How to Polish Really Short Nails

Painting short nails is very similar to polishing any other length.
Painting short nails is very similar to polishing any other length. (Image: Jupiterimages/ Images)

Nail polish dresses up your fingers and adds elegance to your appearance. However, nail polish is typically marketed to those with long nails. If you keep your nails short, you can still use polish to dress up your style. If you want to polish really short nails, set aside about an hour of time and enjoy a relaxing manicure.

Things You'll Need

  • Hand soap
  • Paper towel
  • Base coat polish
  • Nail polish
  • Topcoat polish
  • Cotton swab
  • Nail polish remover

Wash your hands with hand soap to remove any buildup of oils on your nails. Pat your hands and nails dry with a paper towel.

Apply one layer of base coat polish to each nail. Do not worry if you get some of the polish on your fingertips -- it is more important to cover the entire surface of each nail. Allow the base coat to dry for 10 minutes.

Paint a thin, even layer of your chosen nail polish over each nail. As with the base coat, do not worry about getting polish on your fingers. Allow the polish to dry for 10 minutes. Apply a second coat of polish if the color is not as dark as you would like it to be.

Paint on an even layer of topcoat over the dried polish. Allow the topcoat to dry for 20 minutes.

Dip a cotton swab into nail polish remover and wipe away polish you got on your fingertips while painting your nails. With short nails, it is usually unavoidable to get some polish on your fingertips. Be careful not to smudge the polish on your nails.

Wash your hands with hand soap to remove the nail polish remover.

Tips & Warnings

  • Remove the old polish and repaint your nails when the color starts to chip off.
  • If you need to file your nails, do so before painting them, as the polish will ruin your nail file.

Related Searches


  • "A Complete Guide to Manicure & Pedicure"; Leigh Toselli; 2006
  • "The Sheril Bailey Complete Manicuring and Nail Care Handbook"; Sheril Bailey; 1998
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