The Lazy Student's Complete Guide to Wearing Nail Polish at School

Posted by on Tuesday, February 22, 2011

I'm publishing this in the month of my blogoversary. Fitting, no? With the name of my blog and all, lol. Anyway, this is the long overdue massive tutorial on how I get away with wearing nail polish to school, and the different means by which one can achieve that.

So after a year of trying and failing to wear polish to school, I've come up with various ways to sneak past the ever present teachers with painted nails. There are actually way more ways to do this than one may think. I've found that basic things to consider are:

Your form tutor. Male form tutors are generally way more ignorant than female ones. Stereotypical? Perhaps, but I've only ever had one male teacher call me out on my neon pink and green eyeshadow whearas I've had pretty much all the female ones comment that the vivid orange that I'm wearing is wholly inappropriate in a school setting...

Your school. Religious schools (like mine) and private schools are far more strict on their "no makeup, no nail varnish" policies than ordinary state ones. My school is quite near the top of the league tables (though it's been dropping every year ever since the old headteacher retired) and so they fancy themselves as the best in the area. They don't want us to be mistaken for the schools nearby who have somewhat looser uniform policies - I see you, school with the blue uniform, with your skirts up to your ass - so they crack down on the merest hint of makeup like a dominatrix in a porn video.

Your year. Teachers tend to crack down harder on students say, in Year Nine that are wearing makeup or nail polish compared to those in Year Eleven. That's not to say that they leave us poor Year Eleven's alone. They don't. But they might overlook the odd transgression when they wouldn't for a Year Nine.

The time of year. In September, the teachers are all gung ho about the uniform policy, and the same for when the Christmas breaks are over and it's the start of January - by April, no one cares.

With this considered, we can now proceed to actually painting the nails. There are a few main looks I go for, depending on how lucky I feel and on the factors above:

The "Four Fingers With an Accent"

This is pretty safe. I've rarely been told off for having just one nail painted and if you choose the correct sheer colour, you can still cover up any staining that may be on your nails.


The "Sheer Polish"

This is like the ultimate safe choice - a glitter, or a sheer, on all five of the nails. You have to look really closely to detect that you've got painted nails at all - or at least my teachers do anyway, they don't seem to be known for their eyesight - and even if it is detected, most will just let it slide.

The "Invisible Nail Art"

I love love love Konad/Fauxnad for this purpose. It tones down say, hot pinks or oranges into these perfect subtle tints that you can't really see unless you look closely. They just add a bit of interest to the nail and look cute - plus, they're almost effort free.

and The "One Hand"

This is my riskiest and I only do this when I'm feeling pretty lucky (on a Friday, usually). It's basically when you only paint your non-dominant hand, and leave the other polish free. Painting your non-dominant hand allows you to basically hide it when necessary and still use your other hand in writing situations, for example. It gets a tad awkward when your teacher notices you've suddenly become left handed and thus your handwriting looks like that of a six year old...


During this week (lol, the time frame has been extended a little) I'm going to explore each of the four styles in detail, with some more examples that you guys could use if you need to be in a school (or work) environment. So do keep checking back!


  1. well I can wear anything I want in my school, but it's a creative school, maybe that's it

  2. I don't hassle my students. If they are clean and not smelly that's about all I care about.

    Other staff do the fashion fascist bit - not me...

  3. "Clean and not smelly" lol :P Why can't you come and teach at our school? You'd be such an improvement over all the fashion fascists (great term you coined there).

    It's not even just the unnatural fascination with the uniform policy. It's the whole "Oh, you can't sit here at break, go outside" when it's minus fifty degrees celsius out there. Then they go inside and sip coffee smugly in the staff room. TWO FINGERED SALUTE TO EVERY MATHS TEACHER OUT THERE.

    just saying.

  4. Everytime I read about your school's crazy rules it makes me more and more happy that I didn't go to a private school. Although, I can't think of a single private school over here that has a "no makeup" rule... hmmm

  5. the sheer polish is a great idea. i used to wear glitter polish (usually in silver) and frosted pink or white during highschool. those were not very obvious when seated at the back of the classroom :)

  6. My school(s) were so strict.. The deputy principal even had nail polish remover in her office for those who needed it. We had fingernail checks every Monday (even for those with really long nails) so there was little chance of escaping.

  7. Be thankful, Scandalous. I'm actually insanely jealous of you Americans, no one seems to wear uniform at all in the movies...

    Good idea, Jan! Our teachers actually check our nails at the beginning of the sad.

    Same, Abby. There's nail polish remover and makeup wipes in the Head of Year's unnecessary.

    Thanks for your comments!

  8. At my school nail polish is not allowed, but only a couple of teachers actually enforce the rule. Unless I come along a nasty teacher its fine :)

  9. You're lucky, Colour Me Curious! They used to check all the time at mine :P

  10. My school is just an ordinary school yet we have some really strict rules, we're not allowed make-up, jewelry or nail varnish, and our ties must be a certain length and our skirts at our knees, how come other schools get it so easy??

  11. I guess it just depends on how much attention the person in charge pays to the matter, Anonymous! Mine was definitely one of the stricter ones, unfortunately :P

  12. At my school we're allowed to wear make up but not nail polish. It makes no sense!

  13. oh wow im glad at my school they allow anything,makeup jewelery and nail polish:)
    i feel sorry for you guys,although at my old school they didnt even accept long nails!

  14. you could also use masking tape and cut it to the length of your nails and shade it to the tone of your nails stick them on and when you take it off the nail polish will stay unharmed

  15. Thanks for the tip, Anonymous! I've never tried that, will give it a go at some point.

  16. Anonymous #1, that makes no sense? haha how weird. You were lucky 12Icecreamedchance24, although regulating nail length is just ridiculous (at your old school!)


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