Nail Polish Basics


Many techs take for granted that they will have the ability to polish perfect nails. However, that illusion is soon shattered when they find themselves spending enormous amounts of time producing inferior results. Clients expect and deserve perfect polish, and you can give it to them with some practice (and more practice) and the help of the following tips!

The Basics

  • Use all new polish of one brand to help define your technique. Client polish from home is usually bad, and it's usually not a good idea to allow clients to bring in their own, as you can't guarantee the "results" with it (especially in combo with UV top coat)!
  • Polishes should be thinned once only. When they thicken again after that it's time to toss them! Thin only with thinner and not acetone. Keep bottles securely closed and out of sunlight. Air exposure (the # of times the bottle is opened) greatly affects longevity.

  • First coat of polish is for coverage. Lay it down near cuticle and push toward and then back from cuticle in one movement, then still without lifting brush, now push it around the horseshoe to one side near cuticle then pull out. Repeat as needed to cover the nail for complete and total coverage, not being concerned about streaks or complete evenness.
  • 2nd coat of polish is for evenness. Try to do this in 3 (or 4 max) strokes and float this coat on for smoothness and glossy look. Small ridges and streaks will level themselves out given enough time and if you are using enough polish.
  • Be sure to pull out and over free edge end. Load brush, lay down near cuticle, push toward and pull back out in one stroke. Sometimes it helps to release some of the polish from the brush to the middle or tip of the nail so that you don't flood the cuticle, then go back and move that polish back into the rest.
  • Sometimes it helps to let polish dry a minute or two more before adding topcoat layer, so that your topcoat does not streak the polish (especially frosts and sheers!). Float topcoat on in long, even stokes, paying close attention to the free edge!
  • Key point: Polish is already starting to dry when you remove it from the bottle, so you must work quickly. Drying of the polish causes it to streak, so do not overwork the polish trying to get rid of streaks; you will only make more! Put the polish where it belongs and "trust" that it will work itself out, it almost always does if you just leave it alone...and topcoat can smooth out some slight imperfections as well.