Polish 101

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So, you’ve made the plung and entered the rabbit hole that is building a nail polish collection. Kick ass! You’ve just entered a world of color, friends, creativity, and crazy people that you never would have imagined! So, now that you’ve made your choice it’s the beginning of the fun: Where to start.

These easier way is to just get out there and get colors you like and go to it. However, soon you’re looking at pictures and wanting to make things look better. Or you want to make the plunge but aren’t sure where to start.

Let me help you.

I’m not the best at nail art, but I can help you with the basics, or find videos and pages to help you learn them. The link section here is filled with links compiled from the first two nail threads on something awful. I also grabbed out the most common questions with answers. Some questions though, are more…opinionated.

Q: What do I need to get started in nail art?

A: Well, simply put, polish. Everyone knows that one. A list for better than a 5 year olds nails, has more.

  • Base Coat
    • This will vary however. No one is better than another. In fact, some people will tout one as the greatest thing ever made, and for others, it just makes the polish pop off in sheets. If it’s not making the polish stick, or still staining or peeling, etc., try a different one until you find one that works with your body chemistry. You may get it in one try, or have a department store selection of base coats to use on your 5 year old family member/friend/foundling. Keep trying until you find what works.
    • These protect your nails from staining and can also treat/build up nail strength, fill ridges, or whatever other types of treatments there are out there. Generally, it’s helping give the polish a smoother surface, and keeping the color from staining the nail. Staining will grow out over time. Depending on the color of the stain and how dark, you may be limited to darker colors until it goes away.
  • Polish of Your Choice
    • There’s a billion rainbows out there. Put them on your fingers!
  • Top Coat
    • Just like base coats, top coats vary effectiveness with body chem. I love Posche, but some people don’t. Seche Vite is adored by lots of people too. It makes my polish pop off. Try everything and find what you like.
    • There are tons of options, from regular ones to speed dry. Speed dry however can sometimes strange things to polish. Mostly, it can sometimes make the color pull back from the tips. This is usually nothing to do with you, and everything to do with the makeup of the polish and top coat playing nice. 3-free polish may not play nice with non-3-free top coats. Try out what works.
    • Speed dry drops are also an option. These work with any top coat, so use whatever works, even if it normally takes years to dry. You put a drop or two (enough to cover all your nail) at the base of the nail with the finger angled down, and it runs down (this sometimes drips off, don’t do it on wood or things you love.) and in a minute or two, polish is dry.
    • Just because it’s dry, doesn’t mean you should be stupid. No heavy pressure or wanging it on door frames. You can still fuck it up, but once you touch it you should be able to go to the bathroom.
  • Nail Care
    • Glass files or emery boards for removing length and shaping. Generally, keeping the nails nice.
    • Orange sticks to push back the cuticle menace.
    • Cuticle oil or cream. Moisturizing with this will keep cuticles looking nice and if done right, keep them from being too much of a problem. Do it whenever you’re bored, reading, being kept in place by a cat, etc.
  • Remover
    • Polish remover to well, you know. Acetone can dry your hands out, but removes the polish. Find what you like. You will also probably want to lotion up after removing. Go for it. Just get a cotton ball of remover after wards to wipe off the nails before you paint. Lotion on the nails will not help the polish stick.

Generally, that’s a damn good starting place. You’re now set to do super basic nails and nail art! Yes, even without tools, you can do art. Ombre, Skittles, Skittle-ettes, or even just a basic accent nail. Hell, you can even free-hand french or american tips.