How to Apply Nail Polish without Streaks

Nail polish is a simple yet effective tool for improving your appearance and looking more put together. There’s a good reason why we say a woman who looks stylish, looks “polished”. 

White and pastel nail polish are especially prone to looking streaky. But streaky nail polish is a big no-no. It will detract from your overall look rather than enhance it.

We want you to always look polished, so we have compiled this short guide on how to apply nail polish without streaks. 

How to Apply Nail Polish without Streaks: Our Guide

Streaks occur more often with opaque, light colors with matte finishes. But our guide will help you to know how to apply matte nail polish without streaks.

Streaks can sometimes happen with other nail polishes too. So it helps to have these tips for applying nail polish properly. 

Follow these simple steps to prevent this common problem:

Our 7 Steps To Streak-Free Nails

You will need:

  • Nail polish remover
  • Cotton balls
  • Ridge filling base coat
  • Nail polish in the color of your choice
  • Topcoat

how to keep nail polish from streaking


  1. Saturate a cotton ball with nail polish remover. Clean your nails to remove all traces of old nail polish. If any trace of old, chipped polish remains on your nails, it will ruin the appearance of your new polish.

    Wash and dry your hands thoroughly. Ensure that there are no tiny bits of fuzz left on your nails from the cotton ball, or from the towel you dried your hands with. 

  2. Take your bottle of ridge filling base coat and paint a thin coat over your nails. Be patient and let it dry completely before applying a coat of color nail polish

    how can you keep nail polish from streaking

    The ridge filler creates a smooth base for your polish if your nails have dents or ridges in them, and gives your manicure a beautiful gloss. 

  3. Now take the bottle of color polish. Do not shake the bottle of polish to mix it. Rather roll the bottle gently between your palms for 30 seconds. This prevents the bubbles that form if you shake the bottle. 

    Remove the brush and hold it parallel to your nail. Start at the base of your nail near your cuticle and paint a very thin coat from cuticle to tip.

  4. Wait a couple of minutes until the first coat of nail polish dries. Then apply a second coat of color polish. 

    This coat may be slightly thicker than the first coat. But never apply polish too thick, and do not work backward again with the brush. This will cause streaking.

  5. Allow the color polish to dry and follow that immediately with a top coat to seal it. Paint a thin layer over your nails using no more than 3 brush strokes. One down the center, from cuticle to tip. And then one on the left, and one on the right.

    How can you Apply Nail Polish Without Streaks

    They should slightly overlap to prevent gaps. The topcoat will bond the layers of nail polish together for a professional-looking manicure.

Will These Tips Also Help For Preventing Streaks When Painting Toes? 

Our 7 steps for streak-free nails can also help with how to apply nail polish on toes, as you can follow the same procedure for them.

If you struggle with how to keep nail polish off skin while painting your toes, use toe-dividers to keep toes apart while painting the nails.

And always have a Q-tip handy that you can dip into polish remover for quick clean-ups.

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