1. Remove Old Nail Polish
Obviously before you start with a new colour you must get rid of your old one first! Use a non-acetone remover, which is much less harsh and damaging to nails, press and hold for a few seconds on each nail before moving slowly to the top of the nail. Try to resist swiping up and down/back and forth as this can be damaging to the nail.
2. Wash Your Hands with Soap and Water
If you've followed step one your nails will probably smell of the nail polish remover you've just used, so it's important to wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water to get rid of the excess remover still on your hands. Wait for your hands to fully dry before moving on to the next step!
3. Use a Cuticle Oil
You can get nail cuticle oil pretty cheap these days so there's no excuse for not having or using one! Most come in a small tub, so simply use your index finger to spread it into circular motions on each nail, taking the time to massage it in. Leave for about 15 - 20 minutes for this to absorb and set into the nails before you begin painting them!
4. Start with a Base Coat
Base coats are also quite cheap (and top coats, for that matter), although you might end up paying a bit extra for good quality one that does a good job! To begin, all you have to do is swipe one coat over each nail and leave for about 5 minutes for it to dry - some will dry quicker but this is just to be sure! A good base coat will act as a protective layer for your nails and also prevent staining, especially with pigmented colours such as black, red, orange and yellow.
5. Apply 2 Coats of Nail Polish
Of course everyone will know how to do this step! Simply use your chosen colour and apply the first coat over the base coat underneath. Wait for about 10 minutes for it to dry before applying your second coat (if you're after an opaque look) and wait 15 minutes for this to dry.
6. Finish with a Top Coat
After your chosen colour has completely dried, swipe one or two coats of your top coat onto each nail. One coat usually does the trick to prevent chipping, but if you have time you may want to do two - just to be on the safe side!
7. Enjoy Your Nails!
Yay! You're all done so enjoy your freshly painted nails! Repeat these steps each time you paint your nails to ensure you're always doing it the right way!