2024 Beauty Awards

The Best Nail Products For An At-Home Manicure

From polishes to cuticle oils.

Written by Bustle Staff
Caroline Wurtzel/Bustle; Stocksy; Product Images Courtesy of Brands

As much as we love our time at the nail salon — especially when we’re in search of intricate nail art or attempting to recreate whichever mani Hailey Bieber is currently sporting on her tips — nothing beats having a top-tier nail set-up at home. Whether you’re looking to pamper and polish your nails or switch up your signature manicure, there’s a bevy of new launches this year that can help you upgrade your manicure kits to pro-level status — and we tried and tested them all to report on the best. While we won’t be forsaking the salon anytime soon, having these ingenious creations in our stash helps make everything from a simple polish change to recreating the latest nail art trends a snap.

From expert-designed press-ons that are easy on and easy off (really!) to a nail strengthener that will have your tips feeling diamond-tough, keep reading for Bustle’s best nail products of the year.

Best Solid Nail Polish

Can nail polish actually be good for your nails? Nailberry says yes. With its toxin-free formulas and patented oxygenated technology, all Nailberry lacquers are “breathable” to keep nails looking and feeling healthier. This semi-sheer sage green was one our judges kept coming back to as an updated take on neutral nails that was anything but basic. Guest judge and celebrity nail artist Hang Nguyen calls this “a gorgeous shade of mint green” that gives “great coverage” with an “easy brush application.”

Best Metallic Nail Polish

It was love at first swipe for our judges with this mesmerizing beauty from Mooncat. A dark chocolate lacquer absolutely packed with warm brown shimmer, this highly-pigmented polish is long wearing and goes on in just one smooth coat for intense sparkle that you’ll catch yourself staring at throughout the day. “The color has an element of art and sheen to it that’s not like your average opaque nail varnish,” says Ngueyn. Celebrity nail artist Coca Michelle agrees, saying the lacquer has a 10/10 consistency and opaque finish.

Best Hand Cream

Nécessaire has done it again with this fast-absorbing, non-greasy hand cream infused with skin-care ingredients. Housed in the brand’s signature sleek white packaging, it features five ceramides, five peptides, niacinamide, marula butter, and marula oil to not only moisturize your hardworking hands, but help rebuild your skin’s barrier. It also treats volume loss and brittle cuticles for revitalized, softer hands every time you hydrate — and it’s fragrance free and hypoallergenic. “It left my hands feeling moisturized, but not sticky,” says Michelle. “As someone with sensitive skin, the product didn’t irritate my skin!”

Best Press-Ons

Press-on nails have never been easier — or more stylish — thanks to the nail pros at Paintbucket. Our favorite NYC nail salon has created a foolproof press on that comes in a variety of styles and colors that are great for newbies and experts alike. Each kit comes with easy on and easy off gel tabs or nail glue, so you can opt for a quick-change mani or something more long-lasting. “Thiese press-ons are so chic, looked very close to my real nails, and were comfortable to wear,” says Xue.

Best Nail Polish Remover

Sick of polish remover that leave your nails feeling parched? Switch out your usual polish remover for this hydrating option from dermatologist-founded brand Dr. Dana. With plant-based ingredients and the expertise of a skin expert with 20 years of experience studying nail health, it ditches the harsh acetone in favor of gentle-yet-effective botanicals like grapefruit peel oil and rosemary leaf extract to safely dissolve away polish without damaging the nails. Even the darkest of hues don’t stand a chance against this citrusy smelling remover, which also helps condition and moisturize the nails and cuticles. “This is a great product that quickly removes polish without dehydrating nails,” says Nguyen.

Best Cuticle Treatment

Give your parched cuticles what they’ve been craving with this decadent nail oil from gitti. The nourishing treatment comes in a bi-phase formula that features plant oils, glycerin, biotin, and vitamin E to deeply condition the nail plate and help even the driest and most destroyed cuticles recover from damage. With a surprisingly non-greasy and fast-absorbing formula, dab it on your nails twice a day, massage it in, and let the comforting formula go to work to rescue weak nails and cracked cuticles.

Best Nail Strengthener

Strengthen and safeguard weak, brittle nails with this paint-on protective coat from CND. It works on two levels, providing a superficial smoothing effect to fill in ridges on the nail’s surface while also protecting and fortifying the nail. It uses celery seed extract and camellia flower seed oil to strengthen, smooth, and condition weak nails over time. The breathable formula is water and oxygen permeable, so it provides layers of protection to splitting and peeling nails without smothering them in the process. “This is amazing for nail repair for thin and brittle nails,” says Nguyen, who also loves it for applying “easily and smoothly.”

Best Top Coat

All of our testers fell in love with these special-effect top coats from Sally Hansen — you get a gel-like finish and wear without the need for a UV light. The unique top coats create a new spin on your favorite colors by adding effects like a textured sugar coating, glazed pearl, unicorn shimmer, glitter, and more. You can mix and match them to create unique nail art creations, or wear them on bare nails for a subtle twist to your natural nail look.