Q: Are your nails real?

A.  Yes. They are 100% my own natural nails.  No gel, no wraps, no acrylic, no enhancements other than basecoat, nail polish and topcoat.

Q: What basecoat and topcoat do you use?

A: I use a variety of products for different things.  My standard, go-to combination is Seche Vite topcoat with Qtica Natural Nail Growth Stimulator basecoat.  I also like Gelous basecoat for preventing chips, but it also doubles as an extra smoothing topcoat for chunky glitters.  I like Nubar Diamont Shine Topcoat if I'm applying it over dry polish since it doesn't peel.  Other favorite topcoats: Orly In A Snap, Redi Quick Dry Topcoat, Barielle Ultra Speed Dry Manicure Extender.

Q:  What is the best basecoat/topcoat/nailpolish?

A:  There isn't one!  What works for me may not work for you and vice versa.  Different people have different results,  and I can't say what will work best for you, only what works for me.  I can tell you which products are the best for me, but in reality, you'll have to try out a variety of things to find out what works best for you.

Q:  What nail polish remover do you use?

A: My all time favorite remover is Zoya Remove+, but when I'm swatching I use SuperNail Pink or pure acetone mixed with glycerin.

Q:  What nail file do you use?

A:  I use either an OPI or Essie glass/crystal file.  Depends on what I have with me.  If I need to take down a lot of length, I'll use a cushioned emery board to file down 90% of the length and finish the last 10% with a glass file to smooth and seal the edges.

Q:  How do you polish your nails without getting any on the cuticles?  How do you get an even line at the cuticles?

A:  Practice!  And technique.  Here's how I apply polish:

  1.  Start with an adequate amount of polish on the brush.  You may need more if it's a thick formula, less if it's runny, but it should be enough to cover the nail without drying out or streaking.
  2. Place the brush a few millimeters from where you want the polish to end.  Don't put it right up against the cuticle.  
  3. Press down gently on the brush.  It should curve into a C or U shape that mimics the shape of your cuticle.
  4. Swipe the brush down the nail, toward the free edge. Imagine pushing the bead of polish off the edge of the nail, rather than painting on the polish in strokes.  The fewer strokes, the better and smoother the application will be.
  5. If your nails are wider, just repeat the steps until your entire nail is covered.  I usually use 1-3 strokes depending on how big the brush is.  OPI's ProWide needs only one, Zoya's medium sized brush usually needs two, Essie's tiny brush needs three.
Sometimes, even if you're careful, you might still get polish on your cuticles.  If you need to clean up, simply dip a small, flat brush (an eyeliner or small eyeshadow brush works great) into acetone or nail polish remover and remove the excess polish.  Don't rely on this trick all the time because it doesn't always give good results; polish still stains the cuticle and the brush doesn't remove the stains.  You're better off perfecting your polishing technique.  Also, those nail polish correction pens?  Worthless.  Don't waste your money on them.