Tuesday, March 26, 2013

10 Things I Wish I Knew When I Started Painting My Nails

I was going to call this post "10 Tips for Nail Newbies" but I realised that all of these tips apply to anyone who wears nail polish, whether they're new or more experienced. So instead, here are the top 10 things I wish I knew when I started painting my nails:

1. Pure Acetone

You wouldn't normally think that an industrial strength paint stripper is good to use on your skin and nails... But trust me when I say that this will become your new best friend. Pure acetone is so much more effective at removing nail polish (especially glitter), and it makes cleanup a breeze. It's also far cheaper than regular nail polish remover, especially considering the massive amounts that we go through. Find it at your local Bunnings, and don't be afraid to buy a large 4L can and decant into a smaller bottle.

2. Pure Acetone + Glycerin
Image Source: Labmuffin
So you're using acetone, and you've noticed it's incredibly drying. Your cuticles look disgusting, flaky and white, and you're going through tubs of hand cream to combat it. Now is the time to take your nail polish remover switcheroo one step further and add some glycerin to it. It's gentler on your skin, and as you can see in the comparison picture above, doesn't destroy your cuticles. See Labmuffin's recipe on how to mix up your own holy grail nail polish remover.

Click "Read more" to see the rest!

3. Lemony Flutter
Nothing takes better care of your cuticles than Lush Lemony Flutter. I've tried loads of different cuticle oils and creams, and this is by far the best. A handy 50g tub will set you back $15.50, which might seem expensive but a little bit goes a long way. I've only just gotten through my first tub that I bought almost a year ago, and I use it very generously. I rub it onto my cuticles thoughout the day and just before I go to bed, and after I've used nail polish remover. I also use it on my elbows and knees when they're a bit dry. Now I keep a tub of this in my car, one in my handbag and one on my bedside table.

Handy tip: Lemony Flutter can be quite oily so if you don't want to have slippery fingers, use a small brush (like an eyeshadow brush) to apply it to your cuticles. Clean and easy!

4. Expensive doesn't mean good quality

I'm looking at you, OPI. When I first started collecting nail polish, I saw OPI as the holy grail of nail polish brands - it's used exclusively in every nail salon in Australia, and with its high price of $20 per bottle, it has to be the be all and end all, right? WRONG. While I do love my OPIs (and they are generally really great quality), there are plenty of other cheaper brands that are the same standard. A lot of expensive nail polishes can actually be worse, in terms of formula, than budget brands. So make sure you do your research with a quick google before buying any high end polishes.

5. Don't buy anything for full retail price

Following on from the last point, Australia is a rip off for mid-high end nail polish brands. Did you know that OPI actually retails for $8 in the US - and there it's considered extremely expensive? The great thing about our global economy and the internet is that now we don't have to put up with the price rorting from international brands. This is a subject I feel strongly about, from both sides of the argument - I support buying local, and I know that Australian prices are affected by transport and freight costs, tax and economy of scale. But when the markup is over 100%, I just can't justify paying that. It's very easy to get any colour from any brand much cheaper online, and the 3 week wait is usually worth the savings.

6. How to paint nails properly

Source: Lacquerized
I don't have much to say here, except for knowing this technique for painting your nails will make your life a whole lot easier. It's the best way to get that nice clean line without flooding your cuticles. As with anything we do, practice makes perfect! Check out the full blog post by Lacquerized for some other handy tips on proper painting technique.

I also highly recommend watching this video by The Polishaholic on how she paints her nails:

7. Clean Up

The other must-do step in painting your nails is cleanup! Even though I'm pretty good at painting my nails after having so much practice, I almost always need to do a bit of cleanup to get that edge really smooth or fix any slips of the brush onto my skin. I pour a bit of acetone into an egg cup and dip a small brush into it. I tap the brush onto a cotton pad or tissue to absorb any excess acetone - if there is too much acetone on the brush it will actually make your nail polish flood into your cuticles and defeat the purpose. Then I lightly sweep the brush across the edge of the nail polish to clean it up. I usually do this while the nail polish is still wet, I find it removes it a bit more easily.

Lacquerized also wrote a really good post showing how she does her cleanup.

8. PVA Base Coat

Image Source: Pretty Purple Polish
If you wear glitter nail polish at all, you'll know what a pain it is to remove. Sure, there's the foil method but you have to sit around with foil on your fingers for ages and I personally find it quite fiddly. I would avoid wearing glitterbombs before I discovered the use of PVA (or craft) glue as a base. It works well for some people and not so well for others, as well as for different polishes. I personally find it works best on really thick glitter toppers like Lynnderellas. Read these posts for more information:

- Peel Off Base Coat for Easy Glitter Polish Removal (Pretty Purple Polish)
- PVA Glue Base Coat Questions and Wear Test (Pretty Purple Polish)
- Notes on Essence Peel-Off Base Coat and How to DIY it (Labmuffin)
- Troubleshooting PVA Peel Off Base Coat (Labmuffin)

9. Thinner

Are you guilty of throwing away an old nail polish that's become a bit too thick and gluggy? Don't worry, I am too. I didn't know what else to do with them before I discovered nail polish thinner. You can buy it at nail salons and beauty supply stores, and you just add a couple of drops to any thick nail polish to thin it out. It'll be like new again! Please please please don't add remover to your nail polish though! Thinner is different in that it is already a component of the nail polish base, so essentially you are just adding more of what was already there to begin with and has evaporated over time. Remover breaks down the chemicals in the nail polish and will destroy it over time.

10. Foil Method

I mentioned the foil method earlier, and although I don't use it that much now, I think it's still worth knowing about. It's an easy way to remove glitter nail polish without having to scrub for ages. Read about it on Elissa's post for Lacquerheads of Oz.

That wraps up my list of 10 things I wish I knew when I started painting my nails! I know a lot of this is basic knowledge, but I think it's essential knowledge for everyone, no matter how often you paint your nails, or how obsessed with nail polish you are. Is there anything that you wish you knew when you started painting your nails? Let me know in the comments!


Post a Comment


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...