Acetone Files How-To: How to fix those big huge wide thick chunky brushes
Nail polish brush comparison & how to fix those huge brushes!
I don't know about you, but I like my nail brushes little - the smaller the better. It's easier for me to apply the nail polish in three-ish strokes and get into all the cracks if the nail polish brush is small and thin. If it's got enough bristles, it will hold plenty of good-quality polish, so that's a quality issue, not a shape issue.
But a lot of nail polish brands are going to or have always had these really thick brushes that are almost the size of your whole nail! I hate them! No brush will be the perfect shape to put nail polish on in ONE stroke, it's just not possible, since everyone's nails are different. With a large brush, you still end up having to use the middle-end-end sort of 3-stroke method (see this - sorry cannot find original credit for this image, because only places I could find it didn't cite it. Boo.) and this brush is too unwieldy for it. You just get polish everywhere and it's harder to control because it's bigger. Imagine trying to paint a mailbox with a normal-sized brush or a house-painting brush.
How is than an improvement, nail polish companies?? I remember Nina switched to these "new thicker pro brushes," and advertised that fact with a sticker on the bottle - as if that was a selling point! Are "pros" actually using the huge brushes? Perhaps they do because they do it a lot, and they want to swipe and go - but us non-pros who want our lacquer to look nice value coverage and smoothness over quickness. Sure, you don't want a teeny brush that takes 10 strokes to cover your nail, but you need control to be able to get that perfect coat! Plus it's harder to do nail art with the brushes getting bigger and bigger - I like the ones that already come with small brushes, so you can actually freehand things like stripes and larger shapes, not to mention stay in the lines of striping tape!
Nail Polish Brush Comparison
I decided to do a comparison of all my major brands, so you can see which ones have the giant brushes and which ones have the nice thin brushes - and which are kinda in between.
My favorites are the sleek-but-not-super-thin ones that don't fan out too much, like L'Oreal, Zoya, and Sally Hansen Diamond Strength. It has good coverage for when I want an allover coat, but is easy to control for freehanding nail art.
My least favorite - or rather, most-bummed - is Sally Hansen Insta-Dry. The formula is super super thick and opaque, which makes it perfect for nail art, but it has a HUGE brush as you can see, which negates that factor right there. It's actually rather cakey as an allover polish, so why would you stick in that wide brush that makes nail art impossible??
Never fear - if you're as bummed as I am about those huge brushes, but still like the polish the reside in, there's a way you can fix the brush! I'm using a Nina from my greige collection, which is the brand that actually has TWO little bristle beds, like a two-headed calf or something - my method worked fine even with them!
How to perform a Brush Reduction
1. You'll need nail polish remover (or pure acetone), something to wipe with, a pair of small scissors (nail scissors work fine), and some plastic wrap.
2. Unscrew the cap and take the brush out. Immediately cover the nail polish bottle with plastic wrap, so it doesn't dry out while you're working. Tape if necessary.
3. Wipe the excess polish off the nail polish brush. Don't use water, it will cause the polish to solidify. If necessary, pour some remover into the cap and scrabble the brush around in it. The important thing is getting the brush itself as clean as possible.
4. Carefully open the scissors about 1/3 of the way into the base of the brush, and snip. It will actually snip less than it appears it will, so you may have to do this a couple times and snip more than you'd expect. (Be careful though, you can't put bristles back.) Repeat on the other side. You're trying to reduce both sides, leaving the thickness you want in the middle.
5. Wash the brush under warm water to be sure all the cut bristles have come out. You don't want any falling out in the polish. After you wash it, make sure all bristles are even on the end and snip any that may have come out of place.
6. Voila! You can put the brush back in.