Friday, July 20, 2012

Thinner nails in 10 minutes or less!

Could your nails stand to loose a few?  Do you have extra saddle bags that seem permanent and unruly.  Well now, your nails can appear thinner with a few simple steps!

In a few previous posts, I have shown you just how chubby your nails can get when they consume copious amounts of water.  Look here, here and here.  But what if after shrinkage (i.e. tightening of your C-curve) they still seem to bulge and look obese?  Or what if your triangle shaped nail is making you feel down and out?

No fear!  Here is a techniques you can use when painting your nails to make them appear thinner.

First a little rollie pollie finger okay?

Click on any of these pictures to make them larger.

One coat of China Glaze - Vertical Rush

This nail is fully dried thus the C-curve has done all it can do to make the nail appear thinner.  The bulge is permanent.  Note that, it may look like I have polish on my skin at the sides of the nail bed, but I assure you I don't (pictures below). 

What to do?

If you are proficient at painting your nails, you can skip further down, otherwise....

Grab a fine cosmetic brush and acetone.

Here are a few examples:
The brushes with the black ferrules and white handles are no name brands, while the black handled silver ferrule brush is a Swissco brand, and the white handle silver ferrule brush is by ELF.  

Also grab a small piece of paper towel to wipe off excess acetone and polish.

Here is a shot of one of the sides.

1. Dip your brush in acetone. 
2. Get rid of excess acetone from the brush by lightly touching the brush against the paper towel
3. Run the brush along the nail side walls making a clean line.
4. Wipe off the polish on the paper towel.
5. Repeat steps 1. - 4. until you are happy with the lines.

You can take off more or less.  It seems on this side I took off a bit less polish.

If you are a proficient nail painter, just avoid painting the entire nail; leave a clean line at the side walls.

Here are a few before and after shots, head on. Depending on your own nail shape you may see only a subtle difference.  The flatter your nail (less pronounced C-curve) the greater the affect you will see. 

Here is a schematic for different nail shapes:

Each nail bed shape can appear thinner.  Since no filing of the side wall is necessary, you can maintain the integrity and strength of the nail bed.

Although this is a very effective technique, I am sometimes bothered that a portion of my nail bed is not covered with polish.  It will look good far away or head on, yet when I bring them close to my face and see them from the side, I have a raging desire to fill in the gap.  I struggle with them looking fat vs. thin. 

Do you ever use this technique when painting your nails?


  1. I always use this technique, although I use one of those felt tip pens with remover. Several of my nails are fanning on the free edge and it really doesn't look nice.

  2. I have to do this every single time I do my nails bc i sadly have the triangle nail shape, so i can't just put polish on every available nail surface or they look horrible. I have to "shape" them with polish remover and a flat brush. It is a bit time consuming (i'm a perfectionist), but sooo worth it :)

  3. I've always done a "slimline" application, and I emphasize it by carefully filing into an almond shape, even though it's considered very uncool by many nail people ;) I like to think it makes my hands look more graceful overall

  4. I have squoval nails, so it's fairly easy for me to paint them and leave a little space all around. The gap does kind of get on my nerves, though, so I try not to make it too obvious.

  5. I spend just as much time doing this as applying the polish. I've found that cheap brushes work better.

  6. I do this all the time. My nails are super thin, so as they grow out, they flatten and appear wider (triangular, as in your diagrams) so when I clean up, I take off the sides to make my nail beds for linear and uniform. It just gives me problems when trying to photograph them from the sides... But they look so much better head on!

  7. I use soak off gel polish and it is important to keep it off your skin and cuticle so I have learned to apply my polish leaving a small gap and I now find that I really like it that way. My nails are actually quite narrow (and my nail beds are small) but I really like the polish away from my skin.

  8. I have often thought of trying this technique to get RID of that polish build up that happens particularly on my pinky and ring fingers for some reason. Great entry Loodie!

  9. I try to paint them with some space on the sides. I like the way they look and also I think it helps removal :)

  10. Love this post... especially your info for specific nail shape! I tend to have a pretty good hand and need to do minimal clean up, so I naturally tend to leave small but crisp gaps. I guess it's time to train myself to get the polish a little further down the sides because it bothers the hell outta me too. :/

  11. Your blog is amazing - I have learnt so much from it! Thank you for taking the time to write such detailed and informative posts :)I spend ages cleaning up my nails after applying polish and I do leave a gap each side, especially on my WIDE thumbnails!

  12. I don't do it all the time but I try not to go too far on the sides, or clean up later

  13. I don't but I need to. I have bulges and it just never occurred to me to do this! Thanks Loodie!

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  15. This is a great post, it was a fashion in the UK awhile ago to leave clear nail down each side. I actually like how my nails look after a bath, is there anyway to 'cure' my very severe C curve? I keep my nails squoval and not far past the end of fingers (I have long nail beds).

    1. Ahhh me too! I actually always wanted "plumper nails"! I don't like how narrow mine are, my c curve is extremely well, curved! When I want to grow my nails out they tend to look almost witchy because they're too narrow to keep long.

  16. Loodieloodieloodie I love your blog but it makes me sad that you don't post more often :(

  17. Hey girl! great post! Your blog has always been one to guide me on my nail polish journey toward full blown obsession and straight jacketville lol i've got weird fingers and nail growth so this post was especially helpful :) Miss you on Instagram btw!

  18. I am going to try your tip also to leave a little blank space on my thumnail which tends to be very wide and I hate the way it looks. Thanks for the ideas!

  19. I actually do the exact opposite of this. I find if I paint the polish all the way to the sides and around if I can, if helps me with chipping and peeling off.