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DIY Nail Art Designs: Top 8 Nail Polish Myths Debunked

Updated on May 13, 2012

We all know that beauty and nail care myths exist, but are you able to separate truth from fiction on each one? I’ve heard it all over the years, and it seems that my list of nail polish myths is getting longer by the day. I’m not a nail technician or trained expert, but this is just what I’ve experienced (and learned through a little research and experiments with DIY nail art designs of my own.) Let’s look at some of the most common nail polish myths, and how exposing them can actually save you money and make doing your own nail art designs a little easier.

Myth 1

Wearing polish smothers your nails: We’ve all heard that we need to let our nails ‘breathe’, but nails are made up of dead cells. There’s no living tissue in the nail itself, and for that reason it doesn’t need to ‘breathe’. This is why nail extensions or nail polish can be left on the nail for any length of time.

Myth 2

Nail polish goes bad: This can’t be further from the truth. Nail polishes do thicken or separate after a while, but can easily be rescued by adding a few drops of nail polish thinner. I’ve had polishes last for years, just by adding a little thinner from time to time.

Myth 3

Let each coat dry: This is something I believed as well for a long, long time, but in reality polish sets better and chips less when you apply the second coat while the first is still wet.

Myth 4

Smudging a nail means redoing the polish: In the past I used to do a nail over completely when I smudged it, but have since realized that there are a few ways to fix this. The first is to either lick your finger and gently ‘smooth’ out the polish while it’s still sticky, or to lick it. (Yes I know, licking half wet nail polish just sounds wrong doesn’t it? But it works, honestly it does!) You could also wet a small flat brush with nail polish remover and use that to smooth out the nail polish before adding a top coat to even it all out again.

Myth 5

Wearing nail polish all the time turns your nails yellow: Let’s be honest, this can actually happen, but if your nails are turning yellow it’s either because you’re not applying a base coat, or you’re using a very cheap one. Investing in a decent base coat will help sort this problem out in no time. If your nails are already yellow, just lightly buff them to remove the staining.

Myth 6

Separated polish has gone bad: Nope it hasn’t. In my experience, it helps to either roll the bottle between your hands for a minute or two, or to just shake the bottle. It looks bad, but it’s nothing a little shake won’t fix.

Myth 7

Too-thin nail polish can’t be fixed: The trick to fixing really thin nail polish is to just let it stand open for ten to fifteen minutes. Exposing it to the air will help it thicken up. If you’ve tried this and the polish is still too thin, close the bottle, shake it, and repeat the process.

Myth 8

Nail polish weakens your nails: This is another statement that just isn’t true. Adding a coat or two of nail polish actually strengthens your nails by adding an extra layer or two. It makes it less likely to split or peel, but remember that harder nails can still break. If you have very weak or soft nails, wearing polish might be the best way to keep them from chipping, splitting or peeling.

I used to feel guilty buying new bottles of nail polish, because I also believed that they eventually went bad and then could not be used. Since I’ve learned a few tricks, my nail polish collection has grown significantly, and it feels so good knowing that I won’t have to throw half of it anymore! Never throw away polish if you can help it, and don’t feel guilty about indulging in your nail polish passion or about wearing DIY nail art designs on a regular basis. It not only looks good, but doesn’t damage your nails in the slightest.


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    • Emeraldgreen21 profile image

      Atell Rohlandt 5 years ago from South Africa

      Glad I could help. Both those sites are great for nail polish and nail art products. :-) I buy a lot of my nail art supplies from Ebay, so I'm almost sure you'll find the base coat you're looking for on there. Happy hunting!

    • PaintedLady2000 profile image

      PaintedLady2000 5 years ago from Camden, AR USA

      Honestly, I had not thought about checking Amazon or Ebay for nail polish of any kind. Neither of those sites come to mind for any type of beauty supply. I'll have to check them out though. Thanks.

    • Emeraldgreen21 profile image

      Atell Rohlandt 5 years ago from South Africa

      That's what I thought as well. If your nails are very hard to begin with applying polish on top of them might make them too hard. Sally Hansen makes some wonderful top and base coats. I have fairly weak nails and the Diamond Strength top and base coat has done wonders for my nails. Have you tried checking Amazon or Ebay for the base coat you used to get?

    • PaintedLady2000 profile image

      PaintedLady2000 5 years ago from Camden, AR USA

      They break because, my nails are thick and hard to begin with. I guess the nail polish makes them too thick, so they break the first time I hit them on anything. I had found one base coat that I could use, but can no longer seem to find it anywhere. Sally Hansen made it, it was in a green bottle with a white cap and brush. I could use it, no problem, but my local store no longer carries it, so I paint and hope I don't break before I remove it.

    • Emeraldgreen21 profile image

      Atell Rohlandt 5 years ago from South Africa

      Hi Paintedlady2000. I wish I could, but I've not used that type of nail polish before. The fact that you need a UV lamp to set it kind of puts me off it, since it's such a big expense just to dry nail polish. UV Gel polish is also more expensive than the ordinary ones. As for the breaking, I find that really odd. I've never had that problem myself. Do you use polishes with hardeners in them? Using polishes with hardeners can prevent chipping and splitting of the nails but won't stop breaking and may actually encourage it if the nails become too rigid. I'm no expert, but I read up on it the other day and a nail tech posted an article about it somewhere (just can't remember where now).

    • PaintedLady2000 profile image

      PaintedLady2000 5 years ago from Camden, AR USA

      Can you tell me anything about the gel nail polish that you dry under the led lights? I have long nails, but rarely paint them, because painting them makes them break. It never fails, within a couple of days of painting them, I'll break one or two.