11 Steps for a ‘Grammable Mani



Have you ever struggled to try to get the perfect manicure? 

I think the answer you’re looking for is a resounding YES! We’ve all been there. This is how I paint my nails and get perfect results every time.

  1. 1. File those talons:

    Firstly, before you even begin polishing, you have to take care of your nails. I begin by filing my natural nail into my desired shape. When doing this, make sure to only file in one direction. Filing both ways can cause friction and lead to the nail cracking or breaking. I personally use and recommend a glass nail file because they are more gentle on the natural nail and will last significantly longer than a traditional nail file.

  2. 2. Push back and remove your cuticles: 

    I typically start by using Sally Hansen’s Instant Cuticle Remover. I apply the cuticle remover on my cuticles and massage the product into my cuticles for a few seconds for each nail. Then I’ll use a metal cuticle pusher to push back the cuticle gently. TIP: If it hurts to push back the cuticle, you are pushing too far or using too much pressure.

  3. 3. Wash those hands:

    After prepping the nail, there will likely be dust from filing and leftover dead skin from pushing back your cuticles. At this time, I also recommend using a nail brush to remove any dirt that may be trapped under the nail.

  4. 4. Prep with acetone or a nail dehydrator (optional):

    This next step is up to your personal preference. Prepping with a dehydrator or acetone will remove any natural oils produced by your nails and will allow the polish to stick to your nail better and last longer.

  5. 5. Base coat:

    I can not stress this enough, use a base coat when doing your nails!! Using a base coat will protect your natural nail, and will help your mani last longer so that all of your hard work won’t chip away. I use UNT’s Ready For Takeoff Peelable Base Coat. This base coat is peelable and makes nail removal so much easier, especially if you are using glitter polish. If you do not want to use a peelable base coat, there are many other types of formulas for specific nail issues. There’s ridge filling for bumpy and brittle nails, there’s smoothing, which typically blurs any imperfections on your natural nails, and there's strengthening base coats for those with weak nails.

  6. 6. First coat of polish:

    When applying polish, I stop just shy of the cuticle to make sure that I don’t end up flooding the cuticle. Flooding occurs when polish pools on your cuticle and is very difficult to properly remove. In order to avoid this, I just make sure to leave a small portion of the natural nail exposed. I begin by painting down the middle. When painting the middle section, I place the brush on the half-moon area on the bottom and push back the polish from there. This also helps to ensure that I will not accidentally flood the cuticle and gives better control than starting at the very bottom of the nail. Then, I paint the two sides and cap the end of the nail. If your natural nails are extremely short, you can skip this step, but capping is the process of painting the free edge of the nail. This will prevent chips in the polish and help the manicure to last longer. To cap the nail’s free edge, use what is leftover on the brush and drag it along the free edge of your nail. If this causes the polish on top of the nail to rise up, just take another swipe down the center of your nail to smooth it out. TIP: Wait at least five minutes between each coat to allow each layer of polish to settle before applying another layer.

  7. 7. Clean-up time:

    Immediately after applying the first coat, I will use a small angled brush or a pointed Q-Tip to remove any polish that may have gotten in the cuticle area or on my skin.

  8. 8. Second and optional third coat:

    Once again, I recommend waiting at least five minutes between each coat of polish before applying another. I apply the second and optional third coat the same way I apply the first. Beginning with the middle, then the two sides, and finally, by capping the free edge.

  9. 9. Top coat:

    A Top coat is vital to making sure that your nail polish doesn't chip, and also gives your nails a beautiful shine. Recently, I have been using INM’s Out the Door Top Coat or Essie’s Speed Setter Top Coat. Both of these dry incredibly quickly and leave a gel-like look to the nails. I apply this the same way as I apply the polish and always make sure to cap the free edge.

  10. 10. Wait, wait, wait… and then… WAIT SOME MORE:

    This step is crucial to having a perfect mani. Try not to use your hands for as long as possible to ensure that you don't prematurely chip your fresh manicure. I typically try to watch a movie while and after painting my nails to keep myself busy and distracted… and hands-free.

  11. 11. Cuticle oil and hand cream:

    Finally, when you feel comfortable that your nails are dry to the touch, massage in some cuticle oil, and then apply some hand cream. TIP: Apply hand cream and cuticle oil once or even several times a day to keep those hands nice and soft, and to keep those nails nice and strong.

And ta-da! Your nails are perfect and should last a week or even longer if you are gentle with your hands.