There are a few tips and tricks that nail artists like me have to make our manicures look amazing. I want to share the 3 secrets nail artists know, because they are really easy and will make such a difference to your designs.

1. Clean up like a professional

Secret number one is that none of us paint our nails perfectly every time. We aren’t all ambidextrous, so painting our non-dominant hand is always a bit harder.

Whether it’s shaky hands, or a polish that floods your cuticles, good clean up will make it look like it never happened. All you need is a clean up brush!

You want a brush with fairly stiff bristles, and relatively flat, but the exact shape is up to your preference. I originally used a double-ended eyeshader brush from Revlon, which cost about £5-6.

3 secrets nail artists know - clean up

3 secrets nail artists know – clean up

Currently I use The Bling Brush from Clear Jelly Stamper, which has Kolinsky bristles and a flat, rounded shape. I’d really like to try this angled brush from Rainbow Connection though. It’s on my wish list!

I have a little shot glass sized plastic pot (it came with a home hair colour kit) and I pour about 5ml of my acetone blend into it. First I dip my brush in, then run the brush around my cuticles (and anywhere else that needs a clean up).

I always have a blue J-cloth or some paper towel on my desk to wipe off the removed polish. Then repeat until everything is neat and tidy. Give your brush a final rinse in acetone, then give it a drop of cuticle oil to keep the bristles in good condition.

2. Protect your masterpiece with top coat

Don’t let your hard work get ruined straight away!  If you’re anything like me you have zero patience, so do not want to sit around waiting for your polish to dry and set.

Polish goes from wet, to touch-dry, to set. Don’t be fooled by touch-dry polish, you can still dent it!

3 secrets nail artists know - top coat

3 secrets nail artists know – top coat

My HG top coat is Seche Vite. I’ve tried others, and they just don’t compare.  It is touch dry in minutes, and helps set your polish as well. No more bed texture after doing my nails late in the evening!

As a huge bonus, this top coat won’t smear your nail art either, like some top coats do.  Now, it does smell pretty strong (you should be using nail polish in a well ventilated room anyway) and can get a bit thick.

Grab a bottle of Seche Restore and add a few drops every now and then to fix that. Restore doubles as a nail polish thinner for any of your colours that go a bit gloopy!

3. Look after your hands and cuticles

Now your nails are looking fabulous, take a look at your hands! Are they well moisturised, or looking a bit dry and rough?

3 secrets nail artists know - cuticle care

3 secrets nail artists know – cuticle care

Find your perfect hand cream and cuticle oil, then use them often! Try to get into the habit of applying cuticle oil after your face routine before bed, and your nails will thank you.

If you want to find out more about how I look after mine, head over for a read of my seven-point routine for caring for nails and cuticles.

3 secrets nail artists know

Now you’ve got the tricks of the trade to make your nails look fabulous. What are you going to try first?

3 secrets nail artists know

3 secrets nail artists know