Beauty 101: Nail Prep!

*use cotton balls, instead of tissue, saturated with nail polish remover to remove polish. 
Now you are ready for polish! In case you haven’t come across this helpful diagram on pinterest, it’s a great tool for applying nail polish:

(source) (if you know the actual source of this diagram, will you tweet it to me?)
So once your nails are prepped and ready, try some creative ways to wear polish:
*don’t mind the crooked line on my pointer finger **or my dry hands

By day old nails I mean don’t do this on the same day that you polish them.

Some other fun nail polish techniques can be found here
I love to wear deeper and darker colors in the fall and winter. Some of my favorites are Essie’s Mink Muffs, OPI’s You Don’t Know Jacques, and OPI’s Lincoln Park After Dark

To transition your nail colors from summer to fall, just look for darker shades of what you already wore.

 What are some of your favorite fall/winter polishes?


  1. Sarah says

    Great post! I love Chinchilly! It’s a great neutral. I have also been loving metallic nails and Scarlett O’hara- Essie

  2. Ingrid says

    Love that you are talkin Nails~ Licensed Nail technician here! Just a few extra notes: Always file/shape nails first. Also, some people have unruly cuticles that won’t lift away from the nail so it could be painful and unsuccessful to push them back dry. My favorite cuticle softener is called Blue Cross, which I use in every service. I buy it because it works and its cheap! Buy it at Sally Beauty Supply.,default,pd.html

  3. says

    I love doing my nails and collecting polishes! Except for trimming my cuticles this is exactly what I do. Thanks for sharing the names of your polishes….That is how I pick new polishes most of the time. Seeing it on someone else and then finding out what it is called keeps me from THINKING I will like a polish and then never wearing it.

  4. says

    I just bought some great new colors for fall! Deep red and taupy-grey, the new ELF ones from Target (I assume you’ve seen them) they’re so cute and only $2 – how could I not?! Lately I’ve been super into the matte finish topcoat, it adds so much more depth to the nail color, perfect for fall! Great post, Kate!

  5. Anonymous says

    I have always been taught, and have read in the recent Glamour or Allure magazine that while cotton balls work well, for at home manis and pedis you should use paper towels. Because the cotton can leave microscopic threads we can’t see until they get gunked with polish.

  6. Anonymous says

    You should use a glass file to shape nails b/c the cardboard-y ones can leave microscopic tears on the tips of your nails. And also you should not buff your nails before you polish. Only buff if you are going to have a naked nail. Smoothy, shiny nail beds will cause polish to chip off faster or even pop off in one piece b/c the surface that was painted on was too smooth. Use base coat or ridge filler over dry, unbuffed nails.

  7. Anonymous says

    One of the most important steps when applying nail polish (diagram states)is cleaning the nail bed so that it is free of natural oils and or hand creams. Polish remover works well no need for fancy product.
    Pretty nails, Kate!!! 😉

    Jen Vespa

  8. says

    Great tutorial; thanks! :) I was curious, what base coat do you use / recommend? I’ve been on the hunt for a good base coat, especially one that helps prevent yellowing of the fingernails.

  9. says

    I have short, trimmed nails with short nail beds–not a bitter. I’ve always shied away from color unless my nails were a little longer, but maybe that’s old school?

  10. says

    I saw the tip on Pinterest too for using a rubber band for guidance on a nice french tip. Love the colors you picked for fall. I tend toward purples and browns for the most part so some good altrnative to choose. Thanks!

  11. says

    SUCH a cute design. But I would recommend to all reading that when using cuticle pushers AND nippers that you should always, always, ALWAYS soak your nails/cuticles first before pushing or cutting – and cutting should be very rare. Cutting risks infection, and pushing w/out the cuticles being soften can cause damage to your cuticle, skin and nail beds. Not trying to harp but I’ve seen where dry pushing can cause ridges in the nail beds (former manicurist over here).

    That being said LOVE the color, LOVE the design and LOVE the tutorial!

  12. says

    You make it look so easy!

    One thing I do to make polish removal super easy is to tear the cotton ball into 10 small pieces and then saturate those pieces in polish remover. Then I place the pieces on my nails and just let them sit for about 15 seconds- the polish comes right off! And you only need one cotton ball (medium-sized). Simple! :)

  13. Anita says

    Apply OPI Bond Aid before base coat and you will notice how much longer your polish will last. I am a nail technician, and this is definitely a must! Love everything about your blog – thanks!!

  14. says

    Great post! My mother just started using Deborah Lippmann nail polish, it is more expensive but her nail polish has lasted forever, I couldn’t believe it!

  15. says

    “OPI Red” is my all time stand-by. It’s the perfect shade of red that isn’t too orange-y, yellow-y or blue-y (like my technical wording?) It can be worn with anything & doesn’t seem to clash. Great for a professional looking color on toes especially – I always use it before business trips.

  16. says

    Hi Kate, you can try to find the source of that picture by going to Google Images, and on the right side of the search box, click the little camera option. You can upload this picture and it will search the internet for where it has been used. :)

  17. says

    Always enjoy your blog. I do have an off topic question. What font are you using on the particular page. Specifically the white letting in the top 6 blocks? Thank you

  18. Sara Beth says

    I just bought some Essie 3-way glaze today @ Ulta! I used some from a friend and it really worked well.I am ready to try some fall nail colors too. I recently bought Essie “Angora Cardi” It goes on somewhat darker than the bottle looks,almost like a plum color. Great tutorial Kate!

  19. says

    I love neutral colors on my nails, currently I have Essie “Smokin’ Hot” on there, I was just wondering if you knew of a very complimentary color that would look good with this style you did? Maybe a brighter color?

  20. says

    Greetings Parents, Professionals, and Students, and welcome to Prepped & Polished! I’m a licensed guidance counselor Pre K-12 and professional tutor, and over the last 12 years my team of tutors and I have worked full-time helping hundreds of students achieve better grades, test scores, and self-confidence in and outside of school!…

    Prepped & Polished

  21. says

    Alexis is a member of professional organizations such as the Wayland Business Association and the University of Michigan Alumni Association (Alumni Student Recruiter); and also non-profit organizations such as Bridge over Troubled Waters, Mass Mentoring, Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, and Community Servings. An active mentor of the Big Brothers, Big Sisters of America since 2003,
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  22. Michelle says

    I recently came across your blog and have been glued to my screen reading & watching your amazing tips. This is a little off subject, but would you share the Font you used on the Nail Prep images? BTW, I love the shape of your pinky nail. I am in the process of kicking a biting habit and admire and find inspiration in keeping them constantly cute with new ideas I am finding.

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