Get Salon-Quality Nails with These Simple Hacks


Spring 2024

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There’s nothing like indulging in a little at-home spa day and topping things off with some serious nail care and a fresh application of polish. But nail art can be surprisingly tricky and even the basics can be hard to nail down. Details matter for such tiny esthetic real estate. Below are some of the best tips and tricks the Internet has to offer for salon-quality nails.

Roll, Don’t Shake

You may be tempted to shake your bottles to avoid the dreaded pigment separation that happens over time with old polish. However, the vigorous movement will end up forcing air bubbles in the liquid, which will make for a less than smooth application. As an alternative, roll the bottle between your palms to mix the formula without unnecessary agitation. If you’ve accidentally ended up with bubbles still, gently rap the bottom of the bottle on a table or let it sit still for 15 minutes.

Fix Tricky Colours

Sometimes, if the colour in the bottle is no indicator of the opacity; you may end up with a polish that appears sheer and streaky no matter how many coats you apply. In such a case, try applying a white base to provide a neutral canvas for the colour to pop against. A nude-coloured base is also a good option and quick fix. This hack also works to protect against stubborn colours that stain the nail bed and resist multiple attempts with even your strongest nail polish remover.

Glitter and Glam

You’ve probably faced this problem before: instead of getting loads of chunky glitter from the bottle to your tips, you end up with nails covered in clear colour while the good stuff still clings to the brush. Take a cheap makeup sponge and apply the glitter directly there instead. Then, dab the polish onto your nails. The sponge will soak up most of the liquid and the glitter will stick to your nails instead. All you need to do is apply a top coat and tidy up with a cotton swab and nail polish remover. Magic!

Quick and Cool Dry

If you’re in a sudden rush after painstakingly applying layers of base coat, colour, and topcoat, you can speed up the drying process with ice-cold water. The top layer will set a little faster than the rest of the layers, but after running your fingertips under a cold faucet or gently dunking them in a bowl of ice and water for a few minutes, you should be able to get on with your day with minimal smudging.

Skincare as Hand Care

Your nails may look glossy and amazing, but your art will be spoiled by a frame of dry or ragged cuticles. Make sure you moisturize deeply after you’ve applied various chemicals to your fingertips (even when using products claiming to be 10-free, clean, and non-toxic!) If you don’t have cuticle oil, you can use facial creams, masks, and lotions to give your cuticles that all-important TLC. 

Rose Ho | Contributing Writer

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