Nail Tricks

Nail health starts with a daily nail care routine.  Check out my nail and cuticle care post for easy tips on improving your overall nail health for awesome strength and growth!!


Here you'll find my answers to my most asked questions regarding nail care, nail polish, and nail art!!

Nail Care FAQ:

My nails are really thin and brittle!!
This happens to us all!  If I ever have any thin or weak areas on my nails, I immediately use Nailtiques Formula 2.  It's a great clear coat that works miracles!  It provides immediate strength and really promotes healthy growth!  You can find it at drug stores, grocery stores, and beauty supplies.  I've trusted it for over 10 years, and it's never let me down!!  Also make sure to take your daily multi-vitamin, and a daily dose of Biotin as well!  It's amazing for your hair and nails!!  And please don't peel off your polish!!!!  I know it can be tempting sometimes when the polish begins to separate from the nail edge.  It may seem harmless, but it can cause some serious weak spots that can lead to future breakage.


My cuticles are a wreck!
If you use a lot of polish and remover, it can take a toll on your cuticles.  To keep my cuticles healthy, I always use Burt's Bees Lemon Butter Cuticle Cream every night before bed.  It's a quick and easy - and great smelling - way to repair your cuticles!  If you plan on pushing your cuticles back, make sure you put some cuticle oil on first!  It makes a world of difference!  And please don't cut your cuticles! Ever.  I mean really.  Not ever.  If you have some messy cuticle areas, try using a cuticle remover gel paired with a sandstone cuticle stick.


The sides and tips of my nails keep splitting!!
There are a lot of ways to avoid this!  Cutting your nails down with clippers can seriously weaken the sides of your nails, and cause splits in the tips.  For filing, glass files are the way to go!  Metal files can cause a lot of splits in your nail layers!  Be sure to file in one direction only!!  And believe it or not, your nail shape can actually be a contributing factor in this!  Round tip nails are actually stronger than square tips!  If you're trying to get some length and strength, I would try rounding off the tips first, then squaring them off once you have your desired length!  Also, if you can avoid it, try your best not to mess with the sides of your nails.  This can lead to side weakening and cracks, as well as problems with the distal and lateral nail folds.


How can I stop biting my nails??
This is actually a question that I get asked a lot!! There are a number of different things you can do! First off, keep a highly noticeable nail polish on your nails at all times. Seeing a nice coat of polish on your nails will make you much less likely to bite your nails and ruin your polish.  If you damage them, start all over! If you have the urge to bite, busy your hands with something. It could be something as easy as squeezing a small stress ball. There are also solutions sold to put on your nails that have a horrible taste, should you try to bite them. I don't typically recommend these, as the flavor can get on to a food you are eating. You could even try wearing press on nails for a little while! A tiny amount of nail glue for this is much less damaging than using acrylics. After wearing them for a week or two, your natural nails will have grown out considerably and will be ready for an awesome manicure that you won't want to bite!


Should I consider just having acrylic nails done?
No. No, no, no, NO!!  Please, don't do that to yourself.  Acrylic nails can cause lifetime damage to your nail health.  Not to mention that it isn't the safest procedure either.  It can also be very painful and seriously damaging to your cuticles if the nail tech slips with the sanding tools.  Why would you pay someone to hurt you AND damage your nails at the same time??  There are always steps you can take to strengthen your nails.


I have nail ridges.  Should I use a buffing file to smooth them?
To this question, I always say no.  Anytime you use any type of file on the nail plate, you're weakening your nail.  Ridges are a pain, there's no doubt about that, but they're a part of your nail.  Would you consider doing such a thing to your nails if you didn't have ridges?  Probably not.  I suggest using a ridge filling polish after applying your base coat.  It's an easy fix that you won't regret later on.


My nail beds are so short.  Is there anything I can do to lengthen them?
If you've ever Googled this, you've probably been discouraged to read so many articles that say nail bed length is genetic and there's nothing that you can do.  This isn't entirely accurate.  There are steps you can take to improve the length of your nail bed.  When your nails grow, they are actually dragging the nail bed down your finger.  Using nail tools to clean the underside of your nail can keep your nail bed shorter, since the tools create minor shreds in the quick line.  This prevents nail bed growth.  Use a small soft bristled nail brush to clean under your nails gently with a very mild hand soap, and immediately follow with moisturizer.  You can't expect quick results from this, but, over time a little care and patience will definitely pay off.


Nail Polish FAQ:

My nails are taking forever to dry!!!
This happens, especially when you're layering colors.  There are a lot of great top coats out that dry your nails in a flash!  My favorites are Cult Nails Wicked Fast, Seche Vite, and Poshé!  Also, make sure to apply thinner coats of polish.  Thick coats will get you an opaque finish faster, as far as application is concerned, but it isn't the best method.  If you're dealing with a thinner polish, go for three thin coats.  It will make for a more even mani that will dry faster.


How do I keep my cuticles clean during my mani?
We all have those cuticle oops moments during a mani!  Whether you sneeze, have shaky hands, or just get bumped ... it's going to happen!  Orange sticks and Q-Tips can be a pain, and can cause you to possible damage your completed mani.  I stick to using angled eye makeup brushes!  Just dip the brush in acetone, and your clean up is a breeze!  It even helps clean up the top nail line for a nice crisp curve!  Just keep in mind that you will need to replace the brush every other month or so, because the acetone will eventually damage the bristles.


How much time should I wait in between manis to let my nails breathe?
You don't need to wait at all.  Nails don't need to breathe.  Technically, they're already dead.  So say, "No!", to naked nails!  Polish away!!!


I'm having issues with air bubbles on my nails after I paint them!
Try applying the polish in thinner coats. Thick coats are notorious for bubbling. Also, two thick coats take much longer to dry than three thinner coats.  Also, try not to shake your polish bottles too much.  Rolling the bottle is much better for combatting bubbles.  For glitter polishes that may have settled a bit, fight the urge to shake them and use a toothpick or an orange stick to stir the polish in a motion from the bottom of the bottle toward the top.  You won't have air bubble issues, and your glitter will be much easier to apply.


My polish starts peeling away from the nail too quickly!
For the peeling issue, always make sure to wipe your nails off with remover prior to applying your base coat. The remover will get rid of any traces of oil on your nails and improve the lifespan of your mani.  Additionally, never skip on your base coat.  It not only protects your nails, but is also a better polish bonding agent than your natural nails.  A rubberized base coat is also a great option for extending the life of your mani.  If possible, try not to keep your nails wet for extended periods of time.  Always make sure to dry your hands and nails off completely when you're able to.


I'm having a lot of trouble building up my sheers and jellies for more of an opaque finish!!
This is actually a relatively easy one.  Take your time.  Allow your base coat to dry completely, and apply one coat.  Now wait several minutes.  Allow the first coat to dry.  It is much easier to build up polish when you're not applying a fresh coat over a wet coat.  You probably won't have an opaque finish after your second coat, so give it some time to dry again.  On your third coat, you should have a smooth and opaque finish.  Top coat and done!!  If you're still having problems, you can also try using a ridge filler after your base coat.  The ridge fillers have more of a milky white tone to them which will cut down on seeing a VNL, visible nail line, through your polish.


The formula of my top coat seems to thicken after I've used it a few times.
This happens with a lot of the fast dry top coats, like Seche Vite.  Seche Vite does make a product called Restore, which is a thinner that will restore the formula.  Additionally, always make sure to close the cap completely if you're not using it at the moment.  Nail art can involve more than one coat of top coat, so it's easy to just leave the cap sitting on the bottle without closing it completely.  Doing this can cause your top coat to thicken much more quickly.


How can I make my polish removal easier?
Removing glitter polish can be a pain in the neck!  There are several methods of polish removal that work really well.  First off, make sure you are using a more gentle brand of remover.  I typically avoid pure acetone, since it's more prone to causing dryness of the skin.  My all time favorite is Zoya Remove+.  For a tricky glitter, I've always had success with the foil method.  To do this, I cut cotton pads into fourths and dip them in my remover.  I place one piece over my nail, and secure it with a piece of aluminum foil.  I leave it for about ten minutes, then remove.  My nail is perfectly clean of the glitter now!  There is also the Elmer's Glue method.  For this one, you take a bottle of Elmer's Glue and pour it into an empty polish bottle.  Paint your nails with a thin coat of the glue like you would your base coat.  Let it dry, and continue with your mani.  Once you're ready to remove, a little gentle pressure with your cuticle pusher will pop the entire painted section off.  (I'm not too keen on this one, since you are likely to have an entire nail piece pop off at any given time.  Plus, I'm never in favor of peeling anything off of your nail.  But it does work.)


Nail Art FAQ:

My stamp image won't transfer properly onto my stamper!
This could happen for a couple of possible reasons.  Whenever you get a new nail stamper, be sure to use your nail file on the rubber piece.  Filing it lightly will greatly aid in the image transfer.  As soon as you scrape across the image on the plate, transfer it onto your stamper using and even rolling motion.  I always make sure to clean my stamper with acetone after each application.


How do I know if a polish is good to use as a stamping polish??
Stamping polishes, such as Konad, are great.  But, they can get pricey when you think about all the colors you want to stamp with!  There are many, many polishes out there that will be great for stamping!  It can be a touch and go process for finding a good stamping polish.  An easy rule to follow is this: If it is a one coat polish, then it will more than likely be good for stamping!



My stamp image is too small for my nail size!!
Yeah, this can be kind of a pain, but there is a solution!!  After you transfer your image onto your stamp tool, remover the rubber piece from the tool and flex it inward.  This will stretch the size of the stamped image.


My scotch tape always messes up my base color when I use it for nail art!
This is an easy fix!  Always be sure to apply a top coat over your base color before you apply your tape, and of course give it a little time to dry!  Seche Vite is my go to top coat for this!  It dries almost immediately, so I never have to wait around to finish my design!  Also, make sure to press your tape on the palm of your hand to cut down on the stickiness!  Another issue you might face is having your tape tearing on you when you go to remove it. Try to take your tape off in a firm motion, but don't do it too quickly.  If you keep having tears, make sure you pull it off the nail at about a forty-five degree angle!  And always remove your tape immediately after your top color.  If the top color has time to dry, it will pull away with the tape during removal.


My polish is drying too quickly on the water surface when I'm trying to water marble.
Always make sure to use room temperature water for water marbling.  Also, sometimes changing the order of the polish drops can make a difference.  Water marbling is quite often trial and error, so be patient with it.


I'm having a lot of trouble with clean up after a water marble, especially around my cuticles.
Always make sure to tape around your nails before water marbling.  It cuts down on the clean up a lot!  If you're still having issues with the portion near the nail that isn't taped, you can also use your nail art stamper piece to pick up the design on the water surface and stamp the design on to your nail!!


I really love wearing large nail decal pieces, like bows, but I always have trouble with them getting caught in my hair in the shower!!
There is actually a really easy fix for such an annoying problem!!  Take a basic pair of rubber gloves and cut one of the fingers off.  Place the cut off piece over any nails with large decal pieces on them.  The rubber won't pull your hair at all in the shower, or while blow drying.



38 comments:

  1. I wonder how you clean your striping brush in between colors/uses??

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    Replies
    1. I use a tiny shot glass with some Zoya Remove+. I soak it for about 1 minutes, then blot it in a paper towel. I repeat this until it's clean.

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  2. IS cutting your cuticles really that bad for you? I feel like mine grow so much that I need to. :/

    LOVE your blog by the way!

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    Replies
    1. Cutting your cuticles is actually very bad!!! I use Essie Disappearing Trick cuticle remover. It gets rid of the excess without causing any damage!

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  3. Super tips!! I already use most of them but I am in dire need of something for my splitting, sore nails or my blog will suffer! lol I will have to give Nailtiques Formula 2 a try!!! Thanks a million :)

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  4. How do u sponge on your polishes? What do you use?

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    Replies
    1. I use a very porous basic bath sponge for creme colors. Shimmer shades are much easier for sponging, so I use a simple makeup wedge sponge.

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  5. Very nice tips! I really don't want to spend $10 on a top coat, but if they seche vite at ulta, and I have a $3.50 off of 10 coupon, well, it may not be so bad!

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    1. You can find Seche Vite for much cheaper at Sally's. :)

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  6. Wow, these are awesome tips! Thanks for sharing!

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  7. How do i keep from biting my nails?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This is actually a question that I get asked a lot!! There are a number of different things you can do! First off, keep a highly noticeable nail polish on your nails at all times!!! Seeing a nice coat of polish on your nails will make you much less likely to bite your nails and ruin your polish. If you damage them, start all over! If you have the urge to bite, busy your hands with something! It could be something as easy as squeezing a small stress ball. There are also solutions sold to put on your nails that have a horrible taste, should you try to bite them. I don't typically recommend these, as the flavor can get on to a food you are eating. You could even try wearing press on nails for a little while! A tiny amount of nail glue for this is much less damaging than using acrylics. After wearing them for a week or two, your natural nails will have grown out considerably and will be ready for an awesome manicure that you won't want to bite!!! I hope some of that helps!!! :)

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  8. Great tips! My best nail secret is Swanson ionic trace minerals. My thin peeling nails stopped peeling and got so strong within the first week of taking this supplement. It's been about two months and my nails are so long and so strong that I can't even believe it.

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  9. I love these tips! Oh, and I swear by Nailtiques Formula #2, it is my nails saving grace :O)

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  10. I started taking biotin when I started my blog, it is phenomenal! I haven't chipped a nail in months!

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  11. I love your colors and ideas. But I have an odd issue. Whenever I paint my nails the polish will peel off starting at my cuticle the next day. I also get tons of bubbles so it actually feels textured. What can I do

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    Replies
    1. Try applying the polish in thinner coats. Thick coats are notorious for bubbling. Also, two thick coats take much longer to dry than three thinner coats. For the peeling issue, always make sure to wipe your nails off with remover prior to applying your base coat. The remover will get rid of any traces of oil on your nails and improve the lifespan of your mani.

      Delete
  12. These are awesome tips - I've had the tape problem and the splitting nails issue. Thanks for putting this together! :)

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    Replies
    1. You're so welcome!! I really hope it helps!

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  13. When I do my mani's my nail poliah starts peeling at the tips that same day. Can I fix this pronlem

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    Replies
    1. For the peeling issue, always make sure to wipe your nails off with remover prior to applying your base coat. The remover will get rid of any traces of oil on your nails and improve the lifespan of your mani.

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  14. i love your blog:) how many nailpolishes do you have??

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  15. love your tips..I've started doing my own nails and they feel sooo much better and love SV!! i'm a mother of 3 so quick drying is VERY important to me!! Thanx!!!

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  16. I always let my nails breathe, I know you said you dont have to let them, but it helps prevent staining, and if you polish your nails a lot and then want to go naked your fingers will hurt. Not joking happened to my aunt.

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    1. Oh wow, I've never experienced that before. Thanks for the input! :)

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  17. Great tips! Thanks so much for the post. Your nails look almost too good to be true lol...I definitely will try some of these ideas :)

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    Replies
    1. Aw thanks so much Kelly!! I do everything I can to preserve my nail health, but we all have issues with them from time to time. :)

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  18. Where do you get the nail stamping kit? I would love to try that!

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    1. There are a lot of great stamping plate sets! Believe it or not, a good place to start is actually on Amazon! Here's a link to all the plate sets!!
      http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_0_13?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=nail%20stamping%20plates&sprefix=nail+stamping%2Caps%2C270&rh=i%3Aaps%2Ck%3Anail%20stamping%20plates

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  19. I like the tip about using the stamper to apply a water marble to the nail. Do you have a tutorial somewhere showing how to do this? I have just discovered the water marble technique and tried it for the first time today. The results weren't great, but they aren't bad either (though I am a perfectionist). How would you clean the stamper after each marble?

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  20. I love your blog! I'm curious about your storage solutions for your extensive polish collection? I'm having a hard time finding something that holds a large number of polish bottles!

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    1. This was actually an issue for me too. I was using Helmers from Ikea for a while, but I was so tired of not being able to see the bottles and digging through the drawers to find the right shade. I had this piece commissioned from a company called GL Wooden Things. I love it!!!
      http://www.nailpolishwars.com/2013/05/the-nail-polish-wars-mecca_26.html

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  21. What a great site. I wish I had found it earlier!!

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  22. Great site, I wish I had found it earlier!!

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