I always used to wonder how girls got their manicures to look so professionally done–you know the look, a thin clean line around the nail bed and no stray polish blobs on the skin around the finger. I knew I certainly didn’t have a hand so steady that it could apply polish perfectly, so I was relieved when I found out the secret! And even though there are several other tutorials online, here’s my method:
Start with your painted nail over a bed of paper towels. I do my clean-up immediately after painting my nails.. I don’t wait for it to dry completely or anything. As I’m painting I focus on making the polish smooth and even. I try not to flood my nail bed with polish. The more it pools in the nail bed, the harder it is to get a nice line around the polish without staining or a noticeable hump. I’m not purposefully sloppy with painting, but if I get polish on the skin around my nails I don’t fret.
Pour the cap to a bottle of pure acetone about half-way full. I use this bottle for my clean-up, along with a $6 Revlon eyeliner brush I got at Wal*Mart. You can use whatever sort of brush you want–rectangular like mine, angled, or a fine pointed tip–but the 100% acetone is necessary for a fine clean-up. I’ve tried this with regular nail polish remover, and it just doesn’t work. This huge bottle cost me $0.97 at Wal*Mart. Ninety-seven cents. And, it works a lot quicker with a lot less work since it’s pure acetone. (It should be noted that you should always handle pure acetone around loads of paper towels, or on surfaces you don’t mind being destroyed, because it will eat through everything.)
Dip your brush into the acetone. You will figure out how much acetone you need on the brush with practice. I try to dip just the side of the brush in so the acetone reaches all the bristles but isn’t oversaturated.
Next, I wipe excess acetone off the brush and back into the cap. This is where I find my method differs from others. Some suggest you tap the brush onto your paper towels, but I find that doing this makes the brush become more dry than I prefer. I like to wipe off excess so the acetone doesn’t flood the nail bed but still has enough to do its job.
I begin by rubbing the brush over the blobs of polish on my skin. When the brush begins to feel dry or is stained with polish, I wipe it off on the paper towel.
Repeat these two steps as many times as is necessary.
Almost there! Just cleaning up the polish on the skin improves it tenfold, huh?
The last step is to carefully navigate the brush around the nail bed to finish the clean up. If at first you don’t see much difference between this step and the last step, try looking and comparing the two again. It really is noticeable!
That’s it! Not bad, huh? :)one