Though I have been painting my nails for most of my life, I’ve only recently—as in, the last year or so—started to actually enjoy doing it. Uneven lines make my eyes twitch and air bubbles irritate me to the point where I just end up wiping off the polish and starting all over again.
Painting my nails seemed to bring out the worst of my perfectionist tendencies and I’d often get gel manicures just to avoid the unnecessary stress.
So, what’s changed since then?
Well, to start, there’s the obvious. With stay-at-home orders in place earlier this year, I, like many of my cohort, found myself having to take all grooming matters into my own hands. I learned how to cut my bangs, I became adept at applying false lashes for special occasions (and by that I mean, “camera on” Zoom days) and I have finally mastered the at home manicure.
Part of that can be attributed to practice, but far and away, the one thing that has made the biggest difference in the quality of my home mani is a flat edged brush for cleaning up edges, or a “clean up brush,” as Olive and June calls it.
Accidentally flood your cuticles with too much polish? No problem. Just dip the clean up brush in remover and wipe away the excess. Got polish on the sides of your nails? Clean. Up. Brush.
It’s so much better than using a Q-tip (which can leave behind those infuriating fuzzies) and it picks up more misplaced polish than an orange stick or cuticle pusher in one go. In short, it takes the pressure out of painting because you know you can easily fix any mistakes afterward. (Come to think of it, I would like a clean up brush for…life.)
Some final advice: After using your brush, make sure to wipe it clean with polish remover and then add a couple drops of cuticle oil to the bristles and gently press them between your fingers before you put it away. I’ve found that this keeps the bristles from splaying over time. And if you do find a wonky hair or two, just take your nail clippers and snip them off at the base of the brush.
Keep calm and polish on, friends.