Friday, September 16, 2011

How To: Basic Manicure

This is something that's been on my to-do list, and I've gotten requests for, for such a long time.  Like, basically since I started my YouTube channel, which is almost 2 years ago now!  Well, I finally got around to it, but it's far from flawless so I've got a lot of notes to add in this blog post =)
Here's the vid:
Now, the first thing I forgot to talk about, is other base coats.  I'm not super-particular about my base.  I used to use Pro Strong Instant Nail Builder, but I finally decided it was too expensive for how often I was painting my nails.  I gave Seche Clear a try, but while some staining I know is inevitable, it was really bad with that - so, much though I love my Vite, I'm not a fan of the Clear.  After that I tried Nail Life Gripper, and I like it so I've stuck with it.  It's not that expensive & the big bottle is handy since I use so much LOL.  I also have their Hide Ridges base, and I have a couple of bottles of Nubar's Foundation Base Coat, but I usually save that for Nubar polishes in particular since they don't always play nice with other brands.
The next thing, and kind of a huge thing to forget to mention in the vid, although people should be able to see to a point, is that I paint my nails directly on my desk, by which I mean both the hand being painted & the hand doing the painting are resting on the surface.  This lends your hands support, which can be especially important for your off hand.  You don't have to worry about holding your hands steady, just about making a steady stroke.
Deciding how many coats of color to do is going to depend on personal preference, thickness of coats, and the polish itself.  Some lovely colors are opaque & wearable in one coat, while others take two, three or even more.  The important part is to keep the layers as thin as possible, let them dry a reasonable amount (which will vary polish to polish LOL) between coats, and, well ... use the eyes in your head!  If it looks like it needs another coat, do another coat =)  One trick to knowing beforehand is to look at the polish on the brush - is it opaque or is it sheer enough you can see the brush color beneath?
Top coat - I am a huge Seche Vite fan.  If I learned nothing else blogging, Seche would be an invaluable piece of knowledge.  BUT - it doesn't work for everyone.  Call it body chemistry or whatever you want, some people don't like Seche, have problems with shrinkage or tip pull, and it just doesn't work well for them.  Nubar Diamont is quite nearly as good - as long as you get the good version.  There was a period they changed it & it sucked badly for a while so I'm always a bit wary for a lame bottle.  A lot of people like Poshe, although I have never tried it myself.  There's even a nameless bottle of apparent awesomeness available from one of the e-tailers that picked up the nickname of David after Gabrielle from The Edge of Sanity did an exhaustive Top Coat Comparison you can check out HERE.  The bottom line is that there are a lot of great top coats out there that not only add shine & protection but will get your nails dry a lot faster than just sitting around waiting.
My final tip is for painting your off hand - painting your right with your left for most people, and vice versa for all my lefties out there.  Unfortunately, there's no magic technique, no quick fix - you have to practice.  BUT - you don't only have to practice when painting your nails.  Use your off hand to do other things - if you're doing a puzzle, pick up puzzle pieces.  Heck, if your eating chips, pick up the chips with your off hand!  Don't just let it hang off the end of your arm the majority of the time & then be surprised when you can't do anything with it LOL =)
Whew - I think that's everything I forgot!  Feel free to share your own tips & secrets in the comments =)  Or on the Fan Page - I am still trying to find time to catch up with blog comments but I've managed to get on top & stay on top of Facebook comments for like a whole week!  Maybe eventually I'll learn how to properly balance & stay on top of everything at once LOL.
Thanks for reading ... especially today, because that's kind of a LOT of reading =)


  1. I loved the video Colette :)
    We all think that "heey, painting my nails is not that hard" but there is a way to do it right and a way to do it wrong :)
    Just wanted to let you know that you are one of the reasons that I stopped biting my nails :)
    May sound stupid since I don´t know you, but you inspired me to stop biting my nails :)

    take care

  2. That's some good tips! I usually sit on my chair with the bottle between my knees and rest my fingers on my knee and paint it that way HAHA kinda weird but it helps me see everything up close and get more precise with the strokes :)

  3. Great video. Thanks for the tips!

  4. fab tutorial, as always. I love that you're so matter of fact and i love all the lols in your blogposts. Hey, if you manage to stay on top of everything for a whole week, don't forget to share how you managed THAT trick!! xx

  5. Wrapping tips prevent Seche Vite shrinkage in longer nails I've found. Also there is more tendency for shrinkage when Seche Vite starts to thicken which for me is a little more than halfway through the bottle. I'm not a fan of Poshe if that's the one that drags/re-wets color (I hate that). I am trying Out the Door right now and so far it's not bad at all. I've had quite a few try-and-fails for top coats. For base I love CND Stickey but may try Nail Life in the future.

  6. GREAT video!

    i've been growing my nails for the past 9 months, and have been giving myself manicures about 2-3 times a week throughout that time.

    thanks for the tips, and gorgeous color choice for the mani :)

  7. Fab Video!

    I just wanted to get your thoughts on how long to wait before applying Seche Vite. I noticed in the video that you cleaned your cuticles first which allowed your nails to dry a bit and then applied Seche. I've tried a few different method with Seche (applying while wet, tacky and dry), and I do love it, I just don't think I'm applying it at the right time.

  8. I'm so glad I came across your blog with this video! It was very informative. I've only recently started taking care of my nails (read stopped biting) and you gave me lots of tips on how to improve my manicure. I look forward to seeing more from you.

  9. ALY - it supposed to be designed to appky whikle the polish is still wet, but I've found I have less trouble with shrinkage & tip pull if I wait just a bit - the time it takes to clean up is just about perfect for me usually =)

  10. Thanks, I tried it last night - perfect manicure! YES!!!!

  11. Do different polishes take longer to dry? I usually wear wet n wild, sally hansen. They dry so quickly. But I just bought my first Butter London polish and I cant do a second coat without it bubbling.

  12. Thank you sooo much for doing this tutorial!

    I have recently been trying to take better care of my nails. (I've bitten them for as long as I can remember) And I noticed that when I paint them I don't bite them. But my problem is that I suck at painting! lol Anyway, I looked up tutorials and started doing a little better at painting so I have been bite free for about a month or so now. (which is a HUGE deal for me. lol)

    Anyway, the whole point of that is, I just found this tutorial today and it is THE BEST tutorial I have seen, and I have looked up a ton of them! So thank you so much for posting this!

    I have a couple questions too. Do you have any tips on painting short nails? My nails don't even go to the edge of my fingernails yet (They did when I hadn't bitten them for a few weeks, but I clipped them short again because they weren't very strong and were bugging me.) Anyway, I always have problems getting nail polish on the tips cuz my nails aren't long enough yet. So is there a trick to doing short nails?

    Also, how do you get the right amount on the brush? I try and get some off but it still seems like I either don't have enough or am flooded. I can't seem to be consistent in how thick my coats are on each nail. I'm sure as my nails grow it will be easier but for now I'm stuck. lol

    Anyway, sorry for the novel! I just wanted to say thanks and you're awesome! :)

  13. Hi Colette
    and thanks so much for that post! When I started reading nail art blogs I found so many helpful tips for my own manicures and I am glad there are so many experienced and skilled people around :)

    Basically I am doing my nails the same way (with the gap, 3 strokes etc). As a base coat I like to use Orly Bonder or CND Ridge Out which also have this rubber finish. As a topcoat I use INM Out the Door and CND Speedey. I always have sever shrinkage with Seche Vite :(

    Only recently I found the proper brush and polish remover for cleanup (I don't like pure acetone to be honest). Before I used the nail polish remover pens which are also very convinient when I travel!

    Thanks for sharing your beautiful nail designs.

  14. Love the post. Can you tell me what type/brand brush you are using? Is it made for makeup application or specifically for nails? The shape and bristles look perfect, and much more precise than using a q-tip. Thanks so much!

  15. ALY - I prefer waiting a bit, I think it helps with shrinkage at the tips or pull at the cuticles for me

    HAPPYTPUMPKIN - yes, each color dries at a little different speed

    MAGGIE - I think to wrap the tip on short nails, you have to not be afraid to get it on your skin, and just clean that part up later. Getting the right amount of polish on the brush is just mainly practice & one of the reasons I like to keep my nails around the same length - if I do a big chop I have to re-learn how much I really need =)

    SAMANTHA - the brush is actually from Michaels, the details have worn off the handle but look for one with straight & somewhat stiff bristles that are a good fit for your size of nail

  16. Thanks for the helpful tips and check out my yutube and sub to me too!!! Also check out my blog and you might like some of my designs...

  17. I love your nail polish techniques because for.many years I have been doing wacky things with my polishing. I did however notice some information you were giving that is.actually bad for your nails. Polishing your nails too often can weaken the nail especially if you use nail polish remover. Acetone is.too drying. A good.oil.treatment should be done after removing polish. A good.way to remove the oil and any residue that is still on.your nails after washing is to use rubbing alcohol instead of polish remover. Polish IS good for the nail in the sense that it keeps nails from chipping and seals in moisture, but on the other hand it seals good moisture, such as oils out. I guess like anything else, there are pros and cons to nail polish. Keep up the great tutorials. You've got my attention.


Thanks for commenting! I will read every comment, and try to respond to any questions =)

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