Health and Beauty: Manicure and nail polish hacks

Janina Loos

Anyone who has ever painted their own nails knows the struggle that it actually is. Painting with the non-dominant hand, waiting for polish to dry, smudges and dents in the ‘you-thought-the-polish-was-dry-when-it-actually-was-not’ are some of the challenges those of us who like to paint our own nails must face. Magazines and blogs may give tips and guides on how to do really cool nail art or how to take care of nails properly, but what they do not explain is how to handle the process of painting your nails with grace.

Prepping and priming nails is always a good way to start. Remove any excess polish, cut, file and groom nails as desired. A clean and groomed nail is like a fresh canvas and helps polish glide on better.

Go to the bathroom beforehand. I’m serious. Treat painting your nails like a long road trip: if your nails are wet, how are you going to do your business? Think about it. Especially when doing longer nail art type looks, where more steps are involved and the process takes longer.

Also, instead of painting all five fingers at once, paint the pointer, middle and pinky first. Wait until completely dry or completely finished then do the thumb and ring finger. This way if you do really have to go to the bathroom, you still have some fingers left to help out.

Start with a base coat. A base coat promotes adhesion and binds polish to the nail bed better so manicures can last longer. Base coats also fill the ridges of your nails and helps prevent yellowing and polish stains.

If you have the time, sit on down and watch a movie you have already seen. This way, when you are painting your nails, you will not be missing out on anything, and the drying time will pass quicker.

If in need of lacquered nails within a couple of hours, do not fret. After painting on a base coat and colored polish or nail design, wait about 10 to 15 minutes, then apply a fast drying top coat. Then, fill a glass with ice and cold water and let your nails take an ice bath. Once it gets too cold to handle, switch out fingers and repeat this process about three or four times. The cold helps speed the drying process and cuts drying time practically in half.

Painting with your non-dominant hand may be a huge pain, but do not worry about it too much. It may be messy, but really you can just leave it alone and within 24 hours, the messy out-of-bounds parts that were covered in polish will be gone. However, if it is annoying to look like a toddler painted your nails, use a cotton swab and polish remover to clean up.

Finish off manicures with a fast drying top coat to protect the polish and design.