A few of you have asked for some clean up tips and tricks. Today, I have a little step by step for MY routine. By no means am I saying this is the end all and be all of polish application. This is how I do my own nails. Other techniques might work better for you.
I used cuticle remover and an orange stick not too long, so I skipped that part today. I typically use it every week or so. I keep my nippers around to snag any stray skin. Do NOT remove your entire cuticle with nippers. It's far too easy to trim them too short and cause damage. Plus, who likes the feeling of acetone on an open wound? Not me.
I've been using Nailtiques Formula 2 for about a month. It's not too bad, but I prefer Qtica Nail Growth Stimulator. My nail beds are quite small and I have a lot of free edge. I think this could be the result of biting my nails as a child, and then having acrylics for nearly 5 years. It wasn't until a year ago that I started caring about my natural nails. The pictures below are one coat of Nailtiques as a base after using Zoya Remove+ to clean the nail plate.
After allowing the base to dry, I applied my first coat of Essie Where's My Chauffeur. The first coat wasn't too bad. I was expecting a streaky mess. (Don't mind the scratch in the bottom left corner of the full hand picture. My dear cat, Ralphie, doesn't know how to retract his claws, and he got me last night.)
There's plenty more under the cut...
The next step is a given. After the first coat was dry, I applied the second coat. It went on so, so smoothly. This color is a dream. The second coat made it completely opaque.
After allowing the second coat to dry for a few minutes, it's time to break out the good ol' acetone and my favorite clean up brush. I prefer the e.l.f Essential Concealer Brush from Target. It's only $1 and the perfect size for clean up. I get about a month's use from a brush, but it would last much longer for someone who doesn't change their polish as often as I do. I tried to get a picture or two of the clean up, but that proves rather hard when you don't have any help.
Make sure to blot your brush a bit before cleaning up. If you don't, there's a good chance you could flood your cuticles. I use a paper towel so that there's no cotton fuzzies.
Here are a few pictures of Where's My Chauffeur with no top coat. The shine and pigmentation are spot on. I couldn't have asked for a more beautiful Tiffany blue.
For good measure, I added a coat of Seche Vite. I could have done without the top coat, but I'm a creature of habit. I love the shine, glassiness, and durability that SV adds to my polish.
I'm not much of a blue fan, but I'm absolutely head over heels for this polish. I picked it up thinking I would swatch it and then pass it on to someone else. Boy, was I ever wrong. This is everything I wanted RBL Faraway and China Glaze For Audrey to be and more. It's the perfect turquoise for me. Even with over 500 polishes, I had nothing like this. It's definitely a keeper.
Clean up might seems like it takes forever. I feel that it's well worth it for the beautiful end result. The above application took me about 45 minutes because I was taking pictures along the way.
What's your favorite clean up method? How long does a typical polish change take for you?