Application Tips

Always wait for polish to dry fully before adding an additional coat. Otherwise you run the risk of ruining the previous application.
Use a clear coat as a base before using color polish. This will help avoid nail stains and make for an easier and cleaner removal.
Make sure your nails are clean before applying a coat of polish. This will help minimize bumps and peeling of the polish.
For the totally clueless: polish should be applied in strokes from the base of the nail to the tip. Don't do the underside of the tip - that makes it look fake and will probably peel off anyway. (Actually, as will be seen under Design Tips, sometimes this can make a cool effect, if done right.)
Stay still until your polish is dry! Watch TV or meditate. I don't know if this is a "guy thing" or just another of my neuroses, but I often ruin a perfect application because I cannot sit still after applying nail polish. I try to get dressed or shave or open my (snail) mail.
Use a UV-protective topcoat if you will be in the sun a lot. (Probably not an issue with most goths!) UV rays can cause color in polish to fade and peel and can make the nails yellow and brittle.
It is better to apply several thin coats of polish than a few thick coats. The thicker the coat, the longer it takes to dry. Many quick-drying polishes dry from the outside in, so if you apply a coat over a thick coat that is not dry underneath, you may get indents or smudges. Also, thick coats are more likely to peel at the tips.
If you can't seem to polish your nails without also polishing the skin on the sides, let the polish completely dry and then soak your nails in water for a few minutes or take a shower/bath or do the dishes (better yet, you can do mine). This will soften the skin and loosen the polish. Gently scrape off the polish with a toothpick. Should the skin dry before you are done, simply re-soak the nails. Don't try to scrape off dry polish without soaking or you can damage the skin - I have a bad habit of doing that and it makes the skin rough. (Several companies sell correcting markers with polish remover but they tend to just make a mess when I use them.)
Remove anything you will soon need (keys, bus fair, fake ID) out of your pockets or purse before you apply polish. On the same note, have your boots/shoes on and tied before doing your nails. I can't begin to count how many times I ruined a perfect application because I had to get something out of my pocket or finish dressing before my nails were completely dry.
To avoid getting polish on the cuticle, instead of painting right from the cuticle, place the brush on the nail bed about 1/8th of an inch away from the cuticle and push backwards towards it, stopping just before the skin. Then make the usual stroke up to the tip.

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