drying. Thanks again:) And happy bday, Charlie!

  4. I really enjoyed reading this post, you have some great tips. I have very very short nails and no matter what i do or try they never grow. I was going to try OPI Nail Envy what do you think? xo

  5. Next time I am waiting on my nails to dry, I am reaching for the cooking spray!

    Thanks :)


  6. such a great tips. thanks for sharing and happy birthday Charlie......


  7. Great tips!! I use cold water to dry my nails. It's COLD but it does the trick!

  8. I love painting my nails - these are great tips . Anything to make them last longer is fantastic!! x

  9. @angela osbourne, yes I like it!!

  10. Great tips! very helpful. x


  11. hey elle! happy easter doll! following you bloglovin. these are some great tips. glitter polish nearly sent me over the edge trying to take it off, so i will definitely be trying this instead of throwing it all away ;) have a great weekend.

  12. Thanks for your tip on how to remove glitter polish - I always have the hardest time getting the dang stuff off my nails!!!

  13. great post!!really informative and clever!thank you for following my blog..i am following you as well
    http://signaturechic.blogspot.com/g you

  14. Great tips! I will have to try the Vaseline trick. I'm always smudging.

  15. Thanks for sharing these useful tips. Esp. like the one how to remove glitter polish. I didn´t know that <3



  16. I rarely paint my fingernails because of the chipping. I always add a top coat, but with 2 little boys, it's not easy to keep my fingernails painted for long. Now I usually just paint them for special occasions and then take it off when I'm done because I hate the look of chipping nails.

  17. So many great tips here! And a three year old is adorable:) do you want to follow eachother via GFC? xo Caroline

  18. Cool, thanks! I often have trouble putting nailpolish on...great tips!

  19. Happy Birthday, Charlie! Thanks for the tips. Have a great Easter!

  20. What amazing tips! That makes sense that nails are dry once you can't smell the polish any more. I love all of your nail tricks and tips. Your nails always look so fab! :)

  21. What great tips! I don't have the patience to do my nails well usually but, hopefully, with some of these tips I'll be able to not smudge them. :-) Hope you're having a fabulous Easter!

  22. Very nice post and I like that inspiring. Have a great day.


  23. Those are really great tips! i have always been struggling with getting glitter nail polishes off, usually I get impatient and scratch them off, which is the worst way possible!
    So thank you for sharing these! :)


  24. I have never heard of licking wet nails before! That's certainly strange. I use a bit of top coat to smooth it out.

    7% Solution​

  25. These are great tips! Thanks for sharing :)

  26. how do you even KNOW all these tricks?!


  27. Great tips!! I've never heard of them, so I'll be trying a few!

  28. great tips! i have been know to place soaked cotton balls on my nails to get polish off, but never thought to wrap them!


  29. I seriously should have read this before I painted my nails so terribly yesterday. They have bubbles and streaks and everything. GAH.

  30. Thank you so, so much for these tips!!!!


  31. @M My Grandmother has done nails for over 40 years professionally, and my Mom did nails, too, so I learned A LOT from them and that environment!

  32. Awesome tips! You really know your stuff. Thanks!


  33. Great tips! I'll definitely be using some of these! :)

  34. Great tips darling! Thank you so much for sharing!

  35. Thank you so much for these tips! I also have flimsy nails. They seem to harden up when I eat more protein. I'm not a big meat eater but I love nuts. Give it a try! :) Also...shared this with my twitter followers! :) Come visit me @ Stylewisebydebra.com



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