How To Do Gradient Nails (3 Ways!)
How to Do Nails
If you're short on time, want to save money, or don't want to make a trip to a professional manicurist, doing your nails yourself is an easy way to accomplish all of these things. To paint your own nails, make sure any old nail polish is removed before applying an even layer of nail polish to each nail. Opt for acrylic nails by matching up a nail tip to each of your nails before glueing them on and covering them with acrylic powder. Whichever method you choose, apply base coats and top coats to protect your nails and paint job.
Painting Your Nails
Place your hands on a flat, protected surface.Stretch out a paper towel or regular towel to protect the surface you’re working on, such as a table, desk, or vanity. Make sure your hand is able to lay flat with your fingers spread out, and find a spot with good lighting to make painting your nails easier.
Paint your dominant hand first to make the process easier.This helps prevent smudging and errors, as it’ll be easier to paint your non-dominant hand rather than your dominant hand. Stretch your fingers out wide to prepare you for painting, and pay extra attention to your dominant hand when painting it using your non-dominant hand.
- Painting your pinkie first and then moving around your fingers to your thumb will help prevent smudging.
Apply a base coat to protect your nails.Spread the base coat over each nail in an even layer—since it’s clear and won’t be seen, it’s okay if this coat isn’t perfect. The base coat protects your nails from any damage the nail polish could cause while also helping the polish stick to your nails more easily.
- Let the base coat dry before applying polish.
Brush the nail polish onto each nail using three strokes.Dip the nail polish brush into the polish, wiping off any excess on the edge of the bottle. Start applying the nail polish right below your cuticle, swiping down the left, right, and middle of the nail.
- Apply the nail polish so it covers your entire nail, being careful not to get it on your skin or covering your cuticles.
Spread the nail polish in thin, even coats.Aim for thin layers as opposed to super thick ones, as thick ones will take much longer to dry. To ensure your coats are thin, wipe off the excess nail polish on the edge of the bottle each time you dip the brush into the nail polish.
Apply a second layer of polish after letting the first coat dry.Wait a few minutes for the first layer to dry completely. Apply the second coat just as you did the first, spreading the nail polish on in a thin, even layer.
- Do a quick touch test to see if the first layer of nail polish is dry or not.
- If you can still see your nail color through the first layer or the nail polish coat isn’t all the same shade, apply a second (and third, if necessary) coat.
Clean up any smudges using a Q-tip dipped in acetone.Dip the Q-tip in the nail polish remover so that it’s damp but not dripping. Use the Q-tip to go along the edge of your fingernail, gently removing any smudges or mistakes so that the nail polish is only on your nails.
Use a top coat to seal the polish and keep it from chipping.Apply the clear top coat in a thin, even layer to each nail once they’re completely finished and dry. It’s a good idea to brush the top coat onto the tip of your nail, which will prevent chipping even more.
- Note that if you apply the top coat to the nails before the layer of color beneath it finishes drying, it could create bubbles or ripples in the color.
Applying Acrylic Nails
Push back the cuticle on each fingernail.Do this with a damp cloth, your own fingers, or a cuticle pusher made of wood. Gently push back the skin around each nail so that your cuticles are no longer covering up the top of your nails.
- Wash your hands to make sure your nails are clean.
- Never cut your cuticles, as this can lead to infection.
Sand the top of each nail to remove the shine.Use a nail filer to gently scrape the top of your nail, creating a rough surface so the acrylic nails can attach more easily. Repeat this process on each nail until each nail no longer has a shine.
- Be careful not to file the surface too deeply, or you could damage your nails.
Match a nail tip to each of your nails so that the sides align well.Look through a package of acrylic nail sizes and start deciding which size will go on which nail. When choosing the right size, place the nail tip along the white part of your nail. Choose a nail tip that doesn’t go over the side edges of your own nail and isn’t too small.
- An ideal nail tip will line up perfectly with the edges of your nail.
- Use an acrylic nail cutter to shorten the nail, if desired.
- Purchase acrylic nails from a beauty supply store or online.
Use nail glue to attach each tip to your nails.Squeeze out the nail glue right along the edge of your nail in an even line. Place the nail tip on the glue, positioning it low on your nail but also high enough so that it’s secure and won’t break off. Hold the nail tip in place for at least 10 seconds, making sure it’s laying flat on your nail and not angled downwards due to any pressure from your fingers.
- Find nail glue at a drugstore, big box store, beauty store, or online.
Sand the nail tip to create a smooth surface.Once the acrylic nail tip is securely attached, use a nail filer to sand the glued-on edge. This will make it level with your real nail, creating a flat surface for the acrylic to adhere to. File the surface of the entire acrylic nail as well so that it’s rough and shine-free like your real nail.
- Use the nail file to shape the edge of your acrylic nail, if desired.
- Brush away any dust left from filing before applying the primer and acrylic.
Apply primer to your nails to get rid of any oils.Find a nail primer from a big box store, beauty store, or online that prepares your nails by cleaning them and helping the acrylic powder stick evenly. Apply the primer just as you would normal nail polish, covering each nail in a thin, even coat.
- Avoid skipping this step, as the acrylic powder won’t adhere well to your nails without the primer.
Dip a brush in monomer and scoop up a bead of acrylic powder.Use a small makeup brush, dipping it into the monomer and wiping off any excess monomer on the side of the bottle. Dip the brush into the powder, creating a dime-sized bead of acrylic on the tip.
- Get rid of any bubbles in the monomer on your brush to avoid having bubbles on your nails as well.
Place the powder bead towards the top of your nail, brushing it downwards.Once the bead has turned glossy, start spreading it on the top of your nail. Gently dab it into place right beneath your cuticle, using the brush to drag the bead of powder down along your nail. As you drag and dab the bead, it will flatten out. Use the brush to manipulate the bead of powder until your entire nail is covered in an even layer.
- Avoid getting the bead of powder on your skin or cuticles.
Let your nails dry completely before doing any extra filing or shaping.Let your nails dry for 15-30 minutes. Check to see if they’re completely dry by tapping them—if you hear a clicking sound, they’re dry! Use a nail file to shape the nail exactly how you like it.
Apply a top coat to protect your acrylic nails.Once you’re satisfied with how your nails look, brush on a protective clear coat in an even, thin layer. Cover the entire nail and brush the clear coat along the tip of your nail to help prevent chipping.
Keeping Nails Healthy
Apply hand cream to keep your hands and nails hydrated.Squeeze out a penny-sized dab of hand cream, spreading it onto each of your fingers so that your hands and nails are thoroughly covered. Rub it into your skin so there isn’t any residue left to keep your hands from drying out.
- Purchase a hand cream from a drugstore, big box store, or beauty store.
File any rough edges on your nails using a nail file.Rub the nail file along the edge of your nails going in one direction. Round each nail out so that the shape mirrors the shape of your cuticles.
- Make sure your nails are completely dry before filing them.
Push back your cuticles before painting or applying acrylic nails.This helps prevent you from painting over your cuticles, giving your nail more surface area. Use a cuticle pusher or damp cloth to push up each cuticle so that they create an even U-shape.
Use cuticle oil on your cuticles to prevent them from drying out.Apply the cuticle oil along each cuticle, making sure not to use too much. Rub the oil into your cuticles gently using your fingers so that it’s evenly spread out.
- Find cuticle oil at a big box store, beauty store, or online.
Remove old nail polish before applying new paint or nails.Dip a Q-tip or cotton ball in acetone so that it’s damp but not dripping. Wipe the old nail polish off using the Q-tip or cotton ball, rubbing the nail until all of the polish is gone.
QuestionHow do I paint on galaxy nails?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerGalaxy nails can be accomplished best by putting dollops of polish on your nail in whatever colors you choose. Then you'll need either a small tool with a small round ball at the end or a toothpick to mix the colors into one another. Be careful not to dig too much into the polish or the tool may leave lines in the polish. Once you're done, you'll need to let your nails dry for longer than usual, because the polish will be thick.Thanks!
QuestionCan I use bio oil instead of nail oil to keep my nails healthy?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYes. However, most nail products have a high concentration of almond or jojoba oil, so try looking at the ingredients, then compare the value for the money.Thanks!
QuestionHow could I push back my cuticles without the actual appliance needed for it?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerAll you have to do is find something curved, or you can even use your other nail. This isn't exactly the professional way to do it, but it does work!Thanks!
- Avoid using your fingernails to perform potentially damaging tasks such as picking or prying things, and don't bite your nails or pick at your cuticles.
- Opt for an acetone-free nail polish remover if you're using it more than once a week.
- Consider adding designs on top of your nail polish by creating an ombre effect, painting flowers, or doing galaxy nail art.
- Rub the nail polish bottle between your hands instead of shaking it to avoid creating bubbles in the polish.
- You can also purchase fake nails online, attach them to your whole nail using nail glue, and then paint over them using regular nail polish.
Things You'll Need
Applying Acrylic Nails
Small makeup brush
Sources and Citations
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