I shared a couple of my favorite products so now I will share how I do my manicures. I'll do a separate post for pedicures because I have a ton of favorite products for that too.
1. I start off by filing my nails if needed, I found that doing it while I still have the old nail polish on helps me keep them neat and evenly shaped.
2. I remove the old polish using the pink Beauty Secrets remover and felt, which I usually purchase at Walmart in the craft section.
3. At this point I buff lightly if needed and push back my cuticles using an orange wood stick.
4. When I have it available I like to swipe my nails with Zoya Remove before I begin polishing.
5. I begin with a base coat, depending on the color of the polish I sometimes use a ridge filler, my favorites are Essie Ridge Filler and Orly Ridge Filler. I've also heard great things about Seche's ridge filler as well. If I choose not to use a ridge filler my favorite base coat is Orly Bonder. Some have reported staining so you might want to pair it with a ridge filler or something like Nail Tek.
6. Next is color, I apply 2-3 coats depending on the polish. My favorite brands include OPI, Misa, China Glaze, Lippmann, Orly, and Zoya. I love others too though. I try to clean up as I go with an orange wood stick, usually though I do my manis and night and just clean off the extras in the shower the next morning.
7. Some people like to make sandwiches with their base coat, which just means adding another coat of your chosen base coat on top of the color. Or you can just use a regular top coat. I like quick dry top coats. Seche Vite used to be my go too, but it gets goopy quick and causes a lot of shrinkage. I've found that if I apply a top coat like Orly Glosser before SV the shrinkage is not as bad. Other quick dry top coats I have tried and liked were INM Out the Door and Oh So Wet.
8. I like to top my mani off with quick dry drops and usually use Qtica Half Time Polish Drying Accelerator.
Ultimately you have to play around with products and see what works best for you. There are so many other base coats, top coats, and treatments out there. I just wanted to share what I use and love.
The products I listed here can be found at Sally Beauty, Artofbeauty.com, head2toebeauty.com, 8ty8beauty.com, and transdesign.com.