One of the questions I'm asked most often is how I manage to get my manicures so "perfect" (aka neat) without flooding my cuticles or getting polish all down the sides of my nails. Well, today I'm going to share my secret with you!
First, let's talk about how to paint your nails. Lacquerized has a fabulous diagram on how to paint your nails correctly. I know, I know. It seems like the most obvious thing, but I've found that many beauties don't know how to polish properly, and it really does eliminate a lot of extra clean up.
Yea, the text is small. Click to enlarge.
Once you've properly painted your nails, either your bottom line at your cuticle won't be perfectly straight, or you'll have gotten a little polish on the skin around the sides of your nail. It's inevitable, trust me. Now, here's the pro tip to getting that perfect manicure... (Lacquerized and many other nail bloggers use this technique. I've learned it from them!)
Yup. A brush! The one I use is an angled eyeliner brush from Target and is pictured above. However, you can use whatever brush you want. Generally speaking, a medium-sized flat brush that isn't too stiff is what you're going for. Once you've found your perfect brush, I suggest getting backups. You'll be putting your brush(es) through a lot of wear and tear and they'll need to be replaced every so often. So now that you've got your brush.. what do you do with it?
Grab some pure acetone. Whether you leave it in the bottle or decide to pour a little bit into a glass dish is up to you. Just remember that acetone is VERY caustic and will eat through plastic and take the finish off of wood or whatever it comes into contact with. Therefore, if you do decide to pour some acetone into a glass dish, it's best to let the remnants evaporate instead of pouring it down the sink or toilet.. I don't know what would happen to your plumbing, and I honestly wouldn't take the risk.
Ok. Once you have your acetone, dip your brush in it and then dab off the excess on a cotton pad or paper towel. If you have too much acetone on your brush, it will flood your cuticle and start dissolving polish that you don't want dissolved. Once your brush is ready to go, lightly run it across the edge of polish that you want to clean up. The key is to remove polish without applying any pressure. You'll also need to wipe your brush onto your cotton pad or paper towel every so often because the polish will start to accumulate in the brush.
And that's it! Clean up usually takes me around 5-7 minutes, unless I'm working with a dark color, a glitter, blues or reds. They don't tend to clean up very well. Lastly, I usually wait about 10-15 minutes for my nails to completely dry before I attempt any clean up. Your wet polish won't mix well with the acetone!
After I clean up, I apply a top coat (Seche Vite) to my nail and make sure to swipe it along the free edge of my nail as well. This will help extend your mani by protecting your polish against any tip wear for at least a couple of days!
Finish up your manicure by treating your cuticles to some extra love because acetone can be extremely drying.. and your perfect manicure is ready to be flaunted!