9 Nail Secrets That Only Experts Know

There's painting your nails, and then there's owning a rockstar manicure. What's the difference? A few nail secrets only the experts know. Like what's the best polish? How can you make your nails look drool-worthy on camera? Where do you get all that nail stuff? And for the love of God, how do you get all this glitter off of you? As a burgeoning (beginner) nail artist myself, I've spent countless hours (nay, years) pouring over the Instagrams and YouTubes of all the greats. And I've learned a million things that I think go beyond common nail knowledge. I've assembled my favorite tips here, so you can get your tips looking just as awesome (See what I did there? Cause tips has two meanings? I crack myself up.)

Anyway, the best thing about most of these tips is that they're super easy, require little to no skill, and are either free, or relatively inexpensive. And the difference they make on your mani will be astounding,. I'm talking the difference between looking like your 4-year-old niece did your nails, and looking like the world's greatest nail tech did your nails. OK, maybe not the world's greatest. That takes practice. But you know what I mean. Now, go forth, learn, and be awesome.

1. The Best White Polish

Simply Nailogical on YouTube

Nail art depends on a steady stream of white nail polish. But white polish is basically the worst because you have to do a bunch of coats and wait forever for it to dry when all you want to do it get your nail art on. Cristine from Simply Nailogical tested a bunch of white polishes and stumbled upon a great secret: french tip polish. It's just supposed to be for that tiny bit of free edge that you paint white when you get a classic french, so it's thick and super opaque in one coat. That makes it basically the perfect white for nail art. I'll never use regular white polish again.

2. Jojoba Oil In Place Of All Others

KeshiaLilly on YouTube

Jojoba oil is the oil that's closest to your natural sebum, or the oils that naturally occur in your skin. All the nail bloggers rave that this type of oil makes their cuticles the envy of the neighborhood. But it also makes your nails grow longer and stronger and more flexible, which means they're less likely to break or peel. Bliss Kiss is a popular brand.

3. Avo Juice For The Camera

(Skip to 5:20 for the review). If you like to Instagram an awesome mani (and who doesn't?) then you really need to throw some cuticle oil or lotion. Otherwise your nails will play second fiddle to dry cuticles. But most cuticles oils and many lotions make your hands greasy and gross, and you don't want that either. But O.P.I. Avojuice is the nail blogger secret weapon that will save your day. It's super hydrating, fast-absorbing, and it makes your hands camera ready without them even looking shiny, let alone greasy. It's basically perfect.

4. Sponging On Glitter

Simply Nailogical on YouTube

Brushing is for amateurs! The pros know that you need to sponge on your glitter, to get some of the base jelly out so it dries at some point, and to get the most glitter coverage.

5. Clean Up Secrets

Demi Siriusly on YouTube

Nail art involves a bunch of clean up. Here are some tips to make that process a non-issue. Game changer!

ABXY Nails on YouTube

This video shows how to tape up your nails to minimize clean up, too, if you don't have any of the other products in the above video.

6. The Clear Gel Trick

Naomis Nails on YouTube

If you love how gel nail polish helps your nails grow, but you don't like wearing the same color for weeks, or you're the type to let your nails grow out until they're only half polished, just use clear gel. The clear gel will protect your nails the same way colored gels do, but when you get bored with it, you can add a regular base coat, then polish them as usual. And if you have clear gel and a UV or LED light, you can do your own "fills" so you never have those gaps when your nails grow out.

7. Peel Off Base Coat For Glitter Polishes

AwesomenessTV on YouTube

If you've ever tried to remove glitter nail polish, you basically understand what it's like to cross the desert with no water. OK, that's dramatic, but the struggle is totally real. Experts know that if you first use a peel-off base coat, glitter polish removal is easier than over-eating Doritos. You can make your own with glue, or buy one almost anywhere.

8. Removing Glitter If You Forgot Peel Off Base Coat

Kelli Marissa on YouTube

Let's face it. It's usually not until days after your glitter polish has dried that you think about how to get it off. This tutorial has your back.

9. DIY Nail Art Tools

YummyNails on YouTube

Welcome to the mother load of nail art tool hacks. You might not ever need to buy nail art tools again. A quick trip to your junk drawer will give you a surprising number of options. Spoiler alert: don't throw away your liquid eyeliner brushes.

reesedixon on YouTube

If you really want to go full-on DIY, this tutorial shows you how to make a detail brush from scratch, using your own hair. Or your partner's. You could probably use your dog's hair, too. Weird or wonderfully genius?

SCSnails on YouTube

You can even make your own stamping plates. Although this one seems complicated. But maybe that's just me.

You know now all the deep dark secrets of the people who do those fancy nail pictures on Instagram or make those flawless tutorials on YouTube.

Images: Simply Nailogical