Friday, February 10, 2012

Magnetic Polish Instructions, Troubleshooting and Frequently Asked Questions

I've gotten a lot of questions about magnetic polish, so I thought I'd put all the information here in one place for easy reference. If I've missed something, please let me know so I can add it to this post!

HOW TO APPLY MAGNETIC POLISH
  1. Apply your usual base coat and let it dry.
  2. Apply your first coat of magnetic polish to all ten nails and give it a minute to set.
  3. Apply one coat of magnetic polish to a single nail. If it looks opaque enough, continue to step four. If it looks too sheer, add another coat to all nails before continuing.
  4. Working one nail at a time, apply a coat of magnetic polish and then immediately hold the magnet over the nail.
  5. Hold the magnet completely still for at least 10 seconds. Holding it longer will give you a clearer design.
  6. Continue this process (apply final coat, expose polish to magnet) on all ten nails.
  7. Wait a few minutes for the magnetic design to set before applying topcoat.


TROUBLESHOOTING

Magnetic polish does have a learning curve. It's not extremely difficult to use, but it can definitely take a few tries before you start to get the hang of applying it. Knowing how much polish to apply or how to hold the magnet to get the design to come out just right takes practice, but, to me, the results are worth the extra effort! These are some of the problems I've personally encountered when using magnetic polish.


For reference, these are the shapes I'm using below. Left to right: China Glaze diagonal pattern, China Glaze star pattern, Nails Inc. wave pattern, China Glaze chevron pattern.


The design looks like this:

Reason: Finger or magnet were moved while creating the design.

Solution: Hold still when exposing the wet polish to the magnet. If you wiggle or shift positions, it will create a blurred design.


The design looks like this:

Reason: Final coat of polish was already too dry when the magnet was applied.

Solution: Expose the magnet to the wet polish immediately after applying the final coat. Don't wait. If the polish is already too dry, simply add another coat.


The design looks like this:

Reason: The nail made physical contact with the magnet.
Reason: The final coat of polish was too thick or the magnet was too strong, so the magnet attracted the excess polish.

Solution: A thinner coat of polish will help prevent the polish from being attracted to the magnet. If your nail is actually touching the magnet, viewing your nail position from the side should help you to know when your nail is level.


The design looks like this:

Reason: Magnetic polish is too sheer.

Solution: Apply an extra coat of magnetic polish to each nail. Some magnetics will be opaque in one coat, others need two or three.


The design looks like this:

Reason: Final coat of polish is too thick and runny.

Solution: Apply a thinner coat of polish as the final layer. The magnetic design will still form when thin coats are used. When the coats are too thick and wet, the design will deform and blur as the polish pools and settles.


The design looks like this:

Reason: Topcoat was applied too soon.
Reason: Particular topcoat doesn't agree with the magnetic polish.

Solution: If this happens with every topcoat you use, try waiting for ten or so minutes to allow the polish to dry and the magnetic design to set before applying topcoat. If it only happens with certain brands of topcoat, switch to a different kind for your magnetic manicures.


The design looks like this:

Reason: The nail is very curved and the magnet is not strong enough.
Reason: Nail not level with the magnet.

Solution: If your nails are very curved, sometimes the magnet won't form an even design across the entire nail. This can be helped by choosing a magnetic polish with a stronger magnet. If you're having trouble holding your nail level under the magnet, view your position from the side to see if you're holding it straight.


The design looks like this:

Reason: Magnet or nail were off center while forming design.

Solution: The center of the design is usually in the center of the magnet. Be sure to hold the middle of the nail (or wherever you want the design to be centered) near the middle of the magnet. This is not always a problem; you can customize your design by centering it in different areas, it doesn't have to be right in the middle. It tends to be more of an issue on designs that look best centered in the middle of the nail, like the star or chevron patterns.



FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Q: Do I have to use a magnet?
A: Yes. The magnetic polishes won't do anything without a magnet. Some brands come with a magnet on the bottle, other brands sell them separately, but you do need one if you want the magnetic design. If you don't really care about the design but you like the color and want to wear it like regular polish, then no, you don't need the magnet. But magnetic polishes will not form a design without one.

Q: Can I use a regular magnet that I have at home, for example, a refrigerator magnet?
A: No. The magnets designed for magnetic polish are embedded with patterns. A normal magnet doesn't have a special pattern and will just make an uneven blurry spot on the polish.
EDIT: Three people so far have told me that they have successfully used household magnets with magnetic polish. I tried a refrigerator magnet and it didn't work to form a design, but apparently there are some that will form a striped design. It definitely wouldn't hurt to try different magnets from around your house to see if the polish reacts to them!

Q: If I have a magnetic polish magnet, can I use it on normal nail polish?
A: No. It won't do anything on a normal polish. Magnetic polishes are made with tiny particles of iron that move when exposed to a magnet.

Q: Can I use one brand's polish with another brand's magnet?
A: Yes. All magnets designed for use with magnetic polish will work across all brands. You can use the China Glaze magnet with the Lancôme polish, the Nails Inc. polish with the Layla magnet and so on.

Q: Will topcoat ruin the magnetic design?
A: It depends. From personal experience, I've found that China Glaze Fast Forward topcoat does mess with the magnetic design, but other brands of topcoat like Seche Vite and Nubar Diamont don't disturb the design. Most magnetic polishes dry fast enough to not need a quick dry topcoat, but if you want to apply topcoat, I'd recommend giving the polish at least five to ten minutes to set so you won't streak the design.

Q: Can I use a regular, non-magnetic polish as a base layer for the magnetic polish?
A: Yes. I've done this frequently to conserve the tiny bottles of magnetic polish. You can apply as many coats as you'd like of normal polish and then apply a single coat of magnetic and the design will still form perfectly.

Q: If I use a normal polish as a base layer, will the color show through the magnetic design?
A: Sometimes. It depends on the magnetic polish. Some magnetic polishes are too opaque at one coat to let the bottom color show through. The more sheer magnetics (like the light greens and greys) will allow the bottom color to show through the design.

Q: Is magnetic polish harder to remove than regular polish?
A: Slightly. It comes off with nail polish remover just like regular polish, but I've found that some magnetic colors take longer to dissolve. I may need to use an extra two or three cotton balls with polish remover when removing a magnetic polish than my usual one or two with regular polish.

Q: Why won't the magnetic design stay as crisp and perfect looking as it did when it was newly applied?
A: I don't know what causes the magnetic design to blur over time, but it has happened with every magnetic polish I've tried. It will stay perfect looking for about a day, and then by the end of the second day, the design will start to spread out and blur, as if the iron particles are mixing back into the base color. I have not found a way to prevent this, but making sure your design is set and dry before applying topcoat seems to really help.

Magnetic polish after three days of wear, no basecoat.


105 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. I'm so happy it was helpful! Thank you!

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  2. What a great comprehensive post, you rock!

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  3. All my Essence's magnetics work with refrigerator magnets and they made stripe pattern too. :) Great post. :)

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    1. Really?! Now I have to try again! I tried with a Nails Inc. and a refrigerator magnet and all it did was make a weird fuzzy blob. lol

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  4. This so helpful! Super great post Scrangie :) Thanks for taking the time to do this all!

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  5. That's a fab post, Scrangie!!
    One thing, though... about the regular magnets Vs. the specific polish magnets: do try out several of your regular "refrigerator" magnets 'cause MOST of them do form patterns and, in some cases, they work a whole of a lot better tnah the magnets provided by polish brands.
    My favorite diagonal stripe magnet is one I got from Zara Home and it's like a mini-frame to put pics on the refrigerator door! ahahaha...

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    1. That is really interesting! I only have one refrigerator magnet (the flat/thin kind) but when I used it, it really didn't do anything! I wonder if the magnets on the back of MAC eyeshadow pans would do something? Going to have to try that later, or maybe buy some more fridge magnets!

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  6. Great post! I love my magnetic polishes and need to go search for the China Glaze ones. That said, you know it's bad when a nail polish starts to need so many instructions, lol.

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    1. Haha, maybe it is! They are finicky to use but they're so easy once you get the hang of it. Still easier for me than Konad :D

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  7. Thanks Scrangie for the bonus tips! I love question #3, I'm sure someone's asked that! Now I want to go home and try my China Glaze magnet again!

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  8. I have had some luck with household magnets as well. For the most part you can tell if it will work by holding the magnet up to the bottle...if it pulls up a design, it should work. This doesn't always work on my Nails Incs though as their bottles are thicker.

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    1. Wow! You're the third person so far who's told me that, I really need to try out every magnet in my house now! I didn't think to test any others after my failed refrigerator magnet experiment, but now I'm going to have to gather every magnetic thing in my house and test it, hahaha

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  9. This is very in depth, thanks for posting this! I especially like how you posted a picture of the designs that were messed up and put a reason as to why.

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  10. This was a great post. How-To's are the best, I hope you do more of them!

    Sometimes if a top coat ruins the design, it can be resurrected if you're quick. While the top coat is still wet, holding the magnet over it for 15 seconds or so brings back the pattern since the particles can still move under wet polish. The design isn't in your face but it should still be noticeable, finishing similar to the blue chevron pattern you did above. I've done this a ton of times out of sheer laziness, and with different top coats (Seche Vite, Diamond Dry, SH Acrylic).

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    1. Thank you! And that's so simple, it never occurred to me to even try that. Totally doing that next time I ruin my magnetic design with topcoat!

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  11. Thanks for an excellent guide! I can't wait to try out the magnetic polishes

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  12. Thanks so much for an excellent guide. I just ordered my first magnetic polishes and I can't wait to try them out!

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    1. Thank you! I adore magnetic polish, I hope you have as much fun with them as I do :)

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  13. I don't own any magnetic polishes but this is one of the most helpful nail polish troubleshooting guides I've ever seen! Do you have one for normal nail polish tackling things like bubbling?

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    1. Thank you! I don't currently, but I've been thinking about doing one forever... Maybe I'll work on that soon :)

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  14. Thank you for this in depth guide and taking the time to do it! I don't have any magnetic polishes as of right now, but this is pretty helpful for when I get my first one.

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  15. Such a great guide with beautiful pictures, it must have taken you forever. I keep having problems with the polish jumping off my nail, but it just didn't really occur to me to use thinner coats - so I'm glad I read this! Silly me. You've saved my nails. ;-) x

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    1. Thank you! The polish jumping off is the problem I have the most when I use these, thinner coats really really helps :)

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  16. One of my friends actually used regular nail polish with a magnet and it worked for her, so some polishes might react to a magnet, it might depend on the brand though.

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    1. Interesting! It didn't do anything on any normal polish I tried, but maybe some polishes have some metallic/magnetic components that can react to the magnet?

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  17. This is really helpful! Thanks for posting, I think I'll have to have another jab at this.

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  18. Thank you for this super How-to. I already own several magnetic polish (we have a super brand in France that has a collection of more than 15 for 4,2 euros a bottle) but I still learned a couple of things from your post. I also tried using kitchen magnet, but all I could do was a "magnetic French mani". It's pretty, but it's not as dramatic as a pattern

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  19. Thanks very much for all the tips! One question though: which brands have the stronger magnets? That's what you suggested for very curved nail beds, and that's kind of my bugaboo - my nailbeds are VERY domed so I had mixed results with the one magnetic polish I tried. Thanks again!

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  20. (I hope this isn't a duplicate comment, it looks like the form ate my original)

    Thank you very much for this guide! One question, though: can you tell me which brands have stronger magnets? I have extremely curved nail beds and they were a problem the one time I've tried to use a magnetic polish. And thanks for letting me know how long to hold the magnet over it - all the instructions the manufacturers give never mention that little detail! Thanks again!

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    1. Based on my experience (I haven't used every brand yet), the Nails Inc. is the strongest. It's kind of insane, actually. It's my favorite, but it only comes in that one wavy design.

      The Layla magnet is the second strongest, and I always get a good strong pattern pretty much instantly with it.

      But if you have really, really curved nails, definitely give the Nails Inc. magnet a try. And if you hate it, Sephora at least has a great return policy :)

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  21. This is really great! I tried magnetic polishes yesterday and failed miserably, maybe I'll give it another shot with these tips.

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  22. Nice post! Im' so into magnetics, now i know how to apply them :)

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  23. This was so informative. I did some lookups the other day of new designs to try on my blog and I had this on my list to research becuase i thought it was soo pretty! I especially like the diaganol pattern. But really this was an excellent article I especially liked your extra effort in adding the troubleshooting for how if we were to try it, how to fix it! Excellent Post! Cannot wait to try this :-)

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  24. I'll keep your post as a bible, while using magnetic polishes in my works! Thanks a lot for this guide! Very precious!! :)

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  25. fantastic and comprensive guide.. thank you :)

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  26. this is so helpful, thanks so much!

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  27. Scrangie thank you so much for this. My daughter and I got these polishes to use for her Science Fair project. Yes we have already had it approved by her teacher!These tips are going to be very helpful once we start working on the project! Thank you again

    <Shannon

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  28. Replies
    1. Good to know what to look out for, I was wanting the blue to experiment with. : )

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  29. I see some mention of the fridge magnets already, but ill throw in my two pennies. I have icing Magnetix and the stripe is fine but I broke a nail so I cut them all short... well the icing magnet only gave me 2-3 stripes so I tried a thin magnet from the back of a notepad and it makes super thin stripes, so I get 5-6 instead. All my others just pull the polish into one solid color.. plus, if u want horizontal or vertical lines, its super easy. And if you have really long nails where the other magnet is too small, this can be used as well.

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  30. I'm such a klutz at applying regular polish that I've been too scared to even attempt the magnetics. However, now that I have this post, I'm ready to try it! Thanks, Scrangie!

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  31. Wow this is such a fantastic guide!! Thanks so much for this! The 'what can go wrong' photos are so helpful!
    :)

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  32. WOW. thank you so much for all the effort made in producing this guide! it's extremely comprehensive and covered all of the problems i've experienced in using magnetic polishes :D

    huge kudos to you, and i'm off to experiment with my magnetic polishes now ;)

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  33. Thank you for all the troubleshooting! This post is so helpful and stress-reducing. Thank you for all your hard work!

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  34. Thank you SO MUCH for this post!!!

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  35. This is the best post I've ever read about magnetic polish! It's so incredibly helpful, thanks! :)

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  36. This post was so helpful you truly are a great nail blogger!! xxx

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  37. Awesome post! Thank you for taking all that time to do all of those swatches and lay everything out so clearly!

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  38. Thank you sooo much! This is a huge help with all the goof photos in there. I could tell a few of the ooops I made like touching the magnet to the nail or top coat on too soon. But others of these that have happened to me, I had no idea what the problem was. Super reference. I am bookmarking this one right now!

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  39. Fantastic post! I'm excited to try the CG Magnetics, but have heard they can be troublesome compared to other magnetic polishes. If I end up having any problems, I'll be happy to have this as a resource to refer to! Thank you for all your time and effort in making this post!

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  40. Wow, I never knew there was such a thing as magnetic polish! I will be looking for it this week.

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  41. Had no idea China Glaze also made the magnetic nail polish! *must climb from underneath rock*

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  42. I'm so excited, I just ordered my first magnetic polish & am anxiously awaiting it's arrival. So lovely, very cool I just can't wait to try it out!

    P.S. I absolutely love your blog & follow you faithfully, you have inspired me to start my own, so thank you!

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  43. Thank you so much for this post! Sometimes I think I make some of these mistakes when using magnetic polish. Now I know what I should be doing differently to get great results every time! Very informative. :)

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  45. As soon as i saw these babies on your blog i ordered them Lol!! They came in today and i have spent the last two and half hours learning how to use them!! i thought it was a semi success until i saw your pictures again i saw that they were the same:D My right hand is lighter than my right but that is just cuz i wasn't keeping the thickness consistent. But so far i am happy with my results, they are well worth the effort<3

    You are right tho, it does take a little bit of failing before it becomes a success. So far i am mastering the stripe design and then the next manicure will probably be the starburst one. I really love the two that i got which are Drawn to You and Attraction. Thank you so much for the tips and trick:D You are golden Scrangie!!

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  46. Great post!
    My main problem is that the design doesn't cover the entire nail; from this post I guess it's because my nails are too curved. So I will have to find a way resolve that.

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    1. A stronger magnet should help- the strongest one I've tried so far is the magnet from Nails Inc.

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  47. What about removing this polish? Does it come off like standard polish?

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    1. Good question! It does, but it takes a little longer to dissolve. Will update my post!

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  48. This really is effing awesome. I have a Nails, Inc. bottle that was fine, but I just picked up China Glaze, and it's terrible! I'll have to give it a go using your tips. I REALLY wanted to do the star design and place a gem in the center...

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    1. I hope you can get it to work with some of these tips! I've heard so many people say they had a hard time with the China Glazes, but they worked great for me- I think it's the weaker magnet that's giving people trouble. Be sure to hold it longer than you think you need to! :)

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  49. Thank you *so* much for this awesome post--I've saved it with my nail tutorials!

    It's interesting, I read this today, and happened to get my 4 Deborah Lippmann magnetic polishes as well. I was happy to see a page of helpful info--but it sure did sound alot like this--you and DL must be on the same wavelength ;)

    My nail swatches have mostly been ok....now I need to get 'em on my nails!

    (totally random comment--I finally found a bottle of Scrangie!! *Grin*)

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  50. Very good post on all the informations and very detailed!

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  51. Thank you sooooooo much for this post! I just used the polish tonight and bagged it up to return to store. Now, after reading this, I'll give it another try! Thanks again!

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  52. Thanks so much for this!!! I really appreciate it! I haven't tried yet but I will soon and hopefully have good results like you did thanks to your awesome tips!

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  53. This is helpful! I was wondering if I ruined my magnet from using nail polish remover to remove the polish that got onto the magnet... Are there anything that may damage the magnet?
    Thanks!

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    1. Nail polish remover won't hurt the magnet as far as I know- I usually clean my magnets when I'm done using them because I always get polish on them! I'm sure it's possible to damage the magnet some other way (like degaussing it), but it would probably be pretty hard to do!

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  54. Excellent post, scrangie. What I have also heard - and it really made sense to me - is to roll the bottle in your hands a few minutes before painting to mix up the contents. Obviously the magnetic parts are a bit heavier an tend to be more towards the bottom of the bottle ...

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  55. Mine still wont work i have done all the steps continusly and still nothing....

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  56. Mine still wont work i have done all the steps continusly and still nothing....

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    1. If you can describe to me exactly how you're applying it, from start to finish (include every step and detail), I can help you figure out what's going wrong- you can email me if you'd rather not type it out in a comment! Either way, I'd love to help!

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  57. Great, great post! I'm playing with various magnetic lacquers and came across some of the very issues mentioned Ian your post. You're the #1 nail blog on the net for good reason. Thank you!

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    1. I'm glad I was able to help! Thanks for the kind words :)

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  58. I'm getting this tomorrow. Very informative.

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  59. Can you tell me what kind of basecoat is best? Does it have to be the same brand or can it be a lighter color?

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  60. This stuff sucks, we spent hours trying to get it to work. It will be finding itself back on the store shelf tomorrow. Peace and hair grease.

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  61. This stuff sucks, we spent hours trying to get it to work. It will be finding itself back on the store shelf tomorrow. Peace and hair grease.

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  62. Omg thank you soooo much that explained alot

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  63. Thank you soooo much it explained ALOT!!!!! :)

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  64. Wow, awesome guide! Only problem is, I bought a magnetic nail polish but when I try to use it, nothing happens! I've tried twice and I never get any results... Any other tips? :/

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  65. Awesome guide! Im new to magnetics and while my swatched nail was crisp and perfect first try my first full mani was a fail. This helped me find the issue and i learned some fun new tidbits. Excited to try again :)

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  66. Awesome guide! Im new to magnetics and while my swatched nail was crisp and perfect first try my first full mani was a fail. This helped me find the issue and i learned some fun new tidbits. Excited to try again :)

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  67. Great guide, thanks! I just got magnet shellac and couldn't get the design to work. I will attempt again! My magnet came on a stick with a paper wrapped around it. I'm not sure if I should remove the paper and that was just for shipping. Any ideas?

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  68. the best guide for using magnetic polishes out there! thanks for spending the time to make this!!

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  69. I had so much trouble getting an even pattern on my nails. This tute took care of what I was doing wrong, and I've got 0 great looking nails on my first try (after reading this). Thanks!

    I used a brand called Layla, but ignored the top magnet and used the OPI one sold seperately.

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  70. I had so much trouble getting an even pattern on my nails. This tute took care of what I was doing wrong, and I've got 0 great looking nails on my first try (after reading this). Thanks!

    I used a brand called Layla, but ignored the top magnet and used the OPI one sold seperately.

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  71. Thank you so much fire this!

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