How to Paint Nails Perfectly at Home

by on Sunday, March 13th, 2011

While there are plenty of BASIC tutorials on how to do your nails, I’m going to walk you through a realistic process based on how I really do things. And to help me out, LECHAT Nail care sent me some items, which I shall mention along the way.

LECHAT Nail Care knows nails and doesn’t stop until they’ve presented you with about a million different options for how to get fabulous nails that you absolutely love. I got a chance to review some of their polishes (from three different collections), some cuticle oils, and some other nail-must haves that make applying polish a breeze. (I know longer have to fear mistakes!)

for nail polish to work properly

For nail polish to work properly and paint nails perfectly at home you need:

  1. Cuticle sticks are not mandatory for me. I never pay much attention to this, so I don’t have the details on this particular aspect. My nail beds are large, is the thing! If you have small nail beds, you’ll want to have these and be able to push them back.
  2. A NAIL SHAPER is something I love. I only use the attachment that is like sandpaper and I use it on my cuticles to smooth them out. I’m addicted to having smooth cuticles, and if they are rough I am instantly in a horrible mood.
  3. how to paint nails perfectly at homeBASE POLISH to keep nails from staining. I skip this if I’m doing a light color, sometimes. Although it does help the polish adhere (and stay) to your nails.
  4. POLISH that you love and suits your occasion/outfit. It should also be new enough that it isn’t sticking together or clumpy! If you must, you can put a little nail polish remover into the container and shake it, but be careful. You can fix old nail polish that’s thick, but usually it’s beyond saving after several years.
  5. GEL PEN to clean up mistakes – this is essential if you’re dong your own nails.
  6. TIME to do a good job – three swipes per nail, x2 is the best. Remember this: You don’t need to get polish in every little part of your nail. So one swipe down the middle of the nail and one on each side is good enough.  Trying to cover every spot on your nail will create messes that even the gel pen can’t fix.
  7. Good light to see what you’re doing, which is why the bathroom is one of the best places to do your own nails at home.
  8. A smooth space like a countertop. I often put a tissue under my nails. but you can use nail polish remover ON the counter, so it’s okay. If you’re doing it anywhere else, use a magazine.
  9. yellow nail polishNothing around that if you spilled upon, you’d freak.
  10. A comfortable place to sit. If you’re uncomfortable or at a weird angle you’re going to mess up your nails.
  11. TOP COAT to keep your nails from chipping.
  12. CUTICLE oil because it feels so good to have soft cuticles.
  13. NAIL POLISH REMOVER in case you make mistakes or want to change your color the next day.

Here’s my LECHAT Reviews of several of the products you’ll want to use:

The following four polishes can be applied at home, and are from the Dare to Wear section. I would say I tried a glitter, two sparkles, and a shimmer. All are especially perfect if you hate to change your polish because they stay on very well. These are all free of DBP, TOLUENE, and FORMALDEHYDE! Part of making your nail polish work for YOU, is picking colors that YOU like! And you should be having fun!

With a flash, here are the LeChat nail polishes I tried

And here are the same swatches without a flash

best gold glitter nail polish

Disco Tech: Strobe Lights – Are you ready for a total gold glitter explosion? Different shapes and intensities of gold ensure your nails will be very blingy. This would be great to wear alone, or over another shimmery or matte polish. (Glee style – All of the gals should wear this during a Sectionals performance!) I do think that it’s important to do a nice top coat, and realize that your nails will feel a little rough with such heavy glitter on. Something I did was press everything down (once it was dry) with the heat from another finger. I did get used to it after 24 hours. You can also experiment with this and layer this over other colors since the base is mostly clear. If you like the effect that some people do of making your nail polish look cracked and arty, this gives a similar kind of effect. It also slightly reminds me of a foiled nail – just with texture. And unlike foils, glitter stays on.

lechat nail polish

Dollhouse: Dream Princess –  The bottle makes it look like a sparkly rosy pink with peach undertones. I’ve never owned a color exactly like this. Sometimes I think it’ll be too orange, but it dries in this beautiful light coral or salmon tone. It’s really great. Like a warm peachy pink. And it has shimmer sparkles in it.

Dollhouse: Fashion Fever – The bottle shows you this sparkly neon green that looks almost too neon in the bottle. I honestly thought this would be more yellow than it is. It’s like a lime green.  Not bad if that’s what you’re looking for. The sparkly glitter that’s silver almost looks dark green sometimes. This is the only polish of the four that I don’t really love. I’m not much for lime, not even in my Diet Coke. LeChat does have actual yellow colors, though.

le chat nail polish


Dream: Silhouette – *FAVORITE* This is an easy color to reach for because it’s safe and pretty. The shimmer here is made of tiny, tiny shimmer that gives a nice sheen to your nail. The color applies so well and creamy, but you don’t lose the shimmer factor. It’s this beautiful light violet. (Pretty Little Liars Style – Spencer Hastings would love this for a school dance. It would match a silver dress so nicely.)

how to paint nails perfectly at home

LeChat Retractable Gel Pen: Where has this been all of my life? To paint nails perfectly at home you NEED one of these! This product is a must-have if you do your nails with any sort of regularity. If you get some of the polish on your skin, you don’t have to wait and use a q-tip with nail polish remover to get it later. Just swipe this over the offending spot! This is priceless!

how to paint nails perfectly at home

LeChat Cuticle Oils in Vanilla Almond: With a brush applicator that’s easy to use, and a sweet and dreamy vanilla almond scent, this is perfect to put on your nails before bed. I’ve ever put some on my elbow when it looks dry. “Designed to replenish your cuticles with moisture and suppleness.” (Gossip Girl Style – Blair Waldorf  probably uses cuticle oil as much as I do, which is very, very often!)

Nobility Cuticle Oils in Red Apple: Such a fun scent! The applicator here is like a dropper, which is a bit unusual to me. But it’s easy to drop some on a nail and then rub the product into your cuticles. However, you might waste some product, and you then get it on your fingertips… (Note: I like to use the brush of the LECHAT one and not have my fingertips oily so I can still type.) so I would not recommend this cuticle oil over the LECHAT one. Nourishing your cuticles feels so damn good, guys, though. This is offered in such a great scent, it’s easy to apply (for nighttime), and it’s enriched with vitamins and botanical ingredients to make your cuticles look radiant.

for nail polish to work properly

Double Agents: This base and top coat duo comes in a little cardboard briefcase which is so fun. And I think it’s perfect to give as a gift if you buy polishes for your friend and want to include something else that seems special. The quality is great. For nail polish to work properly you need a base coat (especially if you use a dark color that would otherwise stain your nails yellow) and a fast-drying top coat.


Click the first images to be taken to that flickr account.

Disclosure: I received items for review, there was no monetary compensation.

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