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How to Apply a Dark Nail Polish Shade

Wear a Dark Nail Polish, Skip the Streaks

A BellaSugar reader recently wrote in asking for tips on applying dark nail polish. She asks, "Whenever I apply dark nail polish, I always end up with a lighter section down the middle. I try to apply very thin coats, start in the middle then paint the sides, but it never fails — I always have a light patch in the middle. Any tips for applying dark colors more evenly?"

I have tips galore, dear reader. So to see my steps for getting better results, just keep reading.

  1. Ace of base: Always start with a base coat for dark polishes so that you get a smoother application and prevent staining.
  2. Swipe it: Before applying your dark polish shade, gently swipe the brush against the inner rim of the bottle to remove excess polish.
  3. Middle ground: Next, paint one stripe in the middle, starting about one-eighth of an inch away from the cuticle, moving up toward the tip. And now here's your key to success: use a bit of pressure when you move the brush up the nail, as this will help the polish spread out.
  4. Offsides: Then, for each side, start by placing the brush one-eighth of an inch away from the cuticle. Lightly press the brush down on the nail, but as you pull up toward the tip, press harder so the brush spreads out again. This technique will give you lots of coverage without the streakiness.
  5. Top it off: Once you've cleaned up any spills with a polish corrector pen or a Q-tip dipped in polish remover, add a top coat to keep your manicure lasting longer.

Other things to keep in mind:

  • The power of pigments: Since dark polish is more heavily pigmented, painting on too much can cause peeling. To avoid that, as well as bubbling, apply two coats of color in thin layers and allow ample drying time in between.
  • You've got options: For even more chip-proof power, paint a thin strip horizontally across the tip before applying your top coat.
  • If all else fails: Not all polishes are created equal. If you don't get the coverage you want from your polish, it's time to try a different brand.
Image Source: Getty
Join The Conversation
Ellenora Ellenora 6 years
Poshe is one of my favorites. Be careful though. Quick drying topcoats like Poshe, Seche Vite and OPI RapiDry do thicken up about half way through. Get a nail polish thinner (it doesn't have to be the brand's thinner, but it MUST be nail polish thinner). Add one to two drops of thinner and roll (do NOT shake) the bottle between your hands when you notice the top coat thickening. Shaking your topcoat when you add thinner will create bubbles that will never go away. Trust me, I did this one. My top coat was toast.
Jaime-Richards Jaime-Richards 6 years
Thanks, DevonJade!
DevonJade DevonJade 6 years
Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat is my favorite one. No bubbles, and it dries amazingly quickly.
outstripped outstripped 6 years
I love dark polishes but the topcoat I use bubbles. Any suggestions for a long-lasting topcoat?
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