One of my most asked questions (and requested videos) always seems to be about how I achieve the perfect line of polish near my cuticles. I've actually been asked many times if it's photoshopped even.
I think cleaning up a manicure is one of the most important parts of a manicure, and everyone should be adding this to their routine, if you haven't already. I know this is not a new discovery for those of you who paint your nails as much as I do, but I thought I would get into to all the extra details here, including my preferred brushes and everything else I've learned from using this technique everyday.
I generally use a small flat brush, "La Corneille 7450 Chisel (size 2)", which is what I've been using for as long as I can remember. I've tried different brands in the same size, which work just as well for me, however, some brands / hairs definitely hold up better in the acetone. Recently though, I've started using a small angled brush, "La Corneille 7400 Angular (size 1/8)", and I'm really enjoying it. It's not as stiff, but it's super thin (you can see this in my video below), so I love that I can create a beautiful line and keep it extremely close to my cuticle. I purchase them both at the craft store Michael's.
This is what I can't live without. I do not use it as regular nail polish remover because I can't stand how it feels and how it dries out the skin. I just use a small amount for cleaning up my manicures, (and for other nail art designs, etc.). I have tried using non-acetone and acetone-based removers, and it does not work for me, so pure acetone is a must. It's also the only thing that will clean my brushes, since I only use nail polish for my nail art. I purchase the Beauty Secrets Pure Acetone at Sally Beauty Supply. I've been told it's the same as what you can buy at hardware stores, but I haven't tried it.
I do paint quite neat already, always avoiding my cuticles, but cleaning the excess polish really does make a huge difference in the finished product. I would just say to try your best not to get the polish on or under the cuticles because your job will be much harder. I also always just remove tiny bits at a time, rather than trying to do one quick swipe of acetone, because there's really nothing worse than removing too much or smudging the polish all over the place. I've definitely removed too much a few times, and just ended up taking off the entire nail to start over, haha.
In the video below, you can see me clean up a simple black manicure (A England Camelot). As you'll see, I also apply my top coat after I clean up, and the reason for this is because I find when the polish is still a bit wet the line is much nicer than if I clean up after applying the top coat. Sometimes top coats just dry too fast and then the cuticle line isn't as perfect as I'd like. If I get any top coat on my cuticles, I just take the brush again and remove it, but this rarely happens (plus it's clear, so it's not a big deal anyways).
I hope this is somewhat helpful, and if you have any other comments or questions, feel free to leave them down below.
Thank you for reading! :)