…yes, I ask that a lot myself! On this page I’ll keep sharing little basic tips Q&A style as I get to know them. Feel free to also send me your ideas, I’d love to try them out!
1. How do you clean the edges of your nails once designs are done?
Well, I tried different brushes and polish removers to ‘paint away’ the mess on my fingers as often shown on blogs. However, I haven’t yet found the perfect brush to achieve the same result, so there are a couple of dummy-proof things I’ll do that works for me.
First, the worst mess I’ll scrape away using a wooden nail stick – check the link coming up to see exactly what I got if you’re unsure what nail sticks are. I got mine from Sephora (in Europe you can order online from Sephora.fr). You can however get them from loads of other (online) stores as well. I start doing that after painting each nail to minimise the amount of polish remaining on my fingers after the job, as that’s harder to remove. I can re-use the sticks multiple times by cleaning them with nail polish remover with acetone.
After I’m done with all nails, yours truly will definitely still have paint all over despite the best efforts with the nail sticks 😉 I’ll then dip a cotton bud in a little polish remover with acetone and carefully wipe around the worst areas. Don’t come too close however, if you press too hard you may spill some on your nail and you can start again…
If I have smaller bits that need to be removed, I enjoy the soapy water method: fill your sink with a little soapy water, soak your hands in there and voila, after a few minutes just before your hands go wrinkly you can easily scrape away the polish with a nail stick, a toothpick or even your nails (make sure they’re super dry though before trying that)! Bonus tip: if you don’t have a dishwasher or fancy saving some energy, just simply do the dishes after you painted your nails. It’s the same soapy water idea!
Another idea that looks like above from my friend Joyce: just take a shower! Same idea, your hands get nice and soapy, by the time you’re clean and washed your hair, you can scrape the bits off. So no more excuses about having no time to touch your nails up in the morning!
2. How do you apply nail art decorations such as rhinestones, loose glitter etc?
I use thin tweezers to pick up and place my art, and a nail/cuticle stick to carefully move it around the nail before setting it. I place decorations on my nails when they’re not completely dry – this way you can carefully move your decorations around without ruining your nail, and yet still able to press down the bits so it doesn’t fall off. Then I simply add 1 or 2 layers of top coat to fix it. Often you’ll find nail art glue to use with loose decorations, however I’ve never needed it before using the top coat method. Saves you money and hassle when removing the decorations again!
3. What are the best brands for nail polish?
Well there are many, many brands out there and as it goes for any other product: expensive doesn’t always mean better. I tend to buy salon favourites such as OPI, Essie and China Glaze, but also cheaper brands like Catrice, Sephora own brand and Essence. Also I’m just as comfortable to pick any unknown or regionally known brand to try, I’m really not that fussy! My current favourite brand is Nails Inc., they seem to make the colours and effect polishes that fit my interests best. Quality-wise just as good as the salon faves I mentioned. On rare occasions I’ll splurge on designer label polishes, only if they have a colour that’s really special. I often cannot justify paying more than double the amount for quality that’s not significantly better. With other words, there’s loads out there you can use. If you’re just starting out, go for cheaper and spend a little more as you go along.
4. How do you file your nails and what do you use?
First off I’ll admit this: I’ll use any larger, thicker coarse file to get my nails nice and short quick. I’ll file a little inward to create a slightly round look, and once filed down it’ll last me around 2 weeks before having to go through it again.
The best file to use is a glass nail file, which are more expensive, but will admittedly last you much longer if you look after it properly. The nail salon I used to go to taught me that it’s much better for your nail to file it in just one direction (no not while listening to One Direction, bad joke time…). It should prevent especially weaker nails from chipping. I agree that it is better, then again I admit to not having the patience to go through all that knowing I’ll spend hours on painting it afterwards. But if you like natural looking nails from time to time and/or like to keep them a bit longer, it is definitely worth the effort.
The only real no-no I’d say are the ultra cheap thin nail files. They don’t file well, making you push too hard, and just don’t last.