Nail Polish Favorites + a tutorial

I love having my nails polished. I feel more “put together” if that makes any sense. And after much searching and trial & error, I’ve found some favorite nail polishes.

Best top/base coat: Essie 3-way Glaze

Favorite grey: Essie’s Chinchilly

Favorite dark grey: OPI’s You Don’t Know Jacques

Favorite bright pink: OPI’s It’s All Greek To Me

Favorite neutral: OPI’s Bubble Bath, or So Many Clowns So Little Time

Favorite coral: Essie’s California Coral

I’ve also had so many years of practice polishing my own nails that I made a quick video to show you the technique. Smooth, steady, and only a few strokes are key to beautifully polished nails!

Good luck and I wish you chip-less nails! 

Leave a Comment

Comments (65)

  1. Posted April 5, 2012

    I have been needing a great base coat, so can’t wait to try this one….and it’s a top coat too?

  2. Kate says
    Posted April 5, 2012

    Yep, it’s both!

  3. Posted April 5, 2012

    I love all essie nailpolishes – but I am glad I got some more ideas and suggestions here. I need spring colors!

  4. Anonymous says
    Posted April 5, 2012

    Have you tried Passion from the OPI line? It’s great!

  5. Anonymous says
    Posted April 5, 2012

    Oh ya, Passion (OPI) is best with only one coat. It’s a fantastic overlay for french polish or just on its own! πŸ™‚

  6. Dana says
    Posted April 5, 2012

    I am pretty much obsessed with my nails and have been for years, but I just got my first bottle of 3-Way Glaze after reading so many recommendations for it. I had a tough time finding it and ending up ordering it. I don’t see it on Essie’s website…has it been discontinued?

  7. Posted April 5, 2012

    I’ve actually been looking for some good top and base coats. Thanks! πŸ™‚

  8. Posted April 5, 2012

    You don’t know Jacques is my all time fav! I wear it every season. I found a good spring one last week when I got a manicure too, it’s OPI, but I can’t remember the full name. I know it’s something with berries and canaries. πŸ™‚ It’s a deep pink.

  9. Laura says
    Posted April 5, 2012

    chinchilly and you dont know jaques are 2 of my faves too! i blogged about an opi red yesterday – red lights ahead…where? it’s #1 on my list!

    thanks, kate!!

  10. Jess says
    Posted April 5, 2012

    The first two colors are my favorites as well, I wear them all the time! I’ll have to try the 3-way glaze though. Thanks!

  11. Posted April 5, 2012

    Umm this looks erily similar to my nail polish bag! Love it!!

  12. Leigh says
    Posted April 5, 2012

    I love the 3 way base too! Those are some superb colors, especially the coral.

  13. Posted April 5, 2012

    how do you manage to make everything look so simple? haha i think i have the same technique when it comes to painting my nails, yet i always get it all over my skin! i’ve finally come to terms with the messiness for a while as they dry, then it comes off next time i wash my hands or even in the shower, just kind of scrape it off the sides of my nails! thanks for the always interesting tutorials!

  14. Emily says
    Posted April 5, 2012

    Do you have any tips for painting nails with your non-dominant hand? My left hand always looks great, and my right hand like I let a 3-year-old paint it.

  15. Laurie says
    Posted April 5, 2012

    I was looking for a good grey and coral, thanks!

  16. Posted April 5, 2012

    I love Its All Greek To Me! I wore it on my toes for my wedding almost 2 years ago and its been my favorite pink ever since!

  17. Posted April 5, 2012

    You have beautiful cuticles! Sounds like a fashion pick up line but really they are very polished themselves! Do you manage them yourself or do you get that done at a salon? If its all you what do you do/use to keep them looking so healthy??

  18. Wendy says
    Posted April 5, 2012

    ahhhh YES!! Thanks for the tutorial! I’ve been wanting a good nail tutorial. Will check this out tonight!

  19. Jessie says
    Posted April 5, 2012

    I love OPI’s So Many Clowns So Little Time–it’s what I wore on my nails at my wedding last year! (Even if it does have a name that is a little weird, even by nail polish name standards.)

    And I really don’t need another coral nail polish, but I might have to hunt down that Essie California Coral anyhow.

  20. Posted April 5, 2012

    Another essie product that I love is their ridge filler base coat. It gives you a more polished look. I love your blog, thanks for sharing~

  21. Rebecca says
    Posted April 5, 2012

    My favorite coral is Cajun Shrimp by OPI, but I may have to go find this Essie one too :o)

  22. Posted April 5, 2012

    I love Essie products!

  23. Rachel says
    Posted April 5, 2012

    I also have & love It’s All Greek to Me! Perfect summer pink. I’ll have to try that Essie base & top coat when I finish with my current one. My tip: I bought a very narrow, angled paintbrush from a craft store to help clean-up any mistakes on my cuticles/skin.

  24. Kristen says
    Posted April 5, 2012

    I’m always afraid to try new colors, especially the greys but they look so good on you! Maybe I’ll try it out this week πŸ™‚

  25. Posted April 5, 2012

    Great color suggestions! I also love Essie’s Geranium for a slightly orange red, and Master Plan for a nice light gray.

    I’m sorry though, I don’t think I could ever use a color called “So Many Clowns So Little Time”. Too creepy!

  26. Posted April 5, 2012

    I love nail polish and love corals too ! I just had shellac on my nails for a few months and found it so drying that I am taking a break. I did love the chipless convenience but hard on the nails. I am going for a manicure after work tonight, thanks for the colour tips !! Happy Easter πŸ™‚

  27. Anonymous says
    Posted April 5, 2012

    I have never been able to find the 3 way glaze. Any suggestions on where to buy?

  28. Posted April 5, 2012

    Hi Kate!
    What are your tips on not getting those annoying little bubbles in your mani?
    And how long do you wait in between coats of polish?
    (maybe you cover this in the video, I’m at work and can’t see the video πŸ™ )
    Thanks!! πŸ™‚

  29. Posted April 5, 2012

    Bubble bath is my absolute favorite.. it’s a go to every time

  30. Julie says
    Posted April 5, 2012

    I discovered Seche Vite last summer and it has turned me into a nail polish junkie! I NEVER had time to do my nails before with 2 young girls. I’d paint them, wait AGES, and still they’d get ruined. Now I can’t paint my nails and go to bed 5 minutes later and they’re fine! I tell everyone how amazing it is and even bought a bottle for my friend the other day. Seriously, BEST. TOPCOAT. EVER!!!

    • Anonymous says
      Posted April 11, 2012

      I agree! I’ve been using Seche Vite top coat for years (learned about it from a nail salon). It is the best! Dries quickly (less than 5 minutes) and lasts a really long time!

  31. Kendall says
    Posted April 5, 2012

    I have read your posts about the 3-way glaze and I cannot find it anywhere! *sad panda*

    • herriot says
      Posted April 5, 2012

      Try a Google search πŸ™‚ Seems to be available at Ulta and online at and on Ebay.

    • Kendall says
      Posted April 7, 2012

      Thank you! I wish I had an Ulta near me, but no dice. I will have to order it. πŸ™‚

    • Posted January 1, 2013

      I know your wrote this a looooong time ago, but I just stumbled upon the three way glaze at Walgreens a few days ago. I was soo excited when I found it!

  32. Anonymous says
    Posted April 5, 2012

    How do you do your right hand nicely if you are right handed?

  33. Lindsay says
    Posted April 5, 2012

    Essie is by far my favorite nail polish. I just bought their Good to Go topcoat and I’m obsessed with it – I’ve never used the 3 Way Glaze before!

    Another thing I’ve found that makes painting my nails easier is to paint my 4 fingers on both hands (both coats of polish) and do my thumbs last. That way if I get any polish on my skin I can use my thumbs to clean it up without ruining my polish.

  34. Michele says
    Posted April 5, 2012

    How long will the paint last, unchipped?

  35. Shannon says
    Posted April 5, 2012

    I hope it’s ok that I post this information and these nail ideas. Since you are such a nail polish junkie, I wonder if you have heard of Jamberry Nails. I have recently found out about them. They were started by 3 sisters in Utah. Anyway they are nails shields you can put on real or false nails by using heat from a hair dryer and pressure. They do not tear off like the ones from the drug store. They can last on your finger for up to 2 weeks and on toes for up to 6 weeks without chipping or peeling. And the colors and patterns are amazing. If you want to see what they look like check out
    I don’t mean to push these on anyone, but they are so fun an addictive, I like to support small amercian companies, especially when they make your nails look so cute!
    Have a great day.

  36. Anonymous says
    Posted April 5, 2012

    I am curious to know if you ever still use that “Gel Perfect” that you blogged about. I currenlty get Gel manicures because I LOVE them and they last 2 weeks. I would love however to try to do my own “gel” type since painting my nails never lasts! I do want to try what your video showed today, but I was just curious which one lasted longer. Thanks, and I really enjoy reading your blog!

  37. Kayleen says
    Posted April 5, 2012

    such a helpful tutorial! thank you!

  38. Posted April 5, 2012

    I can’t find Essie locally. Do you order it online?

    • Anonymous says
      Posted April 5, 2012

      Target !

  39. Posted April 5, 2012

    Thank you so much! I am about helpless at polishing my nails.


  40. Anonymous says
    Posted April 5, 2012

    Have you ever tried Shellac by CND? Love it!!!!

  41. Susan says
    Posted April 6, 2012

    What methods do you use for drying nails? It never fails unless I paint my nails like 4 hours before bedtime, I always wake up with sheet marks, finger prints or bubbles in my nail polish! I’ve tried quick dry nail polishes but haven’t found them effective. Any advice??

  42. Bethany says
    Posted April 6, 2012

    Love your blog and hair tutorials ! The hair explosion is my go to do during the week ! Keep those coming please. Have you tried Seche Vite? Highly recommend. It dries super fast so you can do your nails and go to bed like I do every Sunday night ! Chincilly is a fave of mine. If you like browns, try Essie’s Little Brown Dress. People have chased me down to find out the name of the color!

  43. Emily says
    Posted April 6, 2012

    How long do you let your nails dry between coats? It seemed like a relatively short time. My nails always seem to chip so fast and I wonder if it’s because I let each layer dry completely?

  44. Sasha says
    Posted April 6, 2012

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  45. Sasha says
    Posted April 6, 2012

    Those are such pretty colors! I’ll have to try Chinchilly. I agree that Bubble Bath is a great sheer. Have you seen the new OPI Ballet collection? I have it on order and can’t wait to get it and swatch it! There’s a gorgeous grey jelly!

    I’m a nail blogger and swear by Seche Vite top coat- I start at one pinkie and work my way to the other, then I paint one coat after another, no need to dry between coats- and then immediately apply Seche Vite (it has to be applied over somewhat wet nails) and then they are dry in almost minutes. Once I tried this, I’ll never use anything else.

    Here’s my pin of my nail routine:

  46. Hannah says
    Posted April 6, 2012

    essie has so many good colors chinchilly is my current favorite at the moment! for a dark grey i like OPI’s My Private Jet. thanks for the tutorial:)

  47. Posted April 6, 2012

    essie 3way glaze is HANDS DOWN my most favorite top coat. the best trick is to use it a few days later too to ensure long lasting nails. i get 2+ weeks out of every one of my paint jobs!

  48. Cindy says
    Posted April 6, 2012

    I also love Sally Hansen Insta Dry polish – I’ve never had problems with it chipping (I use a clear topcoat). It’s great when I’m in a hurry.

  49. Posted April 6, 2012

    Kate, how long does your polish stay on when using the 3 way base/top coat??

  50. Posted April 7, 2012

    I’m looking for a new base. I have got to try this Essie that you love so much!

    -Alexis πŸ™‚

  51. Posted April 10, 2012

    how do you get your cuticles pushed back like that? I push mine back with the cuticle tool but i can never get them back and shaped up! πŸ™

  52. Kim says
    Posted April 12, 2012

    Thank you so much for this video. I tried using less polish on the brush like you suggested and my nail polish looks so much smoother and is lasting longer. I really appreciate it.

  53. Anonymous says
    Posted April 14, 2012

    I have really been wanting to try the 3 way glaze but I can’t seem to find it anywhere that sells Essie! Have they discontinued that product? πŸ™ I see that I can buy it from amazon but I do not wanna get hooked then they discontinue it!

    Thanks so much!

    • Anonymous says
      Posted April 15, 2012

      I just bought it yesterday at my local Ulta store.

    • Posted January 1, 2013

      I know you wrote this a looong time ago, but I just found the three way glaze and many Essie colors at Walgreens the other day! I was soo excited when I stumbled upon it and wasn’t even searching for it.

  54. Brooke says
    Posted April 19, 2012

    Kate – How long do you wait inbetween coats? I used the 3 in one glaze and then put on 2 coats of essie polish but the next day my fingernails had lines in them from washing my hands the next morning(towel marks) . What am I doing wrong?

  55. Posted July 8, 2012

    On your recommendation, I bought some Essie polish (chinchilly, cute as a button, and navigate her), and I love them! I’ve been wearing ridiculously cheap polish for a long time, and I can already tell that this is better quality. I think chinchilly is my new go-to polish when I’m not sure what to put on. I love your blog. Thanks!

  56. Posted July 17, 2012

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  57. Posted July 17, 2012

    Hi, Kate and followers! I have started a fledgling nail tutorial blog a little different from most. I am a rookie when it comes to nails and have started a blog specifically for those of us who aren’t experienced with manicures. If it is okay with you, I would like to leave a link here. I have used your blog to do a manicure myself and found it helpful and would like to do the same for others with mine. Here is a link to my blog:

  58. Katie says
    Posted July 24, 2012

    I know I’m a little late to the party, but I bought some Essie polish last night. I got Chinchilly (thanks to your blog recommendation) and then the No Chips Ahead top coat. I’m right handed and can never paint the nails on my right hand without it looking like a toddler did it. With some patience and time last night, I painted my nails and they look great! I love Chinchilly and can definitely tell a difference in the way it goes on, dries and looks as opposed to the cheaper polish I’ve used in the past. Thanks for the recommendation!