How To Apply Nail Polish

We all want the perfect at-home manicure but let’s be real, it isn't always that easy. Well now is the perfect time to master that manicure. Here at ORLY we're spilling all our secrets on how to create Insta-worthy nails - we’ve put together the following fool-proof 5 step guide, teaching you how to apply nail polish like a pro. 

Step 1: Get those nails prepped

Generally, the key to applying nail polish neatly and accurately is nailing the manicure prep. 

  1. Remove old nail polish from your nails – any left-over polish will produce unsightly bumps in the nail and leave your polish more prone to chipping and peeling so use ORLY Genius Remover enriched with peach, white tea extract, and eucalyptus oil using a cotton pad to get old polish gone without stripping away moisture
  2. File and buff your nails using our range of ORLY Nail Files and our ORLY Buffing Trio – not only will this give your at-home-manicure a neat, professional look but by buffing the nail you’re smoothing out any bumps and ridges so your nail polish will apply like a dream
  3. Remove, tidy and push back cuticles using ORLY Cutique our best-selling cuticle & stain remover and the ORLY Cuticle Pusher
  4. Cleanse your skin and nails before applying nail polish – grease, oils and product on the nails can prevent the nail polish from bonding to the nail so will cause peeling. Not what we want! ORLY Clean Prep is the perfect pre-mani cleansing spray

Step 2: It’s all about that nail polish basecoat

A lot of people ask us how to apply nail polish to stop chipping and peeling and often they’re forgetting about nail polish basecoat, and it really IS all about the base!

Nail polish basecoat acts as double sided sticky tape on the nail, it adheres to your nail plate and gives your nail polish something to stick to. ORLY Bonder is loved by nail techs worldwide. The rubber base coat grips nail polish to the nail using cutting-edge resin technology for ultimate staying power.

Step 3: Three is the magic number of nail polish strokes

When it comes to applying nail polish perfectly, you only need three strokes of the brush to cover your nail. Start near the cuticle in the middle of the nail plate with your first stroke and paint to the free edge. Our ORLY Nail Polish includes 600-bristle Genius Brush hugs the cuticle, so no more-harsh straight lines at the cuticle. Follow it with two strokes, from cuticle to free edge, to the left and then to the right. Be careful not to overload the brush, nail polish layers that are too thick result in waiting forever to dry, bubbling and peeling.

Top tip: instead of painting right up to the cuticle and side wall leave a tiny gap (probably a few millimetres). This will stop you getting nail polish on the skin, give you a professional finish and make your nails appear longer. If you do get nail polish on your skin wipe it off quickly using an old lip brush, cotton bud or a cocktail stick.

Step 4: Seal the deal with a nail polish topcoat

Just as base coat is super important, topcoat is a must! If you want your at-home manicure to last longer, to resist chipping and to look salon-perfect you have to finish with a topcoat!

Wait until your nail polish is fully dry and apply your topcoat. We have a large range of nail polish topcoats, ORLY Glosser Topcoat gives you a high shine finish, while ORLY Won’t Chip Topcoat helps to prevent your nail polish from chipping and peeling. ORLY Polishield is a 3-in-1 quick-drying topcoat, high shine and chip resistant that contains UV filters to prevent nail colour from fading, perfect for those summer holidays.

Step 5: Keep up the nail care

Now, caring for your nails doesn’t have to be a chore so don’t neglect them. Use a cuticle oil every day to moisturise, promote nail growth and improve the appearance of dry cuticles. ORLY Cuticle Oil+ not only cares for your cuticles, but it smells incredible.

It also goes without saying that if you’re working your hands hard, excess washing, DIY or general nail-ruining activities you need to protect your nails. If your hands are in water a lot, use rubber gloves.

Now you’ve got the lowdown on how to apply nail polish at home you don’t need to fret about missing that salon appointment. Practise makes perfect, so you might not nail the at-home mani first time but now is the perfect time to keep at it and soon people will be swooning over your beautiful nails.

Shop our nail polish here.