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What is 'nail polish'?

Nail Polish Know-How

Carla Kay (Celebrity Manicurist) gives expert video advice on: What is 'nail polish'?; How should I apply nail polish?; What is 'topcoat'? and more...

What is 'nail polish'?

Nail polish is something that women can have a lot of fun with, depending on what your mood is, or matching your colours to your outfits. Nail polish covers up any little imperfections that we might have on our nail beds.

How should I apply nail polish?

You should apply nail polish first by using a base coat, because a lot of women don't realise that they need a base coat to protect against the nail turning yellow, and it actually works as a primer to hold that polish on. The way I was taught in school was: you start with one stroke, take off the excess polish and start from the cuticle area. Take one stroke down the middle of your nail, and then go to the left side, one stroke, and then go to the other right side, one stroke. If you get a little bit of polish on your cuticle, it's no big deal - take an orange wood stick with some cotton remover and wipe away the edges.

What is 'topcoat'?

A topcoat is something that seals the polish. It makes it dry faster and gives it a shining ending.

What is 'basecoat'?

A basecoat is used to protect the natural nail against yellowing, and is also used to hold down the color. A basecoat is very important because it adds the fortifiers that you need to strengthen the nails over time.

What is 'nail strengthener'?

A nail strengthener is used to strenghten your nail to help the nail grow, to use as a primer to hold onto the polish. Everybody can use nail strengthener, whether your nails are hard or weak. You want to go more towards nail strengthener when you have weak nails because over time that is going to build up your nails to where you want them to be. Even if you have hard, strong, healthy nails, you need to use the nail strengthener as your base coat to apply before polish.

What should I consider in choosing a nail color?

You should consider, when choosing a nail color, the colors of your skin tone. If you are more on the fair side, for example, choosing a red, you want to go with more of an orange-based red versus blue-based. With ivory skin types, it is better to use more of a blue-based. With sheer pinks, you don't want to have too much of a red tone in your skin and go too pink; you want to go more of a neutral tan or neutral color. When choosing colors, again, if you're wearing a pink outfit, go with a sheer pink, go with a bright pink - it all depends on your mood.

How long should I wait for my nail polish to dry?

You should allow time for your polish to dry, especially in between coats, if you were applying it yourself. Apply your base coat, wait a few minutes before you put the colour, and then wait a few minutes before you put your top coat. If your manicurist is doing your nails, you should sit with a magazine for at least twenty minutes, if you want a perfect dry manicure, to walk out the door.

Should I shake my nail polish?

You should shake your nail polish, because over time, especially if your polish is sitting on your shelf or at home, you'll see the clear part separate from the colors. By shaking it up, it's all mixing back up again and you'll have a fresher even coat when your applying.

How long does nail polish last?

Nail polish probably lasts about a month or so. When it starts getting thick and it doesn't go on smooth enough, you want to get rid of it. Also, it depends on how much you're using it, and depending on temperature, where you're storing it. If it's in heat, it's going to thicken up and you're going to have to get rid of it in a few weeks. It should last up to a few months.