An expert sets the record straight.

By Alyssa Clough
Updated September 10, 2015
When you’re giving yourself a manicure, paint the nails on your dominant hand first so that you don’t end up polishing with your weak side when it’s wet, says Tracylee, a nail ambassador with Sally Hansen. Also, leave your thumbs for last so you can use them to clean up the other nails along the way. Take smudges off your thumbs when they’re dry with a cotton swab dipped in polish remover.
Ilan Rubin

This article originally appeared on MIMI.

Most nail polish addicts rarely rock bare nails—myself included. Remove, paint, repeat...right? A huge fan of going natural in other parts of my beauty routine (read: taking my makeup off right after work and relishing my clean skin, forgoing styling my hair), I got to wondering if we should be applying the same logic to our nails.

Thankfully, nail expert Deborah Lippmann came to our rescue with the answer we all hoped for.

She said, "There's a common misconception that nails need to be naked in order to "breathe" and recover, but that's simply not the case."


Lippmann explained that though we can experience damaged or discolored nails, you don't need to go bare in order to recover. There are so many treatments and nutrient-packed base coats out there, leaving nails polish-free is definitely the less beneficial (and fun!) option.

If your nails are in need of some love, instead of leaving them unpolished try Deborah Lippmann's new All About That Base CC Base Coat ($20, Speaking from experience, it's a nail-saver—seriously magic. I use one coat if I'm using it as a true base coat, but two coats gives you a chic shade of matte nude that I wear all the time on its own. Any ridges or unevenness in your nails will be completely eliminated and the formula has nutrients to help rebuild damaged nails. It's my go-to trick for rehabbing my nails without exposing how disastrous they actually are.