Today I'd like to share with you my nail polish cleanup method.  There are dozens of tutorials out there (Lacquerized has a fabulous one HERE, Polish or Perish has one HERE) but I thought I'd add my own, because... well, I have a nail polish blog!

If you have struggled with neatening up your manicure using Q-tips or other blunt objects, this may be just the trick for you.

You will need:

  • Nail Polish Remover (I like the plain ol acetone sort)
  • a small glass dish (Mine was $1.99 at Sally's, in the acrylic nail section.  A small glass candleholder from goodwill would work well, too.  You could just dip your brush in the bottle of remover, but mine eventually wants to go swimming, so I don't do that any more.)
  • a small brush with moderately stiff bristles (I think mine came in a makeup brush kit, and since I never used it, it became my nail polish brush)



The brush is probably the most important bit of this.  Mine has stiff bristles a little less than a centimeter long.  You don't want a brush that fans out too much, or else it will smudge into your nail polish.

Nail art inspired by Simply Rins... It will get a post of its own.

I like to do my cleanup after I have all my coats of polish on, including topcoat, and once my nails are nearly dry.  To remove excess polish, simply dip your brush in the remover, then "paint" along the cuticle where you want your polish removed.


It helps to contort your hands into odd positions.  It also helps if your hair gets in your face while you are concentrating.

For highly pigmented colors, you may want to wipe your brush off on scrap paper or a napkin every few strokes to avoid staining.


And that's it!  At first, it's easy to take off more polish than you mean to, but with practice it gets easier.  You'll probably want to moisturize as soon as you finish, since the acetone can be very drying on your cuticles.

What works for you?  How do you clean up your manicures?