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It never fails! You go through all the trouble of painting your nails a cute color, only for them to chip the next day when you’re doing the dishes. The problem isn’t the warm dishwater.

It’s the fact that you don’t yet know how to paint your nails like a pro. If you want a beautiful color that lasts for weeks, you need to slap on both a basecoat and topcoat of polish.

There’s also a little prep that you have to do before you even think about picking up a brush.  Check out this guide to learn what these prep steps are along with a complete walkthrough of painting your nails.

Get Comfy

You can’t rush perfection. If you do, you end up with fingernail polish all over your skin and clothes. Since you’re going to be sitting on the couch for a hot minute, you might as well find a movie on Netflix to watch.

It doesn’t matter where you plop. As long as you’re sitting in front of a flat surface such as a coffee table, you should be good to go.

You should use the restroom because once you put on that first coat of polish, that’s it. You’re not going to be able to touch anything for a while. That includes toilet paper.

Eat a snack real quick. Fill up a water bottle so you don’t get dehydrated. We know we said you can’t touch anything but a bottle should be fine as long as you don’t touch your nails.

If you have long hair, tie it back into a ponytail. The last thing you want to do is dip your hair in your wet nail polish.

Prep Your Nails

Now that you have your workstation set up, it’s time to prep your nails for the basecoat. The first step is to make sure your nails are clean.

This means if you have a coat of chipped polish on your nails already, you need to remove it. Don’t try to paint over it, or you’ll end up hating the result.

Now that your hands are clean, you can trim your cuticles. You’ll have an easier time with this if you do it right after a shower. If that’s not possible, you can soak your hands in a bowl of warm water.

The last step is to trim and shape your nails with a file. Don’t do this while they’re wet, or they may break apart.

Apply a Base Coat

Before you go in with actual nail polish colors, you need to apply a base coat. The reason for this is that dark colors can stain your nails. You can use clear nail polish to suit this purpose.

If you’re painting your nails a bright color, you’ll have to use white polish as the base layer.

Add the First Coat of Your Chosen Color

By the time you get to this point, you’ve probably begun to feel impatient. It can be tempting to glob on a single coat of polish and call it a day. Please resist this urge.

Thick coats of polish not only look bad but take forever to dry. Do yourself a favor and keep the first layer thin. It will only take about ten minutes to dry this way.

Another tip we have for you is to not paint all the way to your cuticles. Leave a little space toward the bottom and sides of your nails. It looks cleaner and you won’t have to worry about chips.

How to Tell if They’re Dry

So, how do you tell if your nails are dry? Many people touch them. If polish comes off on their skin or they see any smudging, it’s not ready for another coat.

This method works, but it’s not the best one you could use. Instead, touch your nails together lightly. If they stick at all, they’re not dry yet.

Put on the Additional Coats

Depending on what color nail polish you’re using, you may have to do two or three coats to get the results that you want. The more layers you put on, the more vibrant the color will be. Three coats will also help strengthen the polish and prevent chipping.

Again keep the layers thin, or else painting your nails will turn into an all-day endeavor. Let your nails dry all the way before you add on another layer. If you don’t, things will get a little bumpy.

Finish Things Up with a Top Coat

Once you’ve got the color that you’re looking for, finish things off with a top coat of clear polish. If you neglect this, your masterpiece will only last for a few days before chipping.

Be sure that you cover the entire surface of the polish. Swipe the brush over the top of your nail when you’re done to help seal things in.

Clean Up Your Mess

The idea is to not color outside of the lines when you’re doing your nails. Mistakes happen, however. Nobody is perfect.

Dip a Q-Tip in a bottle of nail polish remover. Run it over your skin to remove the mess without touching your nail. You don’t want to ruin all your hard work.

How to Paint Your Nails Like A Pro and Enjoy a Fresh Manicure for Days

Does painting your nails never go quite as you plan. Clean things up by brushing up on your skills and learning how to paint your nails like a pro.

It’s not as hard as it seems. As long as you’re careful and follow these instructions, you’ll have a color that will stick around for a week or more.

Are you looking for more ways to stay beautiful? Check out the lifestyle section of our blog for all the latest tips and tricks.

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