Applying nail polish on your own might sound like a cakewalk, but it can turn out to be a frustrating test of your fine motor skills, especially when using your non-dominant hand.

However, with a little practice and some helpful tips, you can master the skill of applying nail polish perfectly and without leaving your cuticles stained.

Steps to Polish Your Nails like a Pro

Things you’ll need:

4937 thingnseed apply nail polish fabhow
Photo: Fab How
  • Base coat
  • Nail polish
  • Nail polish remover, non-acetone
  • Cotton balls
  • Old makeup brush
  • Top coat

Step 1. Clean up your nails

Use a non-acetone remover to clean off old nail polish. Acetone leaves your nails super dry and can make them brittle over time.

  • Saturate a cotton ball with non-acetone nail polish remover. Rub it over your nails to remove any old polish. Use a fresh cotton ball if the first one gets too dirty.
  • Also, trim, file and smooth out your nails with a buffer before proceeding to paint them.

Step 2. Apply a base coat

It is essential to use a base coat. It makes your nail polish last longer and protects your nails from staining, especially if applying a dark color. Essie Ridge Filling Base Coat is a good option.

  • Dip the brush in the base coat and wipe it on the rim of the bottle to remove the excess from the brush.
  • Apply a thin base coat, using just 2 or 3 strokes.
  • Let the base coat dry before you proceed with applying the polish.

Step 3. Apply your favorite nail polish

4939 nail polish apply shutterstock missmalini
Photo: Azizatihealthansbeauty
  • Dip the brush in the nail polish so you have just enough to apply one thin coat. Remove any excess polish from your brush by wiping it along the rim of the bottle.
  • Place a small drop of the polish near the base of your nail, slightly away from the cuticle.
  • Push the polish up to the cuticle line, leaving a hairline space between the polish and the cuticle.
  • Then, drag the brush down in a straight line, starting from the base of the nail toward the free edge.
  • Swipe the brush along the left edge to coat the side of the nail. Do the same for the right side.
  • Make multiple light strokes, if needed, to even out the polish.
  • Repeat the process for all your nails.
  • Allow your nails to dry completely before applying the second coat.
  • For the second coat, use more nail polish but lighter strokes to avoid smudging the first coat.
  • Proceed to apply a third coat only if you want a deep color. Otherwise, 2 coats are enough.
  • Let each coat dry before proceeding to the next step, as reported by Azizatihealthandbeauty.

Step 4. Clean up any smudged polish

  • Dip an old makeup brush in nail polish remover.
  • Carefully rub off the smudges of nail polish on the skin around your nails.

Step 5: Apply the top coat

Once your nails are relatively dry, and the edges of your nails are clean from excess polish, the final step is to apply the top coat. The top coat will protect your nails from chipping and smudges, leaving your manicure lasting longer. Allow sufficient time for the top coat to dry (your nails should not be sticky at all!), which can take up to 10 minutes.

Try to avoid doing any tasks that involve your hands immediately after painting your nails, such as doing the dishes or folding laundry. Allowing sufficient time for your nails to dry and set will leave them looking fresh, shiny, and perfect, as polishperfect cites.

How to Put on Nail Polish Like a Pro

Having beautifully painted nails doesn’t mean you have to spend a bundle on a professional manicure. By following the step-by-step instructions in this tutorial, and with a few simple tools, you can learn how to easily paint your nails like a pro.

If you have some tips on how to put on nail polish like a pro, then we’d love to hear them! Add your thoughts in the comment box below, and don’t forget to share this article with your friends!

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