How to Apply Nail Polish Perfectly

Applying nail polish correctly isn’t a case of just making sure you stay within the lines. It takes the correct amount of preparation, a steady hand, and plenty of patience. Here is how you can apply your nail polish for a perfect finish.

The first step is to ensure you remove any old nail polish. Use a non-acetone nail polish remover and follow this up by trimming, filing, and smoothing your nails. Doing so before you paint your nails ensures you are happy with the shape of your nails as well as the polish itself. It may also be beneficial to push back your cuticles to make sure you can brush on as much polish onto your nails as possible.

If you’re not as steady with a nail polish brush as you’d like to be, and you wouldn’t mind spending a little less time removing it from your surrounding skin, then applying a light coat of petroleum jelly to the skin around your nail is a good idea. This provides a barrier for your skin, ensuring if you do happen to get a little polish on your skin, it comes off quickly.

Once you’ve carried out your nail preparation, it’s time to apply a base coat. This base coat is essential as it gives your nails strength while allowing your nail polish to last just that little bit longer. Once this has dried, you can now apply your first coat of nail polish.

If you’re looking for the best finish possible, apply it in three quick strokes, making sure they’re even by only applying as much polish to the brush as you need for each nail.

You can determine whether your nails require a second or third layer by the type of nail polish you are using. Dark colours typically need at least two coats, while a clear finish might only require one coat. Make sure each layer dries between a second or third application as this can prevent damage to the surface.

Adding a top coat to finish off the process is also quite important to get that perfect finish. It makes it shine and can even help to hide any imperfections. If you’re impatient with how long it takes for it to dry, consider soaking your nails in icy cold water or using a quick-dry top coat.

Finally, if your hand wasn’t as steady as you would have hoped, you can then begin the cleanup process. Use a cotton bud to remove that petroleum jelly you applied around your nail, then put nail polish remover on a makeup brush to remove any signs of polish where it shouldn’t be. You now have a set of beautifully polished nails that can transform any look or outfit in an instant.


Applying nail polish takes time, patience and skill, but following a step-by-step process can see that you get the desired results. Take your time for a flawless finish, use only quality polish, and you’re sure to be more than impressed with the final product.