1. Line your nails with petroleum jelly or white craft glue before painting them for an easy cleanup.
If you're working on a nail look that's messy, use a cotton swab to rub petroleum jelly like Vaseline on the skin around your nails first. This creates a barrier between the polish and your skin so that after you've painted your nails, you can wipe off the Vaseline and any polish mistakes along with it.
Another way to prevent paint from drying on the skin around your nails is to paint around your nail with Elmer's Glue first, and let it dry. Then, paint your nails with polish and peel off the glue when you're finished to clean up.
2. To prevent the tips of your painted nails from chipping, paint two basecoat layers: one on the top half of your nail and the second coat over the entire nail.
Paint the first layer of your basecoat polish on the top half portion of your nails only. After your nails have dried, paint a second coat of polish, but this time cover the entire nail as you normally would. This technique will help the polish on the tips of your nails — which are more prone to chipping—last longer.
3. Use a white nail polish as your basecoat to make your nail color pop.
Unless your polish is super opaque, the natural tint of your fingers will change the color of your polish. To get the paint's true color, add a layer of white nail polish first, and then go over it with your colored polish.
4. Paint your nail art designs on a plastic sandwich bag first, peel them off, and seal them on your nails with nail art glue or a clear topcoat for easy application.
If painting designs on your dominant hand is too difficult, try painting them on a plastic sandwich bag first. Paint a few thick coats of polish onto the plastic, and then add your design on top. After it dries, peel each design off the plastic, and adhere them to your nail with nail art glue or a clear topcoat.
5. Use the tip of a pencil eyeliner to place tiny nail art accessories like rhinestones on your nails.
When your fingers or tweezers are too big to grab and place tiny jewels, use the tip of an eyeliner or lip pencil instead. The end of a pencil is tacky enough to grip the jewel from above and won't get in the way of your design.
6. Mix loose pigments with clear polish to make a custom nail shade.
Pour a little bit of eyeshadow pigment into a spoon, and then add a little bit of clear polish to it. Mix it all together with a cotton swab, grab a brush, and try out your new color.
Fill a bowl with ice and water, and soak your nails for a few minutes after painting them. The cold water will set the paint and help your nails dry faster.
8. Remove stubborn polish by soaking cotton pads in nail polish remover, wrapping them around your nails, and securing them with foil.
To remove stubborn or glitter nail polish easily, soak a cotton pad in nail polish remover, and place it on your nail. Wrap a strip of foil around the cotton and your figure, and squeeze to secure it. Leave the foil wraps on your fingers for five minutes, and then slide off the foil and cotton at the same time. Your polish will come off with it.
9. Roll your nail polish bottle instead of shaking it to avoid air bubbles.
Hold the bottle between your palms and rub your hands back and forth to stir the polish without creating bubbles.
10. Loosen a stubborn nail polish lid by soaking it in hot water.
Place the nail polish bottle upside down in a cup. Fill the glass with really hot water just high enough to cover the lid but not high enough to soak the bottle of paint (hot water can tamper with the consistency of the polish). Wait a few minutes, remove the nail polish bottle from the glass, and then open the loosened lid.
11. Unscrew a tight lid by wrapping a rubber band around the handle for better grip.
Wrap a large rubber band around the top of a nail polish bottle before trying to open it. The rubber will provide a better grip for twisting.
12. Spread petroleum jelly around the lip of the bottle before closing it to prevent the polish from drying shut.
With a cotton swab, wipe a small amount of petroleum jelly into the ridges on the top of the bottle. This will make it easier to open the next time and prevent it from sealing shut.
This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.