- 100% Pure acetone - Even though for removing nail polish I use my acetone with glycerin mix, for clean up I prefer to use pure acetone. This is what works best for me, but this technique will work with other nail polish removers, if you are not an acetone fan.
- Eyeliner brush - I have tried different brushes for clean up and find that the shape and flexibility of this type of brush works best for me. However, I suggest experimenting with different brushes to find one that works best for you.
- Contact lens case - Any small, airtight container should work. I happen to have lots of contact lens cases around, so I dedicated one to manicures. This allows me to reuse the acetone for multiple manicures. I just keep adding pure acetone when it runs low and I like that I don't have to waste it after each clean up because it has a cap. The right side of my contact case has acetone and the left side has water. I use the water to rinse the acetone off the brush after using it. This helps extend the life of the brush.
- Cuticle Pen - This is my favorite way to moisturize the cuticles after pure acetone. I use the Elf Nourishing Cuticle Pen that I get for $1 at Target. It has a stiff tip that allows me to apply the oil while the polish might not be completely dry yet without ruining the manicure.
A closer look at the brushes. All of these are inexpensive eyeliner brushes and all work equally well. I like the eyeliner brushes because they are flat and easily fit the contour of the nail.
- Top - This is a Wal-Mart store brand brush. It is inexpensive, but the bristles fall out extremely quickly (quicker than any other brush I've used). I bought a few at once so I have a new one to show here, but I rarely use this brush now.
- Middle - An Essence brush. This brush works very well and so far has held up perfectly to acetone.
- Bottom - This is a Target store brand brush. It is my most used and abused brush. I love it and used it for this tutorial...
- Apply a base coat and desired number of coats of nail polish
- Note: I go through the clean up steps prior to adding a top coat, but you can choose to apply a top coat before the clean up. I find that cleaning up before the top coat works better for me for two reasons. One, while I'm doing the clean up, the nail polish has time to dry and the topcoat doesn't bubble as much as it does over fresh polish. Two, the top coat is more stubborn to remove so it makes the clean up process longer.
- Pour some acetone into a small container (it is slightly pink in the photos from a previous manicure).
- Dip the brush into acetone
- Run the brush along the side of the container to get rid of excess acetone. This helps ensure that the cuticles don't get flooded with acetone and ruin the manicure.
- Place the brush at the base of the nail
- Sweep the brush along the cuticle toward the tip to remove the excess polish
- Rinse the brush in acetone
- Repeat the sweeping motion with the brush if needed until all of the excess polish is removed
- Starting at the base again, run the brush along the other side of the nail (I turn my nails to face me so that the the brush is never blocking my view of the nail)
- Rinse the brush and repeat as necessary until the cuticles are clean
- Apply a top coat (if not already applied)
- Using a cuticle oil pen, run along the nail in a similar sweeping motion as with the brush in Steps 2-3
- Allow the nails to dry and enjoy!
I hope found this tutorial useful. Please let me know what you think of it!
Thanks for looking!