9 Nail Care Products That Are Essential To The Perfect Manicure, Whether You Think You Have The Time To Use Them Or Not

Before getting acrylic nails, my knowledge on essential nail care products was limited to washing my hands and taking off chipped polish when it was so far gone that I just wasn't able to deal with it anymore. Once I realized the true disasters caused by false nails, I took it upon myself to research anything and everything I could do to help my natural nails.

On one hand, there's always the option of taking supplements to achieve perfect cat claw vibes or even just opt for a no-mani lifestyle without ever even using polish. But on the other, if you had all the nail care products necessary for a perfect mani every time, you could add to your home salon and save money on professional manicures. It's a win, win.

Plus, in my opinion, nail care is really underrated. Probably because they keep growing and that's a constant that I can rely on in my often chaotic life, but I never thought that my nails could use their own lotions and potions that I apply lovingly to the rest of my body. I'm so sorry, nails, that I never took proper care of you until my twenties. (Though TBH, I should probably stop getting acrylic nails if I cared that much.) Now that I know better, I promise I'll treat you better.

1. Base Coat

Precision Nail Treatment: Strengthening Base Coat, $6, Precisionnaillacquer

A good base coat will protect your nails from being stained by your nail varnish. "It might take you some extra time, but it gives the colored polish something to adhere to, making your manicure last a couple of extra days longer, and it prevents staining on your nails from pigmented paint," nail pro Simcha Whitehill said to Cosmopolitan. From using this one for years, I know the Precision treatment covers not just colour protection, but also strengthens your nails.

2. A Curved Nail File

Stylfile Mani Pro, $16, A mazon

You probably already have a nail file, but I can say from experience that a curved nail file is simpler and easier to use, as well as following the natural shape of your nail to avoid any major mess ups — IMHO, this tool is essential to the perfect mani. The Stylefile Mani Pro was invented by a winner of UK Apprentice , Tom Pellereau. The mani pro isn't just curved but offers a variety of tools to improve your nails in way more ways than your previous file gave you.

3. Cuticle Pusher

Cuticle Pusher, $7, Amazon

These always used to come in those weird nail kits you get off an aunt you don't really know for Christmas and I had no idea what they were for! According to WebMD, if you push back your cuticles regularly, then your nails will keep clean, healthy, and even prettier than usual. This is also much better for you than cutting your cuticles, according to pro manicurist Tom Bachik. For only $1, you couldn't really complain about wasting money anyway, but this tool is actually amazing — its star heavy reviews online prove it.

4. Hand Cream

Dream Cream, $40, Amazon

The secret to healthy nails? Healthy hands! Dry, peeling skin around your nails can affect not just how you feel about your hands, but the health of your nails too. Dream Cream from LUSH is actually also really well known for helping eczema sufferers (any excuse for a baby video) — LUSH even markets it as a product to ease eczema, due to all the customer reviews.

Lemon Butter Cuticle Cream, $6, Amazon

To get more specific, instead of solely investing in hand cream, you could also buy cuticle cream to really care for your nails. This cuticle cream has won awards for what an excellent job it does at keeping your cuticles moisturized and healthy.

6. Cuticle Oil

Almond Nail & Cuticle Oil, $12, Amazon

If creams just aren't your thing, cuticle oils are an option that does the same job — both work well for strengthening cuticles and your nails.

7. Nail Strengthening Polish

Sally Hansen Advanced Hard As Nails Strengthener, (pack of 3) $14, Amazon

This stuff works wonders — I always keep some handy for post-acrylic recovery! Giving your nails a rest from all polishes might sound like a good idea but giving them this Sally Hansen treatment is an even better one. Unlike regular polishes which are for colour purposes, this is specifically designed to strengthen your nails and going from personal experience as well as excellent reviews, it works!

8. Anti-Chew Treatment

Bite It Nail Treatment, $14, Amazon

Keep your teeth away from your nails by using this cheap and simple treatment to check yourself before you wreck yourself. This liquid formula can go over clean nails or polished nails and only needs to be applied twice a week, the invisible but the seriously strong, unpleasant taste will quickly make you stop biting your nails. With almost 70 percent of reviews on Amazon giving this product five stars, it has to be a winner, right?

9. Good Nail Clippers

Power Nail Clipper, $8, Amazon

Good nail clippers should be sharp and strong enough to cut your nail without damaging the nail. Nail clippers are considered better than scissors by Leighton Denny, a UK based nail expert with his own range of nail tools told Men's Health that clippers are healthier for nails than scissors. “Clippers are better as they are designed for shorter nails. Scissors can cause damage to the nail which may make it peel and split.”

Nail care may seem like an extravagance or a chore, but having perfect nails without having to pay for a manicure ever is worth any extra time spent on them at home.

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