First thing I do is wash my hands with an antibacterial soap to remove and dirt or oil before using a cotton ball soaked with my favorite acetone free nail polish remover and use it to clean my nails of any remaining oil or nail polish. With the help of the warm water I used to wash my hands and the nail polish remover my cuticles are usually soft enough to use a wooden cuticle remover. About once a month I will use "be natural Cuticle Eliminator" by American International which I purchased at my local Sally Beauty.
Once my nails have been cleaned, filed and shaped I use a base coat to prime my nails. I am currently trying out Nail Tek Intensive Therapy II to help strengthen my weak and peeling nails. I use two coats instead of the single directed base coat and skip using it as a top coat as it is not quick drying. I give ample time in between base coats to make sure that my nails are completely dry before painting to avoid bubbles and blemishes in the manicure.
Now for the fun part! I take whatever glitter color I've chosen for my top coat and make sure to wipe most of the nail polish off the brush. I want to work with just a little of the glitter at a time as it's much easier to build upon it to get the desired effect than it is to remove excess. I paint along my cuticles with the glitter until there is a fair amount and then begin to brush the glitter towards the tip of my nails. I don't want to go all the way up the nail so I generally stop about mid-nail. As I continue to fill in spots with more glitter I create a crescent shape along my cuticles and have an almost ombre effect as I continue to drag small amounts of glitter up my nail.
And now for clean up. By this time I've usually made a mess of myself so I will take a Q-Tip soaked in nail polish remover and carefully remove any excess nail polish I've managed to paint on the skin around my nails. Final step is to apply a quick dry top coat of your choice. My favorite happens to be Poshe Super-Fast Drying Nail Top Coat.
I hope you've enjoyed my tutuorial and look forward to sharing with you many of my other quick and easy beauty tips.