How to Get Nail Polish Off the Edges of Your Nails

Use just three strokes of polish for problem-free coverage.

Photo: Pixland/Pixland/Getty Images

You may be a manicure maven, but even the best of nail painters sometimes ends up with a stray bit of polish on her skin. No matter how gorgeous your final product, misplaced polish looks messy and detracts from your style and self-confidence. You’ll look and feel better if you banish that blemish on the face of your mani with some tricks that help you find your way to polished perfection.

Keep It Simple

One of the easiest ways to get rid of a manicure mistake is to do nothing. If you have a few hours before being seen in public, finish your manicure, let your nails dry and go about your normal routine. Unless your normal routine is not moving your hands at all, the movements you make will flake the mistakes off your skin. Speed up the process by taking a shower. The warm water will soften the polish so you can easily peel or rub it off. If you’re in a real hurry, reach for some toothpaste. Rub it on and rinse the problem away.

Remover to the Rescue

When you make a mani mistake, your first thought might be to grab a cotton swap, dip it in nail polish remover and use it to make the error disappear. This method is effective, but it’s not without risk. The bulky cotton can overlap the edge of your finger and spoil the polish on the nail. Instead of a swab, use an orangewood stick for this delicate maneuver. No nail polish remover handy? Dot some clear polish over the problem spot and lift off both the clear and colored lacquer with the orangewood stick. Then plan ahead for next time and buy a nail polish corrector pen. This tool contains remover and has a fine tip for erasing stray polish.

Polish Up Your Technique

The three-stroke method can’t guarantee polish-free cuticles, but mastering this technique minimizes the risk of coloring outside the lines. To use this approach, cover each nail using one stroke in the center of the nail and one stroke down each side. Then let your nails dry with no further fuss. The less fuss, the less possibility of problems.

An Ounce of Prevention

When you paint walls you rely on painter’s tape to protect certain areas. Do the same with your nails. Apply a little cuticle oil to the edges of your fingers before you paint. Any misplaced color will wipe off with the oil. Or check your favorite beauty supply store for cuticle protecting gel. This product protects your skin from accidents during the manicure and peels off when you’re done. A great way to have a flawless manicure is to stop mistakes before they can happen.

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