Best 8 Nail Polishes for a DIY Manicure


The perfect DIY manicure is achievable with the right polish. But how do you know what polish will give you the nail look you’re after? One glance at the polish aisle (or a look online) can feel overwhelming with so many shades available. And let’s not forget those subtle differences, like matte finish versus glossy finish or how easy (or not) it is to remove nail polish.

Don’t stress over finding the perfect polish for your next DIY mani. We’ve looked into the options and narrowed them down to the best eight nail polishes to help you get a perfectly polished manicure. 

Best nail polishes overview:

How we chose the best nail polishes

To compile this list, we researched manufacturer specifications, including color options, finish types, and more, to create a short list of the top nail polishes. Then, we combed through detailed product descriptions, ratings, and reviews to find the best nail polish for each category.

Our picks for the best nail polishes


Best overall

OPI Nail Lacquer

  • Dries quickly
  • Lasts up to 7 days
  • Found at salons and stores

  • Somewhat pricey
  • May chip easily

There really isn’t a more iconic nail polish brand than OPI. The brand’s classic line of nail lacquers can be found at many salons, yet you can also head to a local Target or Walmart and find the same gorgeous OPI shades in the nail polish aisle. That means you can easily re-create the mani you enjoyed at the salon from the comfort of your own home. 

The brand notes its lacquer dries quickly and may last up to seven days. However, many reviews indicate the polish may chip easily, especially if you wash your hands frequently. The per-bottle price is slightly on the higher end of the polish price range, but it’s a classic go-to for any nail polish enthusiast. The brand’s original nail lacquer formula line includes 20 shades with glossy and glitter finishes, so there’s a perfect finish and color for nearly every occasion.

Shades: 20 | Finish: Glossy, glitter | Type: Lacquer


Best budget

Sinful Colors Bold Color Nail Polish

  • Can be found at local drug stores
  • Low price
  • Wide variety of shades and finishes

  • Polish can be quite thin
  • Glitter finishes may not be smooth

It’s hard to believe, but Sinful Colors’ Bold Color line of nail polishes can be found at some stores for less than $2. And in this Bold Color collection, you can choose from 46 shades, including a clear top coat. Within those vibrant color choices, you’ll find glossy finishes along with both metallic and glitter options. According to a few reviewers, some of the glittery polishes might feel rough rather than smooth. 

The polish might be a bit on the thin side, so you may want to double up on the coats you apply, depending on what shade you go pick out (the brand suggests applying two coats of color). This brand of polish can be found at local drug stores like Target, so it’s easy and convenient to head to the store and find your favorite new shade for that spring-inspired mani.

Shades: 46 | Finish: Glossy, metallic, glitter | Type: Lacquer


Best splurge

Christian Louboutin Nail Colour

  • Thin brush handle
  • Matches the brand’s iconic shoe color
  • Displayable product

  • Only a few shades
  • Small bottle for the price

This line of nail polish comes from the maker of those famous red bottom shoes (named for their red soles). This is the best nail polish if you’re willing to splurge a bit, as it’s quite pricey (considering you get a little less than one-half ounce of product). The Lalaque Le Vernis Brilliant is one of just a few shades, but this one matches the vibrant red of the brand’s shoes almost perfectly. 

The bottle itself is a work of art, with its faceted glass polish container and sleek, pointed gold top. It looks stunning, but it’s also functional. Some reviewers loved that the thin top, attached to the brush, helped them create a more precise manicure.

Shades: 3 | Finish: Glossy | Type: Lacquer


Best gel alternative

Dazzle Dry Mini Kit

  • Convenient kit
  • Dries quickly
  • Long-lasting

  • Difficult to remove with regular polish remover
  • Pricey
  • Need to use Dazzle Dry products together

Gel nail polishes can be tough on nails, especially if you tend to pick at your polish. This is the best gel alternative nail polish since you can purchase just about all you need in one convenient trial kit. You’ll need to use the brand’s nail prep, base coat, lacquer, and top coat together, so it can be pricey if you buy full-size bottles. 

You’ll also want to spring for the brand’s remover since the color is difficult to remove with regular polish remover (speaking from experience). However, the polish dries quickly and tends to last quite a while, though it does tend to chip if you wash your hands often.

Shades: 59 | Finish: Frost, shimmer, glossy, cream | Type: Lacquer


Best vegan

Ella + Mila Dream

  • Free from toxic ingredients
  • Vegan formula
  • Variety of shade and finish options

  • Chips easily
  • Works best with brand’s base and top coat

With 38 color choices and finishes ranging from glossy to glittery, Ella + Mila’s Dream collection is the best vegan nail polish. The formula itself is vegan (so no animal products) and cruelty-free.

In our experience, the polish chipped quite easily, though the brand says it’s chip resistant. For best results, you may want to use it with the brand’s base and topcoats, which adds to the cost. But we like that in addition to being vegan, it’s a polish made in the United States, and it’s 17-free, so it doesn’t contain ingredients like acetone, parabens, and other harmful chemicals.

Shades: 38 | Finish: Glitter, glossy | Type: Lacquer


Best glitter

Essie Set in Stones

  • High-glitter finish
  • Can layer over other polishes
  • Brand website includes “try on” feature

  • Not opaque
  • Will need multiple coats

Is bling your thing? Then Essie’s Set in Stones is the nail polish for you. It’s packed full of silver sparkles so you can get your shine on. However, it doesn’t go on opaque in one or even two coats, so you may want to layer multiple coats if you use it as its own nail color. If you want your other nail colors to sparkle, add a thin coat of this and prepare to be dazzled with the super glittery finish. 

It can be tricky to order polish online, but Essie’s website offers a helpful “try on” feature. You can select your skin tone and nail shape to see a representation of what the color might look like on you, which can help you decide whether this sparkling option is the best one for your next manicure.

Shades: 6 | Finish: Glitter | Type: Lacquer


Best 21-free

10+ Free Clean Nail Color

  • Plenty of shades and finishes
  • Free of 21 harmful substances
  • Strengthens nails

  • Some colors may go on sheer
  • Some polishes may be thick

It’s no surprise that this brand gets our vote for the best 21-free nail polish since its name suggests it’s free from at least 10 toxic chemicals. In fact, it’s actually a 21-free option, meaning the formula doesn’t include harmful substances like formaldehyde, parabens, sulfates, and several others. Plus, it’s even gluten-free, so it’s perfect for those who want to avoid gluten-containing products.

You’ll have 51 shades to choose from in varying finishes, from glossy to glitter to metallic. Reviewers have mentioned some of the polishes may go too sheer or may be too thick, so the number of coats you’ll need depends a bit on the color you choose. But this line actually strengthens and repairs nails that have been damaged, so it’s worth the extra coats you may need to apply to reap all the benefits.

Shades: 51 | Finish: Glossy, glitter, metallic | Type: Lacquer


Best quick-drying

Sally Hansen Insta-Dri Nail Color

  • 3-in-1 polish
  • Dries in 1 minute
  • Extensive shade range

  • May need multiple coats
  • May chip easily

If you’ve only got a minute to spare for a manicure, you’ll appreciate this nail polish. It’s the best quick-drying polish for a reason — it literally dries in about one minute. Plus, you don’t need a base or top coat because it’s an all-in-one polish. 

The line features 30 shades to choose from in finishes like glossy, glitter, and matte. Some of them may require more than one coat of color if you’re after a more opaque look. If you picked a more sheer option, you may want to give yourself a few more minutes of dry time just to be on the safe side. Some reviews have noted the polish chips easily, so to help avoid that, try running the brush along the edge of your nail to finish up your mani and add a little protection from chipping.

Shades: 30 | Finish: Glossy, glitter, matte | Type: Lacquer

Perfectly polished nails at home

The best nail polish for you depends on many factors, not least of which are color and finish. Our overall pick for the top nail polish goes to OPI Nail Lacquer. It’s a classic that can be found at local drug stores as well as salons. It also dries quickly and can last up to a week, plus the line includes a variety of shades as well as finishes.

How to pick the right nail polish for you

Picking your perfect polish may mean studying the label for ingredients if you prefer to avoid some of the potentially harmful chemicals often found in polish. It also means selecting the right type of finish and knowing how many coats to apply.


  • 3-free. These polishes don’t contain toluene, formaldehyde, or dibutyl phthalate (DnBP).
  • 10-free. These polishes may vary a bit from brand to brand, but they’re generally free of DnBP, toluene, formaldehyde, camphor, tosylamide/formaldehyde resin, parabens, and xylene. 
  • 21-free. This type of nail polish excludes even more potentially harmful chemicals, such as endocrine disrupters and other chemicals.


  • Glossy. Glossy nail polish will have a shiny finish once dried.
  • Matte. Matte finishes aren’t glossy, so they don’t have much shine once they dry.
  • Glitter. Go beyond glossy with glitter finishes that add even more sparkle.
  • Metallic. Metallic finishes aren’t glittery, but they are shiny, so they’re kind of in between glossy and glitter. 


  • Single. A single coat of nail polish is simply one coat of nail color.
  • Double. Two coats of polish are pretty typical for many nail polish brands.
  • Base. A base coat goes beneath the nail color to prepare your nail.
  • Top. Top coats seal the color to help your DIY manicure last a bit longer.


What nail polish brands do professionals use? 

Professional salons vary in terms of the nail polish brands they use, so there’s not one “right” answer here. A common salon pick is OPI, but professionals also favor many other brands. 

Which is the best brand for nail polish?

We like OPI Nail Lacquer for a number of reasons, one being that it dries quickly. You can easily find it at local chain stores, and it helps your mani last for up to seven days.

What nail polish is the least damaging to nails?

In general, some gel nail polishes tend to be more damaging to nails than traditional polish. That’s especially true if you’re someone who tends to pick off your polish (just don’t do it!). That said, you may want to avoid darker colors that can cause your nails to turn color. You might also choose to go with a non-toxic polish that’s free from harmful chemicals.

0 comment
0 FacebookTwitterPinterestEmail

A nail buffer is always useful, whether you’re low-maintenance or profoundly dedicated to caring for your nails. These multi-sided tools help you refine and adjust the texture of your nail plate, which can be helpful in many different scenarios. A good nail buffing session can make sure your polish lasts longer or gloss up your nails, saving you the need for polish in the first place. 

Nail buffers come in many shapes and forms, so we’ve selected the best ones to help you perfect your manicure. From simple boards and blocks to advanced sets, there’s something here for every nail care routine. 

Best nail buffers overview:

How we chose the best nail buffers

To compile this list, we researched manufacturer specifications, including grit, number of sides, shape, and more, to create a short list of the top nail buffers. Then, we combed through detailed product descriptions, ratings, and reviews to find the best nail buffer for each category.


Best overall

ULTA Beauty Collection 4-Way Nail Buffing Block

  • Great price
  • 4 grit levels
  • Can be used for shaping, smoothing, or polishing

You can’t go wrong with this affordable buffing block from Ulta. The four-sided buffer has everything you need to buff your nails, from a coarse filing side for shaping to an ultra-fine side for creating a sheen. 

In between, the medium and fine grit sides ensure your nails are scratch-free and ready for polish. Reviewers loved how shiny this block made their nails with minimal effort. Just know that the bulky square shape means that buffing close to the cuticle can be a little tricky.

Grit: Very fine, fine, medium, coarse | Sides: 4 | Shape: Block


Best budget

Revlon Shape ‘N’ Buff

  • Several sides
  • Compact
  • Useful for filing and shining

  • Buffing sides are a little small

This budget-friendly nail board packs a whole lot of options for every type of buffing action. Despite the many grit levels, it comes as a compact board, so it’ll be easy to pack away or bring with you on trips. 

The two large sides are for filing, while the small sides feature four low-grit boards for everything from gentle buffing to high-polish shining. That said, the sides for buffing are a little small, so you may find they’re only useful if you don’t shine your nails often.

Grit: Coarse, medium-coarse, medium, fine, finer, very fine | Sides: 6 | Shape: Board


Best splurge

Deborah Lippmann Smooth Operator

  • 4 grit levels specifically for buffing
  • Washable and durable
  • Comfortable to use

While this nail buffer is a little bit pricier than many other options, the added cost is justified by its extra durability and immense ease of use. This compact board design features four grit levels from medium to very fine, which is perfect for buffing the surface of the nail very thoroughly. 

Instead of a bulky block, each side of the board has two grit levels. This organizational approach is ideal for buffing since the available buffing surfaces are neither too big nor too small. Finally, we appreciate that this buffer is washable and durable, so it should last for a long time. That said, some shoppers might miss a coarse filing side.

Grit: Medium, medium-fine, fine, very fine | Sides: 4 | Shape: Board


Best with replaceable pads

Tweezerman Neon File, Buff, Smooth & Shine Block

  • Comes with replaceable pads
  • Ideal for all buffing needs
  • Fun neon colors

  • No separate replacement pads

This colorful buffing block from salon-favorite brand Tweezerman isn’t just pretty, but it’s also a quality product. It’s four-sided to fulfill all of your buffing needs, and each side is marked with a bright neon color. 

The block comes with four extra pads for each side, so once one side wears out, you can replace it with ease. While it’s a little pricier than other options on our list, it actually offers better value for money, thanks to the extra pads. The only drawback is that Tweezerman doesn’t sell the replacement pads alone.

Grit: Very fine, fine, medium, coarse | Sides: 4 | Shape: Block


Best gentle

Orly Buffer

  • Ideal for smoothing and shining
  • Flexible foam board
  • Gentle yet thorough

This gentle, affordable buffer has two sides: a fine and very fine grit for smoothing and shining nails. What makes it even gentler on the nails is that it’s foamy and flexible. Because of that, the buffer flexes against the contours of the nail to give better coverage with a lower risk of over-buffing. You’ll need to use it with a medium buffer if your nails are a little scratched or coarse. 

Grit: Fine, very fine | Sides: 2 | Shape: Foam board


Best for shining

OnsenSecret Perfect Nail Buffer Block

  • 2 sides for polishing
  • Shine that lasts for up to 10 days
  • Replacement pads available

  • Unverified claims
  • No nail file

If your primary goal is glossy, shiny nails, this nail buffer is a dream. While it has four sides, two of them are very fine specifically, so you can achieve a mirror-finish polish that will last for up to 10 days. The other sides are ideal for buffing and smoothing. Once the sides wear out, you can buy replacement pads instead of having to purchase a new block. 

OnsenSecret suggests that this nail buffer will also help improve nail health and thickness, but we weren’t able to find research supporting this claim. In fact, over-buffing or removing ridges can actually harm the nails, so it’s important to take caution. Note that there’s no nail file included, so this won’t help you shape the nail.

Grit: Very fine, fine, medium | Sides: 4 | Shape: Block


Best electric

Finishing Touch Flawless Nail

  • Faster than manual files
  • Features all necessary buffing heads
  • Rechargeable

If you’re a professional nail technician or a serious hobbyist, an electric nail buffer will significantly up your speed. It comes with three buffers you can easily mount on the rotating tip. Once you turn it on, you can gently buff, smooth, and shine your nails. Plus, there’s also a filing tip, cuticle care tip, and prep tip.

The buffer is rechargeable, so you won’t need to worry about batteries, and it’s incredibly simple to operate with two speed options. That said, use it with caution — the added speed and power of an electronic buffer are easy to overdo.

Grit: Very fine, fine, medium, coarse | Sides: N/A, 6 different heads | Shape: Electric buffer with rotating heads


Best set

Teenitor Nail File Buffer

  • Large, comprehensive set
  • Low-grit foam boards ideal for fragile nails
  • Affordable

This full set of nail buffers and files includes everything you need to take care of anyone’s nails. This six-piece set includes a few double-sided boards and squishy foam buffers of varying levels of grit. The firm boards are perfect for filing, while the softer, low-grit foam boards are gentle, even on fragile nails. 

The Teenitor is an affordable option that’s useful if you need every single buffing level. The brand even lists the grit level in numbers (higher numbers for finer grit levels and vice versa), which allows you to select the right grit level with more precision.

Grit: Fine, medium | Sides: 6 double-sided boards | Shape: Flat and foam boards


Best chamois

Winning Nails Chamois Buffer & Buffing Cream

  • Vintage aesthetic
  • Excellent for shining
  • Comes with buffing nail cream

Chamois nail buffers have a vintage charm, and they’re very effective for anyone that wants shinier nails. Made of a type of leather, this buffer has the ideal texture to carefully polish the nails. The easy-to-hold design is a little firmer than block buffers, so you can apply less pressure and still achieve a remarkable shine. 

For an even more noticeable effect, this nail buffer comes with a special cream. The cream moisturizes using ingredients like lanolin and mineral oil, while a touch of alumina helps to carefully abrade the nail for better buffing action. However, using the buffer and cream together ups the intensity, so be careful not to apply too much pressure when using.

Grit: Fine | Sides: 1 | Shape: Chamois tool


Best glass

Tweezerman Glass Nail Buffer

  • Reusable
  • Polishes well
  • Comes with protective case

Most nail buffers have to be replaced every few months. If you’d like to reduce the level of waste you create, consider picking up this glass nail buffer. This reusable, easy-to-clean tool helps to smooth and polish the nails just like a buffing board or block. 

Since it’s made of glass, it won’t wear away as quickly. However, its delicate material makes it more fragile, so you’ll want to be careful not to drop it. To that note, it does come with a case for added protection.

Grit: Fine | Sides: 1 | Shape: Glass board

Buff and polish

Nail buffers are simple, convenient, and affordable tools that are useful no matter how you choose to care for your nails. They come in a lot of different shapes and sizes to complement any kind of nail care routine. Our top pick, the ULTA Beauty Collection 4-Way Nail Buffing Block, is budget-friendly and useful in any situation thanks to its four grit levels.

How to pick the right buffer for you

When shopping for your ideal nail buffer, make sure to consider the grit levels, shape, and number of sides. 


  • Coarse. Coarse grit removes more of the nail but in a rougher manner, so it’s often better for filing the edge of the nail or removing gel polish. It can also help rough up the nail before a gel polish application (as long as your nails aren’t thin, ridged, or fragile).
  • Medium. Medium grit is gentler on the nail. It removes less of the nail plate, creating a finish that’s more refined than with a coarse file. This is the perfect level of prep before nail polish or to start the process of removing scratches from the nail plate. 
  • Fine. A fine grit removes even less material from the nail, leaving it largely healthy and intact with a smooth, scratch-free finish. If the nail is initially rough, it’s important to smooth it out with a medium grit first. 
  • Extra fine. An extra fine grit doesn’t remove material from the nail. Instead, it has a polishing effect that creates a very shiny look. It’s important to first prep the nail with a medium and then fine grit to remove any scratches prior to shining. 


  • Block. Block nail buffers usually have four sides to help with every type of manicure. They’re very convenient, although their thicker size can make them a little bulky to use. 
  • Board. Boards are usually the thinnest and most portable, although they often have fewer grit options as a result. They can be a little firmer, which means even low grit levels are a little more aggressive in practice. 
  • Foam. A spongy foam buffer is much less stiff, so it’ll be gentler on the nails. Even with a coarser grit level, it still a soft, smoothing effect. 


  • One. If you only intend to do one type of buffing, a one-sided buffer will suffice. Usually, these have either a fine or very fine grit. 
  • Two. A lot of board buffers only have two sides, usually offering fine and very fine grit levels. 
  • Three. Three-sided buffers will usually work well for complete buffing but without a side for filing. 
  • Four. Most four-sided buffers come in block form, with a coarse file as well as three levels of grits for buffing. 
  • Six. Six-sided buffers usually include a lot more in-between grit levels for thorough filing, smoothing, and polishing.


Are nail buffers good for your nails? 

Almost all nail buffers work by removing a certain amount of the nail plate’s surface, which isn’t necessarily good for the nails. As long as your nails are in good shape and you avoid buffing them aggressively, or too frequently, they should be safe to use. 

What do nail techs use to buff nails?

Nail techs often use the same nail buffing blocks you can use at home. In some cases, they may also use electric nail files, especially in order to buff or shape as part of a nail extension service. 

What grit of buffer is best for natural nails?

If you’re keeping your nails naturally glossy, look for buffers with fine and very fine grit. If you plan to use nail polish, a medium grit is useful for prepping your nails.

0 comment
0 FacebookTwitterPinterestEmail

If you’re looking for some nail inspiration to unleash your inner Barbie, why not try out these stunning pink metallic nail designs? These ideas will add a touch of glamour and sophistication to your overall look, making you feel like a true fashion icon. With a range of shades from blush to fuchsia, these pink metallic nails are perfect for any occasion. Whether you’re heading out for a night on the town or just want to add a pop of color to your everyday style, these ideas are sure to turn heads.

So why not experiment with some glitter, shimmer, and shine? Get creative and let your inner Barbie shine through with these fabulous pink metallic nail designs.

1. Barbie Chrome Nails

Metallic Pink Nail Ideas That Are Total Barbiecore Vibes

If you love ultra-high-shine pink nails, a simple chrome and metallic manicure is the way to go. Here, you can see just how stunning the futuristic nail application looks.

2. Velvet Dreams

Metallic Pink Nail Ideas That Are Total Barbiecore Vibes

There’s nothing as eye-catching as a velvet nail. Turn to this finish for your pink metallic nails to give your manicure an elevated look.


  • Chip-resistant
  • Dries in 60 seconds
  • Easy to remove
  • Long-lasting


  • Clumpy formula
  • Scratches easily

3. Muted Pastel

Metallic Pink Nail Ideas That Are Total Barbiecore Vibes

If glazed donut nails are your thing, may we introduce you to its softer pair: the muted pastel. These light, barely-pink nails with a glossy sheen make for a great neutral that matches almost anything.


  • Long-lasting
  • Chip-resistant
  • Offers exceptional coverage
  • Provides high-gloss shine
  • No formaldehyde and toluene


Takes a long time to dry

4. Shiny Aura

Metallic Pink Nail Ideas That Are Total Barbiecore Vibes

Barbie is all about good vibes. Give your aura nails the pink metallic treatment to give them that extra edge.


  • Non-toxic
  • Quick-dry formula
  • Chip-resistant
  • Vegan
  • Cruelty-free


5. Baby Pink Shimmer

Metallic Pink Nail Ideas That Are Total Barbiecore Vibes

A light baby pink shade is so delicate and dainty in the most fun way possible. Dress it up with a shimmer finish, and some added jewels that Barbie would most definitely approve of.


  • Salon-quality formula
  • Easy-to-glide brush
  • Flawless coverage
  • Glossy finish
  • Long-lasting
  • No formaldehyde and toluene


6. Finding A Unicorn

Metallic Pink Nail Ideas That Are Total Barbiecore Vibes

There’s just something whimsical about a playful mix of bright pink and yellow metallics. Like the mythical creature, turn to this combo for something unicorn-inspired.


  • High quality
  • Quick-dry formula
  • Long-lasting
  • High-gloss finish


  • Very thin formula
  • Average quality

7. Disco Fever

Metallic Pink Nail Ideas That Are Total Barbiecore Vibes

Created by Euphoria’s lead nail artist Natalie Minerva, these disco-inspired nails bring fun texture to your Barbiecore manis. It’s literally a party on your nails.

8. Gunmetal Magenta

Metallic Pink Nail Ideas That Are Total Barbiecore Vibes

If bright is what you’re aiming for, then this is your go-to look. A deep magenta with a bit of texture makes for one of the most stunning spins on Barbiecore nails.

9. Shiny Plastic

Metallic Barbiecore Nails

This neon pink shade is striking on its own. But the added metallic piece adds dimension to make it a more intricate nail design that will stop anyone in their tracks.

10. Wet Effect

Metallic Pink Nail Ideas That Are Total Barbiecore Vibes

How cool are these 3D details? Give your nails the “wet look” by adding some water droplets decals to a next-level mani.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Is glitter in nail polish metallic?

    Not always. The glitter in nail polishes is usually made from a plastic called polyester. However, nail polishes can contain metal in their composition.

  2. Are metallic nail polishes as safe as regular ones if it chips off and is accidentally ingested?

    Ingesting nail polish, metallic or not, is not healthy. Nail polishes usually contain a lot of chemicals and when ingested you are inviting a lot of chemicals into your body. However, if you ingest just a minimal quantity it is unlikely to cause any noticeable harm.

  3. How do you remove metallic nail polish?

    Soak a cotton ball with nail polish remover. Press it on one nail and hold it for 30-40 seconds and then gently wipe away the nail polish. Repeat it for all nails.

  4. How can you make regular nail polish look metallic?

    There are two ways you can make regular nail polish look metallic. You can use metallic nail powder to buff your nails with an eyeshadow applicator after applying regular nail polish. This will transform the finish from glittery to metallic. Apply a top coat to seal it. Another method is to use metallic acrylic powder with a solution of acrylic powder. For this method, paint your nails, dab the metallic powder, apply the solution and apply a top coat.

  5. Can you wear metallic nail polish in an MRI?

    Yes. It is best to remove your nail polish before you go into the MRI machine. Nail polishes, regardless of whether it’s metallic or not, can contain trace amounts of metals.

0 comment
0 FacebookTwitterPinterestEmail

Seasonal nail trends are a fun and exciting way to welcome the new season. With a quick scroll through social media, you may have noticed an increase in creators showing off some inspirational trends for the spring. Some feature unique designs to experiment with, while others stick to the sweet pastels and soft shades we’ve come to love for the warmer time of year.

We spoke to our favorite nail artist content creators to find out the current spring nail trends. Our experts agreed that experimenting with different styles and shades can help you find the perfect match for your personality. Without further ado, meet our experts and see some trends to remember (or screenshot) for your next manicure appointment.

Meet the content creators:

Soft Girl Spring

According to Reynolds, the “Soft Girl Spring” trend is so new that it’s open to being defined. The idea is to create a look using pastel colors, sheer finishes, and minimal art embellishments like chrome or sparkle. The trend, which involves simple nail art that can easily be achieved at home, is perfect for the spring because it touches on the classic and minimal nail trends we’ve seen in recent years. 

In need of weekend plans? Schedule an at-home spa day. During this self-care time, grab your prettiest pastel polishes and prepare to be a trendsetter by trying the “Soft Girl Spring” nail look. If you’re feeling adventurous, add a layer of glitter polish for extra sparkle!

Lip Gloss Nails

Purple nail polish

“Lip Gloss Nails” are glossy sheer nails that sometimes feature a subtle shimmer. Yaritza explained that the trend reflects the juicy lip glosses we all loved in the 2000s. 

While fall and winter nail trends lean towards darker hues, spring ushers in a hard transition to lighter shades. That’s why VanAusdal and Dee agree that “Lip Gloss Nails” are the perfect trend for spring. They offer a fresh start after the hectic holiday season full of glitz and glam. 

Reynolds noted that achieving the look requires no special techniques or skills, making it the perfect mani to try at home. To achieve the trend, apply a pale pink or nude polish as your base color. Add a second coat after the first one has dried. Use a detailer brush to ensure your application appears clean and neat. Lastly, apply a top coat with a high-shine finish to get the perfect glossy mani.

Spring floral designs

Colorful nail polish

With spring being the blooming season, there’s no question that florals are prevalent during this time of year. Floral nail designs are a great way to incorporate the beauty of flowers into your everyday look and can range from subtle and simple to bold and intricate. Whether you prefer dainty daisies or vibrant roses, there’s a floral nail design for everyone. 

‘70s swirls

Green 70s swirls nail polish
Purple 70s swirls nail polish

Want a funky new nail design? Try the ‘70s swirl nail designs that are gaining popularity on social media. Because of the nostalgia involved, the groovy trend is experiencing a huge comeback, along with the rise of thrift shopping for stylish and sustainable fashions. 

Dee revealed that she believes the popularity of the ‘70s swirls design is also influenced by the virtually limitless color combinations available for experimentation.

Futuristic chrome

Chrome nail polish

“Chrome nails are trending because of the famous people rocking the looks are trending,” Dee said. She credited Zola Ganzorigt, better known by her Instagram handle @NailsByZola, for the resurgence of the chrome nail trend because of her high-profile clientele who keep the trend at the top of our minds. 

Chrome nails saw its height last year, with many celebrities, including Dua Lipa, Zendaya, Rihanna, Kate Hudson, and Halle Bailey, putting their twists on the trend. The trend continues to surge this spring with brighter colors and unique designs.

Recreating high-shine chrome nails at home can be a bit messy to the loose chrome powder used to create the mirror-like look. To achieve the same eye-catching ability without the mess, try press-on nails. Tella Nails’ Candy chrome press-on is a fun way to add color to the trend. If you’re looking for a more subtle inclusion of chrome, try Lottie London’s new Lottie X Kimkim Stay Press’d, which features a groovy chrome design.

A floral finish

As you can see, there are plenty of fun nail trends to try at your next nail appointment. Use the new season to step outside your comfort zone and unlock your creativity by testing out one of these eye-catching designs for yourself.

0 comment
0 FacebookTwitterPinterestEmail

*The author generated this text in part with ChatGPT, OpenAI’s GPT-3 large language model. The content was reviewed, edited, fact-checked, and revised by our editorial team.

Gel manicures, whether done at home or in the salon, are a popular choice because they last longer than traditional mani-pedis and don’t chip as easily. However, when it comes time to remove them, it can be tough to do so without damaging your nails. But don’t worry — with a few simple steps and the right tools, you can safely remove your gel manicure at home and keep your nails looking healthy and in tip-top shape. 

Why is gel more damaging to your nails?

Gel manicures can be more damaging to your nails than traditional polish because they require filing and buffering before application. This can make the nails thinner and weaker. In addition, gel manicures are cured under UV light, which can cause the nails to dry out and become brittle over time.

The gel removal process can also be harsh on the nails because acetone is often used to remove the polish, drying out and weakening the nails. If you don’t remove the polish properly, the nails can rip off or become damaged. Excessive filing and buffing during removal can also further weaken the nails.

Another factor that can be harmful is leaving gel polish on for too long. Even though it’s more durable than traditional polish, it still needs to be removed and replaced every two to three weeks. 

Step-by-step guide for at-home gel removal

Removing gel polish, especially at home, isn’t easy. But following the steps below should help you get rid of your gel manicure as seamlessly as possible. 

Step 1: Gather your tools  

Grab a nail clipper, nail file, cotton balls, a plastic manicure stick, an acetone-based nail polish remover, and moisturizing hand cream. Why acetone, you may ask? It can dissolve the materials used to make the gel, such as the polymer in the polish, and breaks down the molecules for more effortless removal.

Acetone is also a strong degreaser and helps to remove any oil or dirt on your nails. This allows for a smoother surface for the next application. Pure acetone, however, can be extremely drying, so balancing it out with moisturizing ingredients is necessary.

Step 2: Clip, clip, clip

Once you have your tools, begin clipping your nails as short as possible. This will make removing the gel polish easier and prevent your nails from snagging on anything.

Step 3: File away

Next, use the nail file to file away the top layer of the gel polish gently, which will break up the surface, making it easier to remove the polish.

Step 4: Soak your nails in acetone

Saturate a cotton ball with the acetone-based nail polish remover and place one on top of each nail. Then, wrap your nails in aluminum foil to make sure the cotton ball stays in place. The foil will help trap the heat and create a warm environment to speed up the removal process.

Let your nails soak in the acetone for about 15-20 minutes, then slowly remove the foil and cotton balls. The plastic manicure stick can help push off the remaining polish. If the gel isn’t coming off easily at this point, you can leave your nails wrapped in the foil for a few more minutes.

Step 5: Smooth it out

Once you’ve managed to take off the polish, use a nail file to smooth out any rough edges and shape your nails how you like. You’ll then want to moisturize your nails with a hand cream or cuticle oil to hydrate them and prevent them from becoming dry and brittle.

Proceed with patience 

TL;DR? Removing gel manicures with as little damage as possible requires handling the process gently and with care. You don’t want to spend too much time buffing your nails in step 3, as it can be too aggressive and harsh. It’s also important that you avoid skipping the moisturizing tip, as this can help keep your nails strong, healthy, and hydrated. We also recommend taking breaks between gel manicures to give your nails some time to strengthen and recover.

0 comment
0 FacebookTwitterPinterestEmail

Our nails go through a lot. We get dirt under them in the garden, paint them with polishes or gel formulas, and even bite them when we’re nervous (oops). Nails protect our fingertips and can be part of our self-expression, so keeping them strong and healthy is good for you physically and mentally.

Nail strengtheners can offer beneficial ingredients to make the nails feel harder and look healthier. Learn how to use them for best results and when to give your nails a little extra care.

What’s nail strengthener?

Just like skin lotions and serums deliver hydration and beneficial ingredients to your skin, nail strengtheners deliver vitamins, minerals, and other health-boosting ingredients to your nails. Nail strengtheners are topical products that stimulate nail growth and prevent breakage. 

Some ingredients to look for in a nail strengthener include:

  • Hyaluronic acid. Your body naturally produces this hydration magnet, and it’s a common ingredient in skincare and some nail treatments. Hyaluronic acid is an effective solution for brittle nails.
  • Calcium. Your nails contain small amounts of calcium, and calcium deficiency is linked to some nail disorders. While you should get the calcium you need through your diet, there’s some evidence that nail polish can also deliver calcium to your nails.
  • Vitamins. Vitamins A, C, and E are important for nail health, and topical application may help fix brittle nails or discoloration.
  • Keratin. Your nails are made of a protein called keratin. The keratin in a nail-strengthening solution can bond to your nails’ natural keratin to help them feel firmer.

Does nail strengthener work?

Can a swipe of nail strengthener really make a difference to damaged nails? In some cases, yes. Some nail strengtheners boast a 77% increase in nail strength. Reviews on various products also suggest you can boost the look and feel of your nails with a little extra care. 

Nail strengtheners may work best if your nails are damaged because of external factors (like picking off gel polish even though you knew you shouldn’t). If there’s a deeper health concern, like nail fungus or a vitamin deficiency that causes brittle nails, a nail strengthener might not be enough to fix the underlying issue.

You can also get the best results using nail strengthener correctly. Some work more like a polish or base coat. You may need to put it on, remove it after several days as the ingredients wear off, and apply a fresh coat to allow your nails to continue getting the benefits. Other nail strengtheners come formulated as creams or serums for daily use. Check the instructions to see how often you should use your nail strengthener and whether it’s recommended for use over or under polish.

Can you use nail strengtheners on manicured nails?

manicured nails - what are nail strengtheners

A fresh mani can be a fun way to express yourself, but if you’re struggling with brittle nails, it can be helpful to go bare, at least for a little while. Giving your nails a break for a few days between manicures can help prevent discoloration and improve nail strength.

Most nail strengtheners work best when applied to clean, unpolished nails. Nail polish is a barrier between the strengthening formula and your nail, so you may get the ultimate effects by keeping the nail treatment as close to the nail as possible. Many nail strengtheners do work effectively under nail polish, so you can still get a cute new color while your nails soak in the stuff you need.

If you prefer gel manicures, check the nail strengthener instructions. Some work well under gel as well as classic manicures. There are even gel nail strengtheners that can work when applied on top of a gel mani.

When to see a doctor

Taking nail care into your own hands is a great place to start. But sometimes, your nails need more help than what your go-to strengthener can provide. Here are a few signs that you should call a dermatologist to keep your nails in tip-top shape:

  • Your nails appear discolored. Sometimes, discoloration can happen after a few dark-toned mani-pedis. But yellowed nails can also signify a fungal issue that needs medical attention. Greenish discoloration can mean you have a bacterial infection. And a dark streak under the nail could even be a warning sign to check for melanoma. Generally, if a nail’s changing color has nothing to do with OPI, call your doctor.
  • Your nails lift up. A nail that’s starting to detach from the nail bed can show white, blobby discoloration. Nails can lift from the bed because of infection, skin issues like psoriasis, or a manicure injury. A dermatologist can treat the infection or advise you on how to help the nail grow out smoothly.
  • Your nails have pits. Little dents or dimples like an orange skin can signal disease that goes past the tips of your fingers and could affect your whole body. A dermatologist can diagnose and treat health conditions like dermatitis or psoriasis.
  • Your nails get spoon-shaped. Nails that dip in the middle and feel thin can signal that you’re low on iron. Adjusting your diet may be more important for nail health (and feeling healthy overall) than a topical strengthening product.
  • Your nails thicken or stop growing. Some people are blessed with faster-growing nails than others, but if your nails seem to be growing slower than you’re used to, it can be a sign that something might be off internally. Thick nails can be a cue to get some medical attention to keep yourself healthy.

Strong nails start with healthy habits. See your doc, eat a nutritious diet, and swipe on a nail strengthener if your nails could use a vitamin boost to help keep them shiny and strong.

0 comment
0 FacebookTwitterPinterestEmail

Best Brown Nail Polish for 2022


Brown nail polish is too classic to ever go out of style. And people are more obsessed than ever with brown nail colors this fall. The earthy, dark-tone hue pairs well with any everyday look, from work wear to casual clothing. It’s not too loud a color to clash with your wardrobe, making it the ideal complementary shade for both daytime and evening attire. 

Several brands offer their own variations of rich brown polish, from OPI to ORLY. Here are some of our top picks for the best brown nail polish shades on the market this season.

Best brown nail polish overview:

How we chose the best brown nail polish

To compile this list, we researched manufacturer specifications, including ingredients, formula quality, and more, to create a short list of the top brown nail polish products. Then, we combed through detailed product descriptions, ratings, and reviews to find the best brown nail polish for each category.

Our picks for the best brown nail polish


Best overall

OPI Nail Lacquer in That’s What Friends Are Thor

  • Longwear formula
  • Made in the USA
  • Site offers virtual try-on feature

  • Slightly more expensive than its competitors

OPI’s That’s What Friends Are Thor is an earthy, rich natural brown color with a crème finish for added shine and depth. The brown nail polish’s autumn-esque vibe feels delightfully fall glam. OPI’s long-wear formulas have great chip resistance, ensuring manicures and pedicures last up to a whole week.

The USA-made polish is just a tad bit pricier than its competitors. However, the price makes sense given the fact that it’s high-quality. Before buying, use OPI’s “Find Your Match” feature, which allows you to try on the brand’s different shades virtually, including That’s What Friends Are Thor.

Size: 0.5 fl oz | Finish: Crème


Best budget

Sally Hansen Insta-Dri in Cinna-Snap

  • Long lasting
  • Fast-drying formula with base and top coat
  • Available at most drugstores

  • Requires multiple coats (otherwise, it streaks)
  • Not chip-resistant

Sally Hansen’s Insta-Dri formula is the most affordable option on our list. Unlike most polishes, it dries in just 60 seconds, speeding up the application process. If you’re always on the go, this polish is ideal for those last-minute manicures and pedicures. Many big-box retailers carry Insta-Dri, including Walmart, Target, Walgreens, and Rite Aid.

The Insta-Dri formula has 33% longer wear than previous formulas and features a base and top coat. Sally Hansen’s Cinna-Snap hue leaves you with a reddish-brown, shiny finish that resembles beautiful fall leave colors. The brand advertises this 3-in-1 formula as chip-resistant, but you might get a different result if you don’t follow its application instructions — Insta-Dri requires multiple coat applications in order to last longer. Otherwise, the polish could easily streak when you apply it or chip shortly after it dries.

Size: 0.31 fl oz | Finish: Glossy


Best longwear

Olive & June in CN

  • Provides excellent coverage
  • Has a gel-like finish
  • Free of 15 toxic chemicals

  • Polish might chip or look streaky if applied incorrectly

Another longwear polish, Olive & June CN, is a top choice for salon-quality manicures and pedicures. Each coat provides generous coverage with its gel-like finish. The fan-shaped brush that comes with each polish makes way for easy application. This longwear formula is also easy to remove when you’re due for a fresh coat.

CN is a vegan and cruelty-free formula free of 15 well-known toxic chemicals, including acetone and formaldehyde. Just make sure to follow the application instructions, as the polish might chip or look streaky if you don’t.

Olive & June’s SN shade is advertised as a silky, sable brown. However, the color appears darker on nails than it does in advertised images. If you want this polish to last even longer, you can purchase the brand’s glossy top coat polish and manicure system separately.

Size: 0.46 fl oz | Finish: Gel-like


Best quick-dry

Essie Expressie in Take The Espresso

  • Dries in 60 seconds
  • Angled brush contributes to simple and seamless self-application
  • 1-step formula

  • Formula isn’t chip-resistant

If you’re primarily concerned about a polish’s drying time, check out Essie Expressie’s Take The Espresso polish. This one-step formula dries in 60 seconds after applying it to your nails. The angled brush for this polish also speeds up the application process. On top of that, its coffee-color Take The Espresso hue makes for the perfect addition to your fall wardrobe.  

Essie Expressie’s formula might not be chip-resistant, but the vegan and eight-free formula contains no animal-derived ingredients or formaldehyde. If you use your hands a lot for work or daily activities, this might not be the polish for you since it chips easily. However, it is ideal for those on the go as it’s quick-drying.

Size: 0.33 fl oz | Finish: Glossy


Best nontoxic

ORLY in Prince Charming

  • Rich, brown hue
  • Glides smoothly onto your nails
  • A 13-free, vegan formula

  • Might chip without a top coat
  • Polish is slow-drying

Your nails are sensitive to toxic chemicals and ingredients, but ORLY’s 13-free, vegan formula excludes 13 nasty chemicals from the ingredient list. As the self-proclaimed originators of the French Manicure, ORLY continues to birth innovative collections with cutting-edge colors. Its Prince Charming hue has a royal brown, glossy finish that applies smoothly to your nails. 

Note that Prince Charming might chip without a top coat. ORLY’s nontoxic formula is also slow-drying, so it warrants additional patience when self-applying.

Size: 0.6 fl oz | Finish: Crème


Best vegan

Ella + Mila in London Fog

  • Vegan and animal cruelty-free
  • 17-free formula (free of 17 toxic ingredients)
  • Quick-dry polish with chip-resistance

  • Inaccurate color description

Finding vegan nail polish products used to be a challenge, but not anymore. Ella + Mila is a 17-free, vegan, and animal cruelty-free formula. Parabens and acetone are among the 17 ingredients that the formula omits. This polish is also both quick-drying and chip-resistant.

Although Ella + Mila advertises its London Fog hue as a chocolate brown, it comes out more like a greyish brown. You might not have this color-matching issue with this brand’s competitors, but if you’re looking for a true vegan formula, Ella + Mila is the one.

Size: 0.45 fl oz | Finish: Glossy


Best splurge

Chanel LE VERNIS in Clair De Lune

  • Designer brand
  • Longwear formula
  • Chip-resistant polish

  • Designer price tag (expensive)

Chanel’s nail-strengthening LE VERNIS polish makes for a sound investment if you care more about quality and less about price. The carefully selected golden brown pigment, Claire De Lune, offers stellar coverage with a beautiful metallic finish.

LE VERNISH is a long-lasting formula. Since it’s highly chip-resistant, you can get away with wearing a manicure or pedicure for more extended periods. However, this polish is expensive, which is no surprise given the weight of the Chanel name.

Size: 0.4 fl oz | Finish: Metallic

Nailing down our number one brown

Different nail polish products offer great versatility within formula and color variety. Some polishes dry faster, while others last longer. Brown colors range from light to dark on the color spectrum. The OPI That’s What Friends Are Thor polish impressed us with its longwear formula and rich brown hue.

How to pick the right brown nail polish for you

Finding the ideal nail polish requires a deeper look into the product’s ingredients and formula quality. Make a note of these important factors when you’re deciding on a brown polish.


  • Toxic chemicals. Brands indicate which ingredients they don’t use in their products. Seeing “10-free” means that that brand’s products are free of 10 well-known toxic chemicals.
  • Finish. Typical polish finishes include glossy, matte, and metallic. Choose a glossy finish for shinier nails. Matte finishes result in a more classic, minimal look. If you really want to stand out, go for a metallic finish. 

Formula Quality 

  • Longwear. If a polish is chip-resistant or lasts for a minimum of one week, the polish most likely has a longwear formula. This means that you’ll enjoy longer wear with your manicures and pedicures.
  • Quick-dry formula. These formulas typically dry within a matter of seconds after application.
  • Color quality. Brown hues range from light to dark. Higher-quality polish formulas tend to have richer color hues that closely match what you see in advertisements when applied to your nails.


What’s the most popular nail color of 2022? 

We chose the OPI That’s What Friends Are Thor polish as the 2022 winner with its rich brown hue and longwear formula. 

When can you wear brown nail polish?

Brown nail polish is a classic color that never really goes out of style. You can wear it year-round in various shades.

Are brown nails in style?

Yes. Brown nails are a classic look that never goes out of style, but brown nails are especially trendy for fall 2022.

0 comment
0 FacebookTwitterPinterestEmail

20 Nail Polish Colors For Your Wedding Day


It’s your big day and you want to look as stunning as ever. You’ve finally picked out your wedding dress, chosen what makeup style you’d like, and it’s time to decide on the best bridal nail polish. Wedding nail polish colors 2022 are classic with a touch of exquisiteness. So, before you decide on your wedding day nail polish color, here are a few wedding nail polish ideas to help you visualize how beautiful your bridal nails would be.


Pink and white ombre

Via: Shutterstock – Bridal nail polish


Classic white tones wedding nail polish

Via: Paintbox – Bridal nail polish


Gold accent bridal nail polish

Via: Paintbox – Bridal nail polish


Colorful ombre bridal nails

Via: Shutterstock – Bridal nail polish


Glitter ombre nails

Via: Shutterstock – Bridal nail polish


Dusty blue and glittery silver

Via: Color Bridesmaids – Bridal nail polish


Metallic French nail polish


Platinum eclipse nail polish


Gold French nail polish


White French manicure

Via: Style Glamour – Bridal nail polish


Nude with gold accents

Via: Style Glamour – Bridal nail polish


Pastel pink nail

Via: Stay Glamour – Bridal nail polish


Matte pastel pink wedding nails

Via: Glamour – Bridal nail polish


Nude wedding nails with gold rhinestones

Via: Glamor – Bridal nail polish


Bright red wedding nails

Via: Style Glamor – Bridal nail polish


Burgundy matte nail polish with gold rhinestones

Via: InStyle – Bridal nail polish


Burgundy gold nail polish


Wedding blue nail polish

Via: society – bridal wedding nails


Kate Middleton’s wedding nail polish: Essie’s Allure

Kate Middleton’s wedding nail polish


Megan Markle’s wedding nail polish: Essie’s Ballet Slippers

Via: The SUN


Further reading:

Shortened link

0 comment
0 FacebookTwitterPinterestEmail

Shiny, strong, and long-lasting… who doesn’t love gel nails? The best part is that you can get your own gel manicure at home if you want to. It’s a more involved process than simply painting your nails, but once you get good at it, your nails can always be shellacked to perfection. If you’re particularly ambitious, you can even try doing your own sculpted gel extensions at home!

You’ll have to pick up some essential tools first, but once you have everything, you can save yourself hundreds of dollars a year by doing your own gel manicure! To get you started, we’ve put together the most comprehensive guide imaginable for gel polish, poly gel extensions, and regular gel extensions. We included tips on what products to buy, a step-by-step guide, as well as some important troubleshooting tips.

In this article:

What You’ll Need to Do Your Own Gel Manicure

Gel nails are a little different from regular nail polish. The polish is made of polymers and monomers that bind and harden only after they’re exposed to UV light. Because of that, you need to have a light source, the special nail polish, as well as a few other must-have manicure tools.

We highly recommend purchasing a gel nail kit, like the Gel Polish Pro Kit from Red Carpet Manicure. The kit includes an LED lamp designed specifically to cure gel nail polish, a red LED nail polish, a base coat, a topcoat, a polish remover, a pre-manicure cleaning solution, an adhesion-improving nail dehydrating liquid, and cuticle oil.

Alternatively, you can always purchase an LED light and nail polishes separately, along with an acetone-based polish remover, isopropyl alcohol, and a special gel base coat, and a topcoat. 

Finally, you’ll also need a few tools just to help you achieve a great manicure! These include a nail buffer, cotton swabs, cotton pads, and maybe even a cuticle remover if you want to go all out.

Doing Your Own Gel Nails Step-By-Step

Once you have all of your tools prepared, it’s time to get started! Get situated somewhere comfortable, and maybe put on a TV show in the background. If you’re doing your own nails, we recommend working on one hand at a time. If you have a friend to help you, however, you can speed up the process by having them paint one hand while the other is in the lamp. 

  1. Clean and Shape

    You want to start every manicure by first washing your hands (and even soaking them in warm water) and filing them into a shape that you like. If you wish, you can also push back your cuticles or use a cuticle remover.

  2. Buff

    Then, your next move should be to rough up your nails a little with one of the medium-rough sides of a nail buffer (usually called side 2 or 3). You’ll want to buff the nail plate directly until the natural shine is gone from your nail. Don’t buff so much that you damage the nail but just enough so the gel polish has a textured surface that it can grip. 

  3. Prep

    With your nails cleaned and shaped, you still need to do a little more prep. Any oil, dust, or dirt on your nails is going to create a gap that can cause your gel nails to slide off or chip later on. Using isopropyl alcohol or an adhesion enhancer, wipe down your nails to make sure they’re totally clean and dry. 

  4. Base Coat

    Next, apply a very thin layer of your base coat to each nail. Be very careful not to get any of the base coat on your skin or on your cuticles, as that can hurt the seal over your nails. If you do get some on your cuticles, wipe it off with a cotton swab.

  5. Cure

    With all of the nails on one hand covered in base coat, place your hand into the LED lamp, and allow that layer to cure for 30-60 seconds, depending on your lamp.

  6. Paint

    Once your base is cured, you can now paint the nails! Make sure there isn’t too much polish on your brush, and slowly apply the polish from base to tip. Aim for a thin layer. It’s okay if the polish is a little see-through in that first layer.

    Gently apply the polish to the tips of your nails, as well (but don’t wrap it around to the underside of the nail). You may want to switch to a dotting tool or a smaller nail brush for this part since the nail polish brush can be a little big and messy.

    Be very careful not to get any of the polish on your cuticles or nail bed. If you do, wipe it off with a cotton swab or with a small nail polish brush dipped in alcohol or acetone (although if using acetone, be extra careful that it doesn’t disrupt your polish).

  7. Cure and Apply Second Layer

    Cure your hands under your LED lamp. Depending on the shape of the lamp, you may want to cure your thumb separately, and you might even want to do a second cure with your hand in a claw shape to properly harden the tips.

    Once that’s done, apply your second coat of polish in the same manner as you did the first and cure again. If you think that the color of the polish isn’t opaque enough, you can do a third coat and then cure that third coat, as well.

  8. Topcoat

    Finally, with all of that out of the way, you can do a final layer of topcoat. Apply the topcoat as you did the base coat and nail polish, and make sure to also apply it over the painted tips. Cure that topcoat. When you take it out of the lamp, you’ll notice that the gel is a little sticky.

    Using a cotton pad soaked in alcohol or a post-manicure cleansing liquid, wipe down the nail to remove the stickiness. That’s all there is to it! You can now move on to your other hand.

Gel Nails at Home Tutorial

Doing Your Own Sculpted Gel Nail Extensions

The world of DIY gel manicures isn’t just limited to gel polish. It requires a bit more effort and some special tools, but if you’re very handy, you can even do your own gel nail extensions at home.

What You’ll Need

To do your own gel nail extensions, you’ll need a lot of the same equipment that’s used in gel polish manicures. That includes an LED light, a nail buffer, isopropyl alcohol, disposable cotton pads, and swabs.

You’ll also need the gel that’s used to create the nail extensions, as well as a brush to apply it, its various primers, bases, and topcoats, and any gel polish colors or nail art accessories.

Poly Gel is one convenient option that comes in a tube and is often available in a larger kit with the LED and all the other must-haves.

There are also individually sold tubes of self-leveling gel that are more similar to what professionals use in the salon, although they must be purchased along with a special acid-free primer for extensions, as well as a base and topcoat.

If you purchase a larger kit, it’ll come with dual forms, which are nail-like plastic molds used to shape the nail extension from the outside. This saves you some effort sculpting, filing, and buffing the nail, so it’s great for beginners. 

Professionals prefer disposable sticker nail forms, which allow them to brush and shape the gel directly over the nail. This means that the outer part of the nail extension then has to be filed down and basically sculpted to achieve a smooth, nail-like look. The benefit is that the gel extensions adhere better to the nails and are less likely to lift or fall off. We’ll explain how to do both methods in our step-by-step guide.

Step 1: Clean, Shape, and Buff

No matter what kind of gel you’ll be using, the first part of your process should be to prep your nails. Just as with the prep of gel polish, your nails need to be clean and dry, with the cuticles pushed back or trimmed.

With gel extensions, it’s even more important that you rough up the nail plate a little with a file, as otherwise, your gel extensions are going to have a much harder time adhering to your nails.

Once you do that, your nails will be covered in a fine layer of nail dust, which you can wipe away with alcohol.

Step 2: Primer and Base Coat

With many gel nail kits, you may have a primer you need to apply first, before the base coat. The primer is an additional drying/alcohol-removing step, so if you have it, apply it lightly and only to the nail plate. Be careful not to let it touch your cuticles. Next, apply a thin layer of your base coat, and cure it in your LED lamp.

Step 3: Nail Forms

Now is the fun part, working with your nail forms! If you’re using a dual form (i.e. a plastic mold), all you need to do is pick up the correct sizes for each one of your nails. Hold the form over your nail, and make sure that it fits perfectly without leaving any gaps.   

If you have sticky nail forms, you need to grab the form and fold it a little, so it’s rounded. Then, slip your finger through its hole and make sure its end extends from just below your natural fingertip. Give it a firm press, so it rolls into a claw-like shape and so that the sides adhere to the sides of your finger.

Step 4: (Option #1) Applying Poly Gel to Dual Forms

Compared to what the professionals use, Poly Gel is a little thicker, but it’s otherwise very similar. Here’s how to create your extensions with it, using solid dual forms.

  • Pour a bit of alcohol (it’s called Slip Solution in the Beetles Kit we linked to above) into a shallow bowl.
  • Squeeze out a pea-sized amount of the gel directly onto your dual form. You might need less for very short extensions, or you can add more if you decide you want longer nails.
  • Dip your brush into the alcohol, and use it to start moving the gel around the dual form to create a nail shape. Make sure to use the brush that came with your kit, as it’ll be firm enough to work with the Poly Gel.
  • Gently push the gel around until you achieve your desired length, attempting to keep the width relatively thin.
  • Make sure not to leave any gaps in the form or along the sides and that it looks nice and smooth from below.
  • Once the shape looks neat, you can gently push the form directly against your nail, bringing it as close to the cuticle as you can.
  • Once you like your placement, push down on the form gently. Don’t overdo it, or the gel will squeeze out from the sides and get on your cuticles.
  • If the tip is looking a little too thick on the inside, use your alcohol-dipped brush to smooth the excess gel upwards to get a thinner tip. It’ll make the nail a little longer, but you can always file it down later.
  • If any of the gel did squeeze out from the sides, clean it away with your brush and alcohol.
  • Now you’re ready to cure it! Place your finger, along with the dual form, under the lamp.
  • Once fully cured, you can gently remove the form from the gentle. It should come off easily. If it doesn’t, cure the nail for a little longer.

Poly Gel kits are usually sold with hard dual forms, which is why this is the method we explain. You can also use Poly Gel with sticky nail forms, mostly following the process in the next section. The only difference is that you would need to dip your brush in alcohol to move the Poly Gel around since it’s not as fluid as self-leveling gel.

How to Do Gel Manicure at Home

Step 4: (Option #2) Applying Self-Leveling Gel to Nail Forms

This is the preferred pro technique, and while it requires a lot more finesse, many find that it gives more long-lasting and better-looking extensions. To see this process in action, check out this video from Nail Career Education.

  • To start, simply dip your brush in your tube of gel, and remove a pea-sized amount of product. Smooth the gel over your nail, starting slightly above the cuticle.
  • Since the gel is self-leveling, it will be easy to slowly and gently push it down closer to the cuticle, while if you bring it in too close right at the start, it’ll end up seeping into or over the cuticles instead.
  • Gently spread the gel over your nail plate in small, circular, or side-to-side motions, making sure to achieve complete coverage all over the nail plate.
  • Pick up more gel with your brush, and bring over the natural tip of the nail so you can start building the extension over the nail form.
  • Using dragging or back and forth motions, coax the gel gently over the nail form until it reaches slightly past your desired length. Remember that it doesn’t need to be too perfect since you’ll be filing and refining it later on. 
  • Once you have a smooth, not overly thick layer that you’re pretty happy with, cure the gel in the lamp (the amount of time depends on the kind of gel you have).
  • After curing, add more gel as necessary to build up the strength, refine your shape, and fill in any gaps.
  • Cure that second layer.
  • Now you can move on and work on your other fingers, following the same process nail by nail.

Step 5: Filing Time

With all of your nails built, attached, and cured, you’ll now want to file them. Before you just get into that, though, wipe them down with some alcohol to remove the sticky top layer. You may also want to put on a face mask to avoid inhaling the acrylic dust, although this is primarily a risk for nail techs who are at risk of breathing in the acrylic dust all day long.

Then, with a regular nail file, begin filing. With Poly Gel nails, the outer part will already be smooth and shiny, so you just need to file the edges to get them into a shape you like.

With traditional gel, start by smoothing out the outer part of the gel nails, as necessary. Always keep the file moving, and concentrate on keeping your motions rounded, so that the file is always on a diagonal angle against the nail. What’s important is that you don’t have any “shiny” spots where you missed filing altogether since those are signs of uneven pockets. If those pockets are too deep, you can add more gel and cure them again to fill them.

Then, file the tips of the extensions to achieve the shape you’d like, just as you would if you were filing regular nails. Finally, you can do a smoothing buff to achieve a nice finish.

Step 6: Topcoat

Finally, with your nails beautifully buffed, apply a topcoat to seal everything in and add a beautiful shine. You can also apply a coat of gel polish first if you want to change up the color of your extensions. Either way, make sure to cure each layer of gel polish or topcoat, as you would in a gel polish manicure.

If you opt for just a topcoat, you can always play around with regular nail polish colors. You can even switch ‘em up and keep your extensions intact by making sure to only remove them with acetone-free nail polish remover. With your gorgeous extensions in place, finish things off with a nice layer of hand cream or cuticle cream to give your nail bed a little bit of love.

Gel Manicure at Home Tutorial

DIY Gel Nail FAQ

Can I Use Regular Nail Polish with a Gel LED Lamp?

There’s a hack some DIY fans like to do, where they first apply their gel base coat, cure it, apply a regular nail polish, and then apply a gel topcoat. By sandwiching the regular nail polish between the gel base and topcoats, they hope to end up with a long-lasting gel manicure using a color that they don’t own in a gel format.

This method can sort of work, but it has some issues. There’s the potential that your nail polish won’t be completely dry before you apply that final gel topcoat (nail polish doesn’t dry completely for 24 hours, even if it seems dry). So, if you do everything in one day, you end up sealing in partially wet nail polish. This can end up lasting even less time than a regular manicure!

However, if you wait a full day to allow your regular nail polish to dry, applying a gel coat a day after may give you a slightly longer manicure than normal, although don’t expect the longevity of a full gel manicure. 

Can I Use My LED Lamp with Any Gel Polish?

Yes and no! The well-known, mainstream brands like CND, OPI, and Sally Hansen formulate their gel nail polishes to cure completely when used in conjunction with their lamps.

In a professional salon setting, a great manicurist is going to make sure that the light they’re using is designed to work with the nail polish. This is because a pro can’t afford to have any issues with curing!

When it comes to using a lamp at home, you can have a bit more freedom to experiment since faster chipping won’t be a disaster. While you’ll probably get the best results with matching sets, you may discover that your LED lamp still cures polishes from a different brand, but that perhaps you have to extend the curing time.

Troubleshooting: Why Is My Gel Polish Wrinkling or Peeling?

There are some common pitfalls to doing your own gel nails. Maybe the polish seems to wrinkle and slide off or peel. Here are the reasons why these issues may occur and what you need to do to avoid them the next time.


If your nail polish seems to bunch up or wrinkle a few hours after you’ve finished doing your nails, chances are you applied the polish too thickly. Because of that, the gel doesn’t manage to cure completely, and it slides down a little to form a wrinkle. This can be a problem since the wrinkled layer is weak, and it’ll peel away easily. Next time, just be careful to apply it in thinner layers.


Gel polish can sometimes start peeling in patches or even in one single layer, way before you’re ready for it to come off. This is usually a sign of inadequate prep. Maybe your nails were too smooth, and you didn’t buff them enough. Some people choose to buy an electric nail file, which does an even better job of roughing up the nails, although it can also be more damaging.  

Another issue might be that you had some acetone on your nails, which can disrupt the polish and prevent adhesion. That’s why we recommend cleaning the nails with alcohol at the start. 

Another potential issue is that you didn’t clean your nails enough, and there was still oil residue on them when you got started. Alternatively, maybe you touched your skin or hair after cleaning them, which ruined all that hard work of cleaning.

Photos via @imarninails, Instagram

0 FacebookTwitterPinterestEmail

How to Remove Fake Nails Safely at Home


Removing fake nails safely and correctly is a bit of a process, but it’s an important one. Nail extensions aren’t as damaging to the nails as many people think. More often than not, any trauma to the nails happens during the removal process if it’s done the wrong way.

At home, it can be tempting to just try and pull the nails off, but that’s just about the worst thing you can do. Many of the hacks you can find on YouTube or TikTok are also very damaging. Instead, follow our process to take off your nail extensions but keep your nails happy and strong.

This method will work with all kinds of nail extensions, including acrylics and sculpted gel, so don’t worry if you can’t get back to the salon for professional removal. You can do this from the comfort of your own home, with your favorite TV show on in the background.

In this article:

What You’ll Need to Remove Fake Nails Safely

Before you start trying to get your fake nails off, you need to make sure you have all the necessary tools for the process. Here are the basic essentials:

Removing Nail Extensions at Home

Once you have everything ready, follow the steps below to remove your nail extensions without causing any damage to your natural nails.

  1. File Down or Clip the Tip

    Once you’re ready to start the removal process, your first step is to remove the tips. If your extensions are medium-length, you can just file them down with the most textured side of your nail file. This will be the gentlest option that’ll put the least amount of pressure on your natural nails.

    If your nail extensions are very long, you can save yourself some time by clipping off the tips instead. A toenail clipper is actually great for this since it’ll be stronger than a typical nail clipper. 

    Improper clipping can pull on the nail bed a little bit, so here’s how to do it gently. Never clip the tip in one go, creating a straight line, as that’s just too much pressure all once. Instead, clip twice, holding the clipper on an angle as though you’re trying to clip your extensions into a pointy stiletto. This redirects the pressure and breaks off the tip more gently. You can even clip in many small, rounded motions if you want to be extra gentle.

  2. File Down the Surface of the Extension

    Once your extensions are clipped, you now need to deal with their surface. Your nail extensions are probably covered in some sort of protective polish or topcoat, and you need to break that down so that the acetone can penetrate inside them.

    Using the roughest grain on your nail file, file over the surface of the nail extension. You may want to put on a face mask since this can get a little dusty. You’ll want to do this until the entire surface of the nail extension loses its sheen and looks properly filed, which will take at least a minute or two per nail.

    You can actually remove the entire extension just by filing (this is what many salons do, just using an electronic file). However, we don’t recommend doing it at home if your nails are brittle since you can accidentally file your actual nail plate.

  3. Do an Acetone Soak

    Next, you’ll want to soak your nail extensions with acetone, so you’ll also need your foil and cotton balls. Acetone is a strong solvent that can even break down acrylics, although it’s a slow process.

    If you haven’t done so yet, tear the foil into strips that you’ll be able to wrap around your nails. Then, soak a cotton ball in acetone, place it over the nail extensions. Before any acetone has a chance to evaporate, wrap your fingertip with foil. The foil will prevent the acetone from evaporating, guaranteeing that it seeps in and saturates the acrylic.

    Once you’ve done this to all of your nails, wait for around 12-15 minutes.

  4. Pry a Little

    Once enough time passes, remove the first foil tip and cotton ball, and check on your extension. It may simply pop off as you do this. If it doesn’t, use a cuticle pusher to gently pry at the bottom of the extensions, near the base of the nail. Never attempt to pull on the extensions from above!

    Your nail extensions should slide off easily, so you can repeat the process with the rest of your nails.

    If pushing with the cuticle pusher doesn’t immediately remove the extension, soak your cotton ball with a bit more acetone and wrap it up again for 3 more minutes or so. With enough time soaking, the extensions will eventually slide off.

  5. Do Some Buffing

    Even once all of your extensions are removed, there is still a little more work to do! There might still be some glue, base coat, or residue on your nail plate that you need to remove. A lot of it might come off with a bit of pushing with your cuticle pusher.

    Whatever doesn’t can be buffed away with one of the finer grains on your nail file. Buff your nail plate gently until all of the residue is gone but without damaging your natural nails.

  6. Give Your Nails Some TLC

    That’s it! Your nails will probably feel a little dry from all of the acetone, so you’ll need to bring them back to life. You can rinse any dust or acetone remnants from your hands and finish off with a healthy layer of cuticle oil or thick hand cream to restore some much-needed moisture. Finally, you can also add a layer of nail strengthener to further protect your nails.

How to Remove Nail Extensions Safely at Home

Fake Nail Removal Dos & Don’ts

We’ve explained the fake nail removal process in its entirety, but we have a few extra tips and reminders to make sure to keep your nails healthy.

  • If you live in a very cold climate, consider warming up your acetone first by placing the bottle in a hot water bath. This will help it work quickly, so you don’t have to sit with your nails soaking for too long.  
  • Always remember to avoid pulling on your nail extensions. If, at any point in the process, you feel like you need to pull, it just means you either haven’t filed or haven’t soaked your extensions enough.
  • Don’t trust the strange hacks on the Internet! There are videos online of people removing their nail extensions with floss, but just like pulling on the nails, this can be very damaging.
  • If your skin is dry, you can actually apply some hand cream or even Vaseline only to your nail bed (careful not to get it on your nails) before starting the entire process to protect your skin and cuticles from the acetone.

Photos via @imarninails, Instagram

0 FacebookTwitterPinterestEmail
Newer Posts