How To Paint Your Nails Perfectly

How To Paint Your Nails Perfectly

Believe it or not, there’s a knack to perfectly painting your nails. 

It’s not just a gift that some people are born with. There’s a tried and tested way to get an amazing home manicure every single time.

While a bad workman may always blame their tools, there’s something to be said for investing in the right ones. If you don’t have the kit to get the job done, how can you expect a good end result?

Painting your nails will be much easier with the right equipment – and that includes getting your hands on some decent nail polish.

General Hand Care

hand cream for manicure


One of the secrets to giving yourself a fabulous manicure is ensuring your hands and nails are properly cared for.

Your hands should be regularly washed and moisturized as a matter of course. Even when you’re not planning to paint your nails, hand care should still be a priority.

Try to keep a bottle of hand cream nearby whenever you wash your hands. Stick one in your handbag for when you’re out and about, and keep some by the sinks in your home.

You use your hands a lot throughout the day, so if you don’t take proper care of them, it really starts to show.

Remember to regularly apply cuticle oil. It keeps the skin around your nail moisturized, as well as adding moisture to your nail bed.

A healthy, hydrated nail is a great place to start when it comes to home manicures.

Trim, File & Buff

trim, file and buff


Before you begin painting your nails, it’s important to ensure they’re in tip top condition.

This means you need to shape and prep them before you get started.

Use a good quality nail file to smooth the edges of your nails and create your desired shape. If they’re too long for your liking, consider carefully trimming them.

The best way to shape your nails is to drag a file across the end of your nail, making sure to always do it in the same direction. Filing back and forth can cause your nail to flake and split.

If your nail plate has a coarse surface or any ridges, then you’ll need to buff them out. Use a nail buffer to create an even surface across your nail plate.

Apply a Base Coat

painting nails with gel polish

Whether you’re using gel polish or regular polish, always start with a base.

Invest in a high quality base coat and apply it across the full nail plate, ensuring there are no bumps, splodges or areas left uncovered. 

For good application, you’ll need a good quality polish. It’s important that the polish has been stored properly and hasn’t been sitting in your makeup bag for 10+ years. 

Shake the bottle before you begin, open the lid and wipe off excess polish from the brush before your begin. Paint in one direction, starting at the cuticle and dragging the brush towards the tip of the nail.

A good base coat will provide an ideal foundation layer for your manicure and help it last longer.

Apply the Colour Coat

gel nail polish


Once the base coat has been cured (or dried if you’re using traditional nail polish), it’s time to paint on your chosen colour.

You’re likely to need at least two coats of this polish to get a durable manicure that looks great. Some lighter colours can require more coats, so assess the situation once your second coat has cured. 

The application technique for each coat should be the same as the method mentioned above for the base coat.

If you make any mistakes along the way, clean them up with a cotton bud before you cure the coat.

Finish with a Topcoat

gel nails

Once you’ve painted your nails and the coats below have cured, it’s time for the topcoat. This is the last coat you should apply, so if you have plans to do some nail art, make sure you do that first.

Topcoats come in clear, shimmery, or glittery, so pick one that suits your manicure best.

A good quality topcoat will seal and harden your manicure for long-lasting results. 


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