I've been planning to write a guide on nail polish brushes for months now (ah, procrastination) and I finally sat down to work on it.
A lot of friends have asked where I get manicures done, and they're usually surprised whenever I tell them that I groom and paint my own nails.
Besides steady hands and application techniques, the other most important factor is the brush.
The brush determines how the nail polish will spread onto your nails, and picking out the right brand with the right brush matters.
I personally prefer brushes with oval stems as the brushes will be wider.
On my smaller nails, I only need one swipe to paint them completely. Isn't that so convenient?
Yes, the texture of the nail polish matters too, but there is no point in having pigmented colours (that require less layers of nail polish) if your manicure ends up streaky or bumpy.
You can always work with different textures by layering up or down.
I would recommend Sally Hansen's Insta-Dry range to beginners as their brush is so stiff that it will force you to apply your nail polish in a straight line, even if your hands aren't as steady. Their range is also quite affordable, but rather difficult to find around here, and they carry only a handful of colours.
My favourite would be OPI's brush. It gives the widest application, their texture is just right and their colours are very pigmented.
One or two layers is enough for an opaque manicure.
Essie is OPI's serious contender when it comes to their colours and collections, but Essie doesn't have a wide brush, so I'm sticking to OPI.
Revlon used to have really good brushes about 10 years ago. Their old brushes were long, wide and fans out well. It's too bad that they've cut down on emphasis on the brush because it takes A LOT of patience to slowly apply their nail polishes without streaks.
Chanel's brush is alright. It takes some effort to get a streak-free finish, but they compensate with their cult-like frenzy they cause whenever new collections are launched.
I do need 4 layers of Coco Blue to get an opaque finish though.
Important tips:Feel free to ask questions!
- Always apply nail polish in a straight line from the centre of your nail near your cuticle, then repeat for the sides. This will give you a streak-free manicure and also prevents nail polish from getting onto your skin if you were to start from the sides.
- No matter how thin the texture is, you must always, always allow each layer to dry completely before moving on with the next layer. This prevents bubbles from forming.
- Rest both wrists on a flat surface to keep both hands steady. Applying nail polish using your non-dominant hand will take practice, but not entirely impossible.
- Nail polish texture too thin/watery? Just apply as you would with other nail polishes (remember to let each layer to dry completely) and layer up until the colour's opacity is as desired.
- Nail polish too thick? Pour in a drop or two of thinner and your nail polish is as good as new!
- Metallic/glittery nail polishes work best for beginners as their texture is more forgiving and imperfections aren't as obvious than plain polishes (as above). However, streaks will still show so you will still have to guide your brush straight.
Good luck ;)