You can usually spot a Shellac manicure a mile away because of how neat and shiny they are. I looooove the idea of neat, chip-free nails but am not so crazy about the price tag, so in this post I’m showing you how to get the look for less in 10 easy steps with my DIY Shellac Look Nails post. Click below for the photo tutorial after the jump! -->>
Okay so first thing's first, it's always a good idea to wash your hands thoroughly before painting your nails as this will remove any oils from your nails which could cause your polish to wear faster. Get scrubbing!
Step 1: Is that we want to first use nail clippers to clip the nails to the desired length. I prefer clippers to scissors or a nail file for this step as you'll get a nice, even line which will help us to achieve a more professional finish. I also personally prefer nails with a short tip for a clean, modern look.
Step 2. File your nails into the shape that you like. Square, rounded, Rihanna-style killer points, it all works, just make sure that they're even. A huge pointer is to consider the fact your nail beds may not necessarily grow straight (some of mine are lower on one side) meaning that the line between your nail bed and nail tip may be a tad wonky. If you have longer nails, don't worry about shaping your nails to follow this line (as this will be covered with polish anyway and you'll end up wit crooked tips). Instead just focus on the shape of the very tips of your nails and imagine what they will look like once they're painted. It's tempting to file back and forth across the nail but this actually weakens them so instead file in one direction from left to right (or vice versa) to keep your nails super strong.
Step 3: Applying a base coat will help your polish to go on more smoothly as it fills in ridges and gives the polish colour something to stick to. It is also said to prevent nail discolouration by providing a barrier between the nails and your coloured nail polish.
Step 4: When it comes to polish I'm not actually all that fussy. Of course to can opt for the high st gel effect nail polishes like those from Barry M but to be honest, I just buy whichever colours I think are the prettiest and then use the steps below to get the Shellac look.
I will say though that I looove how smoothly this Sephora nail polish goes on. It is also mega-shiny too - score! Sadly I don't think we can get it here in the UK any more, I picked this one up during my Barcelona mega shopping haul (queue sad face).
I find that one hack for getting nail polish to go on smoothly is to load up my brush with to much polish and then swipe off the excess at the end of each stroke. This leaves enough polish on my nail bed to smooth itself out evenly as it spreads and cover any brush marks. This also makes sure that there's enough polish on my nails that I don't get any unsightly thin patches.
Got the brush mark thing down but, still don't think your nails look professional? It may be because you're painting too close to your cuticles. Aim to leave an even 1mm gap around the edge of your nails as you paint. Again, nails often grow irregularly so controlling the shape of the polish like this will give them a neater, more uniform look.
My final tip for polish perfection? Paint one stripe down the centre of your nail and then an overlapping stripe on either side to get even, coverage and a neat streak-free finish.
Step 5: Repeat!
Step 6: And again! Okay, so I agree that it's boring but applying multiple coats is the only way to ensure a nice, even (yes that word again) finish and a thoroughly professional look. The solid opacity is what really makes this technique end up looking like Shellac so get painting!
Step 7: Designs on Shellac nails may be a little unconventional but anything that can make your nails appear a little more impressive will give the illusion of a professional job. Adding sparkle to a single nail on each hand (usually the ring finger) is my favourite way of making my nails pop and adding some jooj - (joouge? schzuje? googe? Spelling please, anyone?) with minimal effort. Feel free to skip this step though if you prefer the classic look.
Step 8: Time to shine. A high shine top coat is mega important for nailing this look as Shellac nails are always super shiny. To get your nails glamorously glossed I highly recommend the Seche Vite Top Coat which you can get from Boots. It’s a £8 a pop but worth every penny. Do read the health warnings on it first as it’s not suitable for pregnant women etc.
Step 9: Finalmente (that’s 'finally' in Spanish dontcha know. Yeah, I speak Spanish…), once your nails have completely dried and I mean completely (I say this only as I never learn myself and even managed to smudge whilst shooting this tutorial), then the last step is to moisturise your hands. This will help your cuticles to look healthy which will, again, enhance the professional-looking finish of the overall look.
Step 10: I hope this helped! Try it yourself and let me know what you think and if you have any tops tips for manicuring please do share them with us below!
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