How to Keep Nail Polish off Skin While Painting

Want to know how to keep nail polish off skin while painting?

Applying nail polish is fun but it can get a bit messy at times. Getting long-lasting nail polish off the skin can be tough. 

It’s better to be proactive and prevent nail polish from staining your skin. 

We’ve found 3 quick, easy, and cheap methods to keep nail polish off your skin. They don’t require much effort, and your skin will be stain-free.

Keeping Nail Polish Off Skin While Painting

Use Vaseline or Cuticle Oil

You can use vaseline, cuticle oil, cream, or other similar products to keep nail polish off your skin. 

how to keep nail polish off skin

All these products have oils in them that stop the polish from sticking to your skin. It’s a cheap and convenient option since everyone has at least one of these at home. 


  • Use a Q-tip to apply a layer of vaseline or oil around the nail. Ensure that the skin is coated properly, including the cuticles.
  • If your nails are short, you can apply the vaseline on the exposed fingertip too. It’s an often-overlooked section but it usually ends up with nail polish stains too. 
  • Paint your nails as usual with a thin first coat and thicker second coat. This is how to keep nail polish from streaking.
  • Wait for the polish to dry and then wash your hands. Use gentle soap and water water and carefully rub the skin around your nails. 

Your nails need to be completely dry when washing off the polish. 

If the polish is even a little wet, it will smudge. If you’re impatient for it to dry, use a fast-drying topcoat, or try our Spritz Dry.

how to prevent nail polish on skin

Use Elmer’s Glue

Elmer’s Glue is the white glue used in schools and for crafts. Yes, it’s the glue we rubbed over our hands for the fun of peeling it off. 

The same principle applies here. 


  • Elmer’s Glue
  • Cuticle stick (or similar blunt-tipped object)
  • Q-tip, old nail polish brush, or a kid’s small paintbrush


  • Use the Q-tip or brush to apply a thin layer of glue around the nail. If you use too much glue then it'll take a while to dry. 
  • Paint your nails with your glossy polish or read our article on how to apply matte nail polish.
  • Once done, use the cuticle stick to gently scrape the glue and polish away. It’s a good idea to wait for the polish to dry first, but you don’t need to.

Use Tape

Much like vaseline, the tape is a common household item. Using it to keep nail polish off the skin does take a little longer than the other methods. 

how to keep nail polish off your skin

This is because you first have to cut multiple pieces of tape. Applying the tap can be slow-going as well. 


  • Cut small strips of tape.
  • To remove the excess glue, stick them to the back of your hand a few times. This will reduce discomfort during removal. 
  • Place the small pieces around the nail. Cover all the skin, including the cuticles.
  • Apply your nail polish and let it dry. 
  • Peel off the tape when you’re ready. 

Final Word

Keeping nail polish off your skin while painting is cheap and easy. 

Adding this extra step to your manicure routine won’t take up too much time. And the best part? Peeling off the glue and tape is fun too!

Worried about your pedicure skills? Learn how to apply nail polish on toes.

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