Polish Tip: Easy Clean-Up

See those items? They are my secret to a perfect manicure and pedicure!

I don't always have the steadiest of hands, though you might think I do after seeing so many swatches of polishes this month! While it is definitely true that with practice I am much better at applying nail polish, I still slop over onto a cuticle every now and then.

I've tried the clean up pens, dipping an orange stick in acetone, even Q-Tips. For me, all of those options either did not remove enough polish, were not precise enough or left trails of cotton in my polish. So, I started using a brush like the one pictured here, a stiff angled brush meant to be used with eyeliner. The brush is stiff enough to remove polish, but is very precise and can even easily fit underneath my nail tip for improved clean-up. I simply dip it into the dampen dish (that little glass cup) that I've filled with Acetone, but be careful to not get too much acetone in the brush. Brush off excess polish, and it can help to have a piece of cotton around to wipe the brush on.

That's it! Perfect nails quick and easy! I will sometimes clean up between coats of polish, but often I only need to do so at the very end of application.

I bought my brush at Target, you really do not need an expensive brush for this tip to work. Just don't buy a painted brush since the Acetone will melt the paint on the handle (which happened with my Sonia Kashuk brush).

The dampen dish is from a nail supply, but you can check Sally's Beauty Supply or head to Head 2 Toe Beauty to order one of your own!


  1. What a great idea! I know that they use brushes & acetone to do a french pedi when I go to the salon, but I never thought about using it for clean up! I'm definitely going to have to get a little dish & a brush!

    Thanks for the tip!

  2. Hey Christine:

    I got one of these brushes when I read about it on your "my manicure routine" entry. Anyway, I'll testify that it works great. Thanks for the tip.

  3. I do this as well at home after I saw the manicurist do it at the salon. It is terrific--especially for those dark colors!

  4. Great tip, thanks! I'm a cosmetologist and I still find it difficult to polish nails without flooding my cuticles, so this will definitely help.

  5. I want to add, after a discussion with my mom today, that a dampen dish is not really necessary for this. You could easily use a shot glass (which is about twice the size), though I don't really really recommend the use of the acetone cap. The reason for this is that some polish will be left in the acetone and you don't want that mixing with the "main" bottle.


  6. I've read this tip of yours before, but reading it again, confirms that I need a brush to use with acetone. Thanx for pointing out that some polish might be left in the acetone. Before you did that I did not see the need for decanting some of it. This week-end I'll be off looking for that cheap stiff brush! (No Target in this neck of the woods, so I will have to be creative...)

  7. This single tip has improved the look of my manicures more than any other! Thanks so much!


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