How to Fix Every Nail Problem in the Book

Augusta Falletta

nail polish how to

We’re not sure about you, but our nails get painted at least once a week. Whether we’re going to the nail salon or doing an at-home manicure, it’s more rare to find our fingers without polish than with. So, with all of this nail painting, we’ve seen just about every problem possible on our hands. To help you get (and keep!) the best manicure you can, we broke down how to fix every single nail problem in the book. From removing gel nail polish to fixing broken nails, we found the solution for everything.

Smudged Nail Polish: Try as you might, smudged nail polish happens. When it does, the earlier you catch it, the easier it’ll be to correct the lacquer. Simply lick your finger tip and with that finger, wipe the polish upwards towards the edge of your nail. A simple, quick fix and you’ll be good to go!

Chipped Polish: If you can avoid getting chips by applying top coat once every three days or so, you’ll save yourself major stress. But, chips happen, and if you can’t fix with the same color polish that’s already on the nail (read: you got your nails done at the salon and you don’t own the polish), paint a top coat of glitter over the nail. You can paint the same nail on the opposite hand for an accent nail effect, or cover up all 10 fingers for a like-new manicure.

MORE: 10 Things Bound to Happen Every Time You Paint Your Nails, As Told By GIFs

Polish on Your Cuticles:  We can’t all be Picasso. When you get stray marks on your cuticles (or anywhere else on your fingers), the optimal choice is fixing with a polish remover pen. But, if you don’t have one at home, simply dip a cotton swab in nail polish remover and use to remove the excess polish from your skin.

The Brush is Stuck to the Bottle: Nail polish that’s been around a while tends to get polish on the bottle that makes getting the brush out of the bottle a bit sticky. Put nail polish remover on a tissue and use it clean the opening of the bottle. To get things in tip top shape, put the tissue on the edge of the bottle, put the brush in the bottle and close so that the nail polish remover gets into every nook and cranny.

Spilled Nail Polish on the Floor: Using a plastic putty knife, scrape the polish strain off of the wood. If the paint is being stubborn, use a hot, damp cloth to loosen it and continue to remove with the knife. If there is still a stain, gently rub denaturated alcohol on a cloth and on the surface, being mindful to not scrub too hard, which would take off the finish of the wood.

MORE: 10 Weird Beauty Tricks That Really Work

Removing Glitter Nail Polish. Every time we paint our nails with glitter nail polish, we love it until it comes time to remove it. To save yourself frustration and hassle, try the tin foil trick. Cut a cotton ball in half, apply a generous amount of nail polish remover and place it on your nail. Then, take a square of tin foil and wrap around the nail to seal in the cotton ball. Let the cotton ball sit for about 5 minutes, then remove. Glitter polish will lift off immediately.

Hang Nails: Do not, we repeat, do not, pick at hang nails. You can rip or break your skin, leaving your finger open for infection and in some pain. Instead, use either a nail clipper or a cuticle scissor to gently remove the skin.

Nail Polish That Won’t Dry: When you’ve got no time to spare and your nail polish just won’t dry, submerge your fingers in cold water for about three seconds. When you pull your hands out, the polish will be rock hard.

Nail Polish That’s Too Thick: If the polish is fairly new and it’s too thick, add a few drops of nail polish thinner to the bottle. But, if the polish is old, this is likely a sign that it needs to be thrown out.

Peeling Nails: This could be a result of a poor diet, or of painting your nails so much that they don’t have time to breathe. Up the amount of calcium you’re eating, use a nail strengthening polish and give your nails a few days off in between manicures (when you can).

MORE: 4 Key Ways to Change Your Diet For Clearer Skin

Bubbles in the Polish: Instead of shaking the polish bottle to get the paint mixed, roll it in between the palms of your hands. Also, sticking the nail polish in the fridge for about 15 minutes before you paint your nails will insure a smooth, bubble-free finish.

Ridges: If you’ve got ridges in your nails, apply a ridge filler as a base coat to even things out and give the polish a good foundation.

Broken Nail: For a break that happens too far down for cutting or filing, apply a nail glue to the ridge, cut a small piece of gauze fabric and place it over the break. Apply more nail glue over that, then let dry and file the area. Apply a base coat, then polish and you’ll never see the break.

Removing Gel Nail Polish: Similar to removing glitter nail polish, use the same tin foil and cotton ball trick as above, but instead of nail polish remover use pure acetone.

Image via Istock