Now you might well be rolling your eyes and muttering "Ah for feck's sake, sure don't we all know how to put on nail varnish" under your breath, but talking to people over the last while I've been shocked by the number of women who think that firing one thick coat of coloured polish straight on to their nekkid talons is the way to go. It's really not: for nail varnish to last any length of time, look well, and avoid staining your nails, it needs to be applied properly.
Follow these three simple steps and you won't go far wrong!
1. Always, always use a base coat. Seriously, don't skip this step - it'll help prevent bright or dark colours from staining your nails, and will also give your colour something to stick to, helping it last longer.
2. Apply two thin coats of your chosen colour. Yes, the first coat will likely look streaky and a bit crap, but the second will even things out and give the colour richness and depth. Going with a couple of thin coats rather than just the one big thick gloopy coat means that the nail varnish actually gets a chance to dry.
3. Finish off with a top coat to add glossy shine (you might think the colour's shiny in itself, but you'll really notice the difference a good top coat makes) and protect your handiwork.