E30a00a64bfb9ba4eaff nail polish coats

It happens to even the most experienced polish fanatic: You’re in the middle of applying your second coat of polish when you realize you can still see your natural nail underneath, so you decide to apply a third coat and—bam! you’ve flooded the cuticle with way too much polish. Remedying the situation can be a bit tricky, so it’s best to prevent it from happening altogether. Read on to find out the exact number of coats you should be applying.

When it comes to applying polish, it’s best to think of your nail as a Double-Stuf Oreo cookie: 2 parts chocolatey outside (base and top coat) and the two yummy layers in the middle (two coats of polish). That’s right, two is the magic number of coats you should be applying—no more, no less. The trick is to master the three-stroke polishing method. By applying smooth, even strokes of polish, you’re bound to achieve maximum color payoff without overwhelming the nail. Also, keeping the number of coats to a minimum ensures the quickest dry time. If you were to apply more than two coats, your nails will take longer to dry and will be more prone to smudging or denting. Your best bet: Apply a thin layer of base coat, followed by two thin, even layers of polish, then finish with a single layer of top coat for salon-quality results every time.

Check out these nail articles for inspiration for your next mani!