I doubt there is anything as chic as well-manicured, glossy, red nails. It has always been a challenge for me to stick to one, because red is my favourite colour and there are just so many. I love a bright, fire-engine red in the summer and a deep bordeaux when the temperature drops, but a 'sweet' red goes any time of the year.
The difficult thing about red nails, especially if you dare to attempt them yourself, is they can get really messy and every mistake you make will show up a lovely bright streak. Here's a step-by-step from an former manicurist (me), that could help you achieve that fresh-outta-the-salon look that we all love.
Shape and trim nails.
"Remove/Push Back Cuticles"
I didn't really touch my cuticles because they need an intense pampering session, and I didn't have the time, but I usually do a conditioning treatment with paraffin wax or cream. Neat cuticles means less mess. The neater your nails are before polish application. The better they will look after.
STEP 3 (optional).
Lightly buff nails with a soft nail buffer. Be gentle, you want a smoother surface, not paper-thin nails. Red nails notoriously show up every lump and bump, so this helps the application of the polish but is not a must.
Make sure to remove all oil and dust from the nail surface and sidewalls. This helps the nail polish to adhere to the nail better (which means its less likely to chip), and ensures a smoother finish.
I am using a nail lacquer from KIKO Milano which doesn't require a base coat. If your polish does, then that would be the next step, followed by two coats of the red polish and then the top coat. I always finish with a drop of oil on each nail once dried.
The Red Nail Polish Kit
Nail Oil/Cuticle cream
Use a cotton bud dipped in polish remover to get rid of mistakes, or (my personal favourite) brush on a drop of top coat and wipe away mistakes with the tip of the cotton bud.