Saturday, April 14, 2012

How to clean up your manicure to make it look fantastic

Hiya! Today I've got a tutorial that I've had lots of questions about- how I make my nails look like they're "perfectly polished." Friends have told me that I must have incredibly steady hands to polish  my nails so neatly, and yet nothing could be farther from the truth!

Instead, I've got a pretty noticeable tremor. My hands shake most of the time, and there's not really anything I can do about it. This means when I paint my nails, I get polish on the skin surrounding my nails as well. This makes it look like my nails were painted by a distracted toddler!

Thankfully, I learned how to fix it from several blogs, and I'm going to share the technique with you. It's fast and easy, and gives me that fresh-from-the-salon look. Have a look:

See? You can do this too, and with a bit of practice it won't take you long at all! Here are the details you'll need:

Acetone or nail polish remover
A paintbrush of your choice

I use a brush that came with a cream eyeliner from Black Radiance. It's almost the same brush that came with my Wet n Wild cream eyeliner, which isn't surprising the same parent company owns both Black Radiance and Wet n Wild! My brush looks weird because I taped it to a length of wooden dowel to make it longer.

I like this brush because it's nice and firm, and the angled tip lets me get into spaces I can't quite reach with a square brush. Still, brush preference is a very personal thing, and you might not like this brush. Try out several to see what you prefer!

You don't need a special nail art brush for this, either. You can use any brush you like. I've gotten brushes from art supplies and from WalMart, and they all work equally well for this.

Unfortunately, brushes don't last forever. As you can see, the fibers of the older (silver) Wet n Wild brush are kind of splayed out and going every-which-way. This doesn't work well when I'm trying to clean up my nails. The newer Black Radiance (gold) brush is also thinner, but that hasn't made much difference in my cleanup.

Unfortunately, the fibers in the newer brush are starting to get a bit wonky as well. I think it's time for a new one. Still, I think the eyeliner cost a whopping $3, so I'm not breaking the bank whenever I need a new one!

I hope this helps you, and that you can get neat nails too! Leave me a comment if you find this helpful.

Have a great day!

Polishes were provided by the brand for consideration.
See my disclosure statement for more information.


  1. great tutorial...this is exactly what i do!

    1. Thank you! Isn't it awesome? I love being able to look like my nails were polished perfectly, even though I can't do it to save my life!

      When I first started using this technique, it would take me almost an hour to clean up around my nails. Then I figured out- bigger brushes are better, and it's ok to let some acetone flood around your cuticles. :D

  2. Thanks for this. I've been soldiering along using q-tips, but now I'm definitely going to try to find a similarly shaped brush.

    1. Q-tips work for stuff far away from the nail, but I almost always end up messing up my nails with the q-tip, swiping away color I didn't mean to remove!

  3. I think if you make sure to rinse all the acetone out of your brush with water after each use, the bristles will last longer!

    1. Actually, the acetone isn't the problem with these brushes. I think it's the way I use them, and the way I store them. I am a bad brush mama, unfortunately.

  4. I use an Elf concealer brush,I got for .99 cents at my local grocery.But I still seem to have trouble,because I can't see what the camera sees.I clean up but then when I take photos,there is still stuff there.It happened today with my pastel sponge mani.I have white on my cuticles in the photo,but I can't see it,IRL. So once I have a video camera,it would probably help to clean up in front of the camera,lord have mercy.

    1. Oh, no... that doesn't really! I end up straining to see through the screen on my camera and can't get into comfortable, natural positions to reach my nails when I'm shooting!

      However, and this sounds so embarrassing but I totally own it- I bought a set of magnifying/reading glasses at the dollar tree last week and they help SO MUCH! I can actually see what I'm doing now when I clean up!

    2. Thank you,Laynie,that sounds like a great idea!


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