Nail polish is one of our favorite things about beauty — it brings a hint of color to our otherwise boring, bare nails and can be changed up at a moment’s notice depending on how we feel or what we’re wearing. And when it comes to painting our nails, we may have the prepping part down (and plenty of nail art inspiration), but sometimes dealing with little things, like polish on your cuticles or making that neon shade of chartreuse pop, makes the difference between an irritating painting experience and a great one. Here, we’re sharing nine pretty genius nail polish hacks and tricks so you can step up your game and make the process a little bit more seamless.
1. Use an old eyeliner or eyebrow makeup brush that is slanted to dip into nail polish remover and clean up any mistakes around the edges of painted nails. The stiff angled point makes it sturdy so that cleaning up any errors is easy and precise.
e.l.f. Studio Small Angled Brush, $3 at Eyes Lips Face
2. Use a rubberized base coat to help polish last longer. The rubber texture helps polish adhere to it even more for long-term staying power.
Orly Bonder, $10 at Ulta
3. Use tape to create stripes and patterns for an easy nail art design.
4. When it comes to drying time, skip the fan. It may be faster than sitting around, but it will result in those little bubbles that ruin a good-looking manicure. Instead, apply a few quick-dry drops, which act as a barrier to protect your nail from smudging and also help polish dry faster.
Julep Ta Da Quick Dry Drops, $14 at Nordstrom
5. Use white polish to create an ombre manicure — simply up the white ratio to go lighter or less for a darker version of the shade.
6. You can also use a white polish as a second base coat to make bright colors and neon hues pop even more.
OPI Classics Collection Nail Lacquer in Alpine Snow, $8 at Drugstore.com
7. Another source of polish bubbles is shaking the bottle too much. Instead, roll it back and forth in between the palms of your hands.
8. Nail polish that sticks to the top of the bottle will prevent the cap from twisting on correctly, which will dry out your polish in no time by letting air inside. Prevent this by cleaning the top with a paper towel soaked in acetone remover.
Cutex Nourishing Nail Polish Remover, $2.99 at Drugstore.com
9. Use paper hole reinforcers to help create a half-moon manicure, a French manicure or a nail art design with minimal effort.