There’s nothing more satisfying than getting nail polish that is smoothly applied, even at the edges and rich in pigment. While it’s true that practice makes perfect, a few tips and tricks can make all the difference between clumpy, chipped polish and pretty, long-lasting polish.

Here’s how you can get perfectly painted nails every time…

1. Start with clean hands

Woman soaking her hands in bowl of water and flowers, spa treatment and product for female feet and hand spa, massage pebble, perfumed flowers water and candles, relaxation. flat lay. top view.

The first step to follow before applying nail polish is to ensure you start with clean hands. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water to eliminate any dirt and impurities that may affect the polish and how well it sticks to your nails. It’s also good practice to run a cotton ball dipped in nail polish remover across each nail to rid them of natural oils that will interfere with the nail polish. You should do this even if you don’t already have nail polish on.

Also Read: Nail Styling Tips

2. Prep your nails

File for healthy beautiful manicure

The better the prep, the better the manicure. If you want salon-like nails at home, you don’t want to miss this step. A few basic tools like a nail file, cuticle nipper, cuticle pusher and nail buffer will get your nails ready for nail polish. Use the nail file to shape your nails the way you like. Pro tip: file them to the natural curves of your cuticles. Next, if you have any dry or tough skin around your nails, use the nipper to get rid of them. Softening your skin under a bowl of warm water before you start will make this step easier. The cuticle pusher can be used to extend your nails to paint them later. The last thing to do is to use the nail buffer to smoothen the texture of your nails, naturally giving them a shiny and glossy look.

3. Don’t skimp on the base coat

Woman having her manicure done close-up at the salon

You may wonder why you even need a base coat, but think of it as the protective layer between your nails and nail polish. A base coat has many benefits. The first one is that it helps your manicure last longer. The sticky base coat is easier for the nail polish to adhere to, meaning it won’t chip as easily. The most important reason is that it prevents your nails from getting stained and yellowed. The good rule of thumb is that the darker the nail polish, the more important a base coat.

4. Paint carefully

Nail salon.

Once the base coat is fully dry (wait at least 5 minutes), your nails are ready for the colour of your choosing. This is the trickiest part of applying nail polish for most people. But if you follow this simple rule, you will surely get an even coat. Always remember that less is more. You don’t want a thick layer of nail polish that will take forever to dry and may look clumpy. Dip the brush into the nail polish, so you have just enough to coat your entire nail. Start with one stroke down the centre and one on each side. If you want a stronger pigment, wait till it dries before repeating this step.

5. Add the finishing touches

Healthy beautiful manicure and polish

Once you’ve applied your nail polish, you will want to finish off with a quick layer of top coat. The biggest reason you shouldn’t miss out on this step is that it ensures your manicure lasts longer. The top coat acts as a seal that locks in your nail polish, protecting it from chipping. The smooth glossy effect of a top coat also covers up mistakes you may have made while applying your nail polish. And lastly, the shine and gloss give it that salon manicure look!

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Alka Choudhary

Nail painting is an art that I haven’t quite mastered and this article answered my how to paint nails query very well. This piece is very well written, making it an enjoyable read. The linked articles too are quite good.

Ranvijay Pratap Singh

Even though I am an artist, I used to have a hard time painting nails without making a mess all over my fingers. This piece clearly and effectively explains the process and gives tips on how to paint nails.


Painting nails was always a task for me as I am a super messy girl. This blog was really insightful and helped me with how to paint nails from basics. Loved it super helpful!

Pratibha Maheshwari

If you are someone like me who is clumsy and can’t get their nails properly. This is perfect blog for you. From how to paint nails to how to maintain it they have everything.