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You don't need white vanish. I do recommend a base coat for sure. I sometimes use white polish first but not always, it's a preference. Also I use room temperature water mostly. Sometimes it works sometimes it doesn't. A big part is the nail polish. Thicker polishes work better and glitter and thin polishes not so much. I also use regular tap water. I found that bathroom Dixie cups work best and I just throw it out when I'm done. I lightly blow on my nails after I bring it up from the water so I don't get the little water bubbles on them. I didn't do that the first time. This takes practice. The first few times I did this some nails came out good others didn't. Also I use a non-UV Gel top coat. it really add shine and the paint lasts about 10 days.