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Manicure 101: Manicure Clean Up Tips

Now that you’ve got the polish on, you want it to look perfect, right? I’m frequently asked where I get my nails done or how often I go to the salon. The answer is that I’ve been twice. Ever. I just know how to clean up a manicure so it looks perfect!

My favorite way to clean up a manicure is with a brush. You can see my well loved and nasty looking mani clean up brush in this picture. It’s a really old Sonia Kashuk eye liner brush from Target. I am not sure why I started using it, but this brush is perfect. You’ll want a stiff brush so it can be easily directed and can scrub off the polish. I went for an angled brush, but a square or even pointed brush would certainly work. I’ve heard that the paint brushes from a store like Michael’s work well.

First, I pore pure Acetone into a little glass dampen glass. Mine is a from a nail supply, you can find them on-line or at Sally’s for less than a dollar. Don’t use the cap from your Acetone, you’ll want to be able to close your bottle right up to minimize the evaporation. I wet my brush and simply run it along the areas that need to have polish removed. I wipe the brush off on a tissue or piece of felt, redip in the Acetone and repeat until I’m happy with the results.

Note that the Acetone is pretty drying to your nail and skin, so you’ll want to moisturize right away when your mani is all dry. Some people have tried doing this using regular nail polish remover, but I’ve found that it doesn’t clean up as nicely.

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About Me

I’m a doctor, a mommy and a bit of a beauty addict. If you let me, I can take 2 hours to get ready in the morning. Really. I'm on a quest for faster beauty that works!

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  1. 5.11.11

    Acetone has been implicated as a potent carcinogen. I'd reconsider using 100% acetone.

  2. 5.11.11
    Summer said:

    This is so helpful! I'm loving your blog I just followed today and I'm not regretting it!!

  3. 5.11.11
    Christine said:

    White Coat-
    In my review of the medical literature (I'm a MD), there are no current studies implicating Acetone as a carcinogen and in fact, acetone is produced by the body. Here is a MSDS sheet I found on-line for acetone, and it matches the one my husband (a medical researcher at Michigan) has in his lab. It is in fact an irritant, but not a carcinogen.

    Thanks Summer!

  4. 5.11.11

    This series was great – loved it! I recently adopted the 3 stroke painting method a couple of months ago and it changed my home manicures FOREVER. I never thought I'd be able to paint my nails (esp. my right hand) so neatly. I've never thought of using a brush for clean up (I usually use Q-tips, which I can't get super close to the nail without messing up my polish) so this is another tip I'm excited to add to my nail routine. Thanks for these posts! 😉