Saturday, December 29, 2012

How To Do Nails - Butch Edition

I am not a number, I am a free man
After some feedback on my last How To Do Nails post, it occurred to me the advice I gave wouldn't necessarily be of use to everyone who might want to play with nail polish. Not everyone can or want to grow nails as long as mine, so I thought I would put together a tutorial for those of you with what the Nailistas call "shorties".
This is my boyfriend, Alex. As you can tell, he has a pretty good sense of humour and is willing to do all kinds of silly things to amuse me. So when I said I wanted to paint some short, blunt, butch nails, he was happy to be my guinea pig. Well...maybe not HAPPY. But he let me. Maybe he was just excited to be called butch, who knows?

So this is the guide to nail polish for those of you who don't have long, strong, or femme nails, but still like to put pretty things on the ends of your fingers.

My nails on the left, his nails on the right.
The first thing you will need is nail polish, and nail polish remover. I cannot stress enough the importance of having something to take this crap OFF your nails again BEFORE you put anything on them. As for what polish to choose, I don't really have any different advice for this edition. Quick drying options are always better for first timers, and the Sally Hansen Insta Dri brush is a miracle for those of us with shaky, clumsy, or simply unpracticed hands.

When it comes to a topcoat and a basecoat, and whether you need them, there are only two questions you really need to ask yourself. Do you want it to last a couple of days? If yes, get both. If no, don't worry about it. Do you really need to make sure it will come off cleanly and not stain your nails? If yes, use a basecoat. If no, don't worry about it.

If you've got short nails, you will also most likely have pretty overgrown cuticles, so you will probably need a round wooden stick with a slanted end called an orange stick to push them down and out of the way of the polish. My boy's cuticles are halfway up his nail, and it drives me a little crazy, so I was pretty excited to have the opportunity to do something about them. You want to get a little hand cream, or sorbolene and rub it into your cuticles first so they don't split when you start messing with them. If you don't have anything like this around the house, I imagine a teeny bit of olive oil would do just fine. You just want something to lube up the skin a bit, and make it nice and soft.

This does hurt a little bit, so be gentle. Unless you're me, then enjoy
the whimpers of your guinea pig.
Then you get your orange stick and slide the pointed end under the cuticle like so. Just keep pushing it all back until you have a little ridge, and then rub the ridge with your fingertip to get it soften it up some more. Keep doing this until your nails look like this;
Ahh, that's better.
Don't fuss too much about getting it all perfect and neat, because it's not going to be. Just try and free up as much real estate as possible for the polish. Once you've done this, you'll need to get out your nail polish remover and a cotton bud.

Dip your cotton bud in the nail polish remover, and swab the actual nail. This is to get rid of any cream/oil that is sitting on it from softening up your cuticles. If you leave the oil there, unfortunately the polish will slide right off.
Now, it's time to get polishing! As I said in my previous edition, don't stress about getting outside the lines. Everyone does, and I'll show you how to clean it up after.
Once you've slopped it on, leave it alone for at least ten minutes. I wouldn't have thought I would have to add this before today, but after wrenching my boy's hands away from his face every five minutes I feel like I should also add that you shouldn't huff the fumes. It's not going to kill you, but you'll likely end up with a killer headache.
Once the polish is completely dry, or you've completely run out of patience, get your polish remover and cotton buds out again. This time it's also helpful if you have a little dish of some sort to pour the remover in. I like to use metal jar lids - plastic lids can be hit and miss, because acetone melts an awful lot of plastics and you never really know which ones it will destroy until it's sitting in a steaming puddle on your carpet.

 Once you've got this set up, dip the cotton bud in the remover and rub it along the edge of your nail. It helps if you can get the hand of pulling the skin back from the side of your nail while you're doing this, so the skin is sitting a little away from the nail. This means you're less likely to take the polish off the actual nail. because short nails are a different shape to longer ones, they're actually a little easier to clean up. Usually you only need to rub in two lines - across the top of the nail, and then in a little semi oval around the bottom of the nail.

Because these particular nails have been bitten quite badly, I wasn't too fussy about taking all the polish off every bit of skin across the top - I concentrated more on making a pleasing shape from a distance. Once you're happy with it, throw a quick dash of topcoat over it if you're wanting it to last without chipping. And then, we're all done!

Look at that hand model form! He's a natural.


Not bad all, if I say so myself. I'd love to see the results if any of you end up trying out this guide!


  1. Hahaha, very cute. With tips that would probably be quite useful to novices who think their short nails mean they can't get them all pretty. :P

  2. Thanks! I am aiming to take as many people down with me into this obsession as possible ;-)


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