Painting Your Toenails

by Lecia DeBrine
(last updated April 27, 2016)

A nice pedicure is no longer just for summer. All year long you can enjoy the feeling of freshly painted toenails. A flirty pink or a romantic red gives your toes a touch of fun. You can take turns with a friend painting each other's nails or do it yourself. There are a few simple steps to making a pedicure easier:

  1. Clean off any nail polish already on the nail. This gives the new color a fresh surface to hold on to and lessens the chance of the old color staining your nails. Nail polish removers can be found in most drugstores and grocery stores in the pharmacy department. You can find them in bottles with pumps or lids, or in tubs with a sponge inside. Cotton balls or pads work best for removing polish.
  2. Choose your color. You can pick any color you want because your feet often get covered by socks so have fun with polish. Make sure your polish is not dried out; if the polish is too old it can be hard or clumpy. Usually nail polishes should be thrown out after about two years. Take this opportunity to go through your nail polish collection and dispose of the old bottles.
  3. Start painting. You can use a toe separator if you like or some cotton balls between the toes works too, but these are not necessary. If you use fewer strokes with the brush the polish goes on smoother and dries quicker. Make one stroke down the center of the nail working from cuticle to tip. Then make one stroke on either side of the first. This three-stroke rule is a good guide to use when applying polish to both toenails and fingernails. You can add another layer if you like after the first layer dries.
  4. Topcoat. The topcoat seals in and protects the color. You need this if you want the polish to last. A topcoat is a clear polish applied on top of completely dry colored nail polish. To put any stickers, gems, or charms on your nails you want to apply them before the topcoat and be sure to completely cover them with the clear polish.
  5. To make this look last you can apply more of the clear polish again a few days later. Neatly painted toenails can give you a younger looking foot, they also give you a reason to pull those cute little sandals out of the closet.

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