Natural Nails

Trouble Shooter: Drawing the Line – Perfectly

Drawing a smoothly rounded smile line in your polished French manicure takes lots of practice. Here are some tips to make it easier for you to master.

Do you have a hard time making a straight, crisp smile line in your polished French manicure? Don’t feel bad. Just as drawing a simple straight line takes practice, so does drawing a smoothly rounded smile line. Juli Miller-Chen of Canyon Fitness Salon in Canyon Lake, Calif., says it took her a year of practice before she could do her smile line freehand without having to touch up.

While there are several “cheat” techniques available – French manicure guides, stencils, and tape – being able to create a freehand smile line smoothly saves valuable service time and makes you look like a pro.

Step 1. Apply a base coat to the nails first. Then, choose the shade of white you want to use on the tip and fill the brush with polish. Says Miller-Chen, “I make sure that there’s not too much polish on the end of the brush. If there’s too much polish on the end, you’ll have too much white on one side of the nail and not enough on the other.”

Next, make one brush stroke with white polish from one side of the nail where the free edge meets the nail bed (where the white meets the pink) to the center of the nail. Then, make another stroke from the other side of the nail to the center.

Step 2. Next, refill your brush with white polish and fill in the free edge. “I start at the first corner and move the brush in a downward motion to fill in the free edge,” says Miller-Chen.

Step 3. Check the smile line on all 10 nails. If a line is uneven or jagged, clean it up with a cuticle stick dipped in remover. When the polish dries to the touch, then apply your colored coat to the entire nail plate. Finish with a top coat.

Step 4. Wait a few minutes while the polish dries to the touch, then apply your colored coat to the entire nail plate. Finish with a top coat. Says Miller-Chen, “French manicures turn yellow very fast. If you use a top coat with a blue base I find the French manicure lasts two weeks. And the base coat can make a difference with yellowing. Recently I changed base coats and clients’ nails turned yellow within a week. I switched back and the problem stopped.”

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