1. How to avoid "shrinkage" or "pull back" when using Seche Vite.
The best top coat in the world.
I have read a lot of nail polish bloggers complaining that Seche Vite causes "shrinkage" (when nail polish pulls back or shrinks away from the free edge of the nail after top coat is applied) but had never experienced that myself until recently. Here's what I found out. I usually wait 10-15 minutes or until after the last coat of polish is fully dry before I apply a top coat. When I do this I have never had a "shrinkage" problem. Until the other day when I was doing a Halloween manicure, I had a pound and a half of nail polish on my nails, and I didn't want to wait my usual amount of time before applying a top coat. And there it was "shrinkage" on almost every nail. I know a lot of people apply top coats as a way to get polish to dry. I have never done this until that manicure. I like to use my dry time as a moment of zen or at least time to myself to relax and explore the thoughts creeping around in my brain. However, I understand just wanting to get a manicure done, slap on a top coat and be done with the whole thing. To make sure it was a consistent finding I applied top coat to wet(ish) polish on two more manicures after that and sure enough "shrinkage" on several nails. So, the bottom line is to avoid Seche Vite "shrinkage" don't apply it to wet nail polish. Wait until your nails are dry, then apply a top coat (don't forget to seal the free edge) and you shouldn't have to worry about "shrinkage" ever again. But know that if you are going to use Seche Vite to dry your polish you are going to get "Shrikage."
2. Biotin and nail growth.
Target brand $2.99 and I used a $1 off supplements coupon making it $2.
There are a lot or rumors online about how much Biotin to take and how quickly it works. I have been taking a 1000 mcg tablet of Biotin once a day for the last 6 months. I didn't see much change in month one, month two, or month three, but in month four I noticed my nails were growing faster. In month five I noticed that my nails were growing stronger, and in month six I have seen improvement in decreased chipage. I went without polish for three days (because I was sick with a cold) and didn't chip a single nail. That's unheard of for me. Before Biotin if my nails went commando I was chipped with in a few minutes. So give the Biotin the time to do it's thing. Your nails take about 6 months to grow from cuticle to free edge anyway so invest the time. I've also been taking a lower dose than a lot of online (*coughs* Pinterest I'm looking at you) posts that say you need to take high doses to see the effects. You don't have to pay more for higher dosages of Biotin. Lower cheaper dosages work just fine. Taking more isn't going to accelerate things.
3. Acrylic paints are way better for nail art that anything else I have tried.
My two favorite brands (Ceramcoat and Americana). Bought at Porters Craft and Frame for around $1.50-$2 each (I bought them on sale for a ceramics class I took last fall).
Last month I did a lot of nail art. I learned that acrylic paint is a thousand times easier to use for design work than nail pens, stripers, or nail polish. And the reason for that is that it doesn't dry as quickly, it's more forgiving (it's easier to correct errors because it wipes away with water), it's available in a thousand different colors (no seriously go into any craft store and look at the acrylic paint isle it's astounding), it mixes better than nail polish (so you can get just the right color), and it when it comes time to remove your manicure it comes right off with polish remover. It's win, win.
4. Olive oil will save your cuticles.
This is my favorite brand of Olive Oil to cook with, and also what I use to soak my nails.
This sounds weird but I have a Tupperware in my cabinet with about 1 1/2 inch of olive oil in it that I use to soak my nails in (replacing it with fresh olive oil when it gets stale/cloudy/murky). I keep it in a Tupperware so that I can reuse it several times to get better value out of it and so nothing yucky ends up in it when I'm not using it. I soak my nails 3-4 times a week for 15 minutes on each hand. I used to have huge hang nail issues and dryness do to my skin condition. But since I started soaking my nails in olive oil I rarely have hang nails and the over all texture and look of my skin has improved. My hands haven't been this soft in years and I am loving every minute of it.
5. Sharpie Pens are the best thing to happen to nail art since striping tape.
They come in a variety of colors (black, blue, purple, red, and orange). I bought the big, big pack at Sams about two years ago (for college) so I have about 5 of each color. Worth every penny.
This is going to sound weird but I have started using Sharpie Pens in my nail art for fine lines and they are sublime. They give a crisp, fine line than no other nail product I've tried has been able to match. And when used over acrylic paint they don't smudge even a tiny bit. They also make it easier to draw in a guideline before applying paint if you are going for an intricate design. It makes your nails like a coloring book. Draw in the lines then fill in with color. The Sharpie Pen is an amazing invention and a new favorite of mine for nail art.
Just a short list of things I have learned about nails, nail art, and nail polish in the last few weeks/months. I hope this is helpful to you guys. And helps your nails/nail art as much as figuring this stuff out did for me. That's all I have for you today. Until Next time, stay classy and stay polished.