Elle Woods had it right: When the going gets tough, the tough retreat to the nearest nail salon for a mood-boosting manicure. But thanks to the industry’s ever-evolving technology and endlessly improving formulas (especially on the clean beauty front), it’s easier than ever to get professional, salon-quality results right at your own bathroom counter. In today’s world, your manicure is an easy way to signal something about your personality, your current tastes, favorite colors, designs, motifs, and characters — there’s a reason nail art’s as popular as it’s ever been — and the year’s best new nail products lay the foundation for all of it. Plus, they’re undeniably convenient, as anyone who’s ever scrambled to make their nails presentable last-minute can attest to. When the clock’s ticking, the Uber’s on the way, and your stash of nail products include polishes with one-swipe color, hand cream with all-day hydration, and a legitimately foolproof way to score salon-perfect gels in just a few minutes, you’ll be glad you have these new editor-approved favorites. Ahead, Bustle’s best new nail products of the year.
We at Bustle only include products that have been independently selected by our editors. We may receive a portion of sales if you purchase a product through a link in this article.
Best Nail Polish
Formulated with 73% plant-powered materials and an entirely vegan ingredient lineup, Nails.INC’s best-selling nail polish delivers that captivating salon shine without a pro or even any gel-curing equipment. Available in a dizzying number of colors from the all-time classics to trendy colors like brown and lilac, the polish also dries quickly and lasts quite a while. “This is my new favorite non-gel nail polish,” raves BDG staffer Amanda Chan. “No clumping, minimal streaking — heck, even after one coat, I was already thinking the color was nice and saturated!”
Best Hand Cream
Your most-used tool of all time? Look down. Yes, hands do way more than humans are even fully conscious of, but rarely do they get the TLC they deserve — or any TLC, really. Treat your hands to this deliciously rich hand cream, loaded with collagen-stimulating phyto-peptides that plump delicate hand skin for age-defying volume, texture, and elasticity. BDG staffer Rita Templeton says she loves the cream, which “smells lightly herbal and is really moisturizing, without being greasy.” Sweet almond oil, a key ingredient in this formula, is especially nourishing.
Press-on polish strips are the secret weapon for looking head-to-toe put-together in the least amount of time possible, so it always pays to keep a favorite set on hand — especially Dashing Diva’s glaze collection, featuring semi-cured polish for a speedy, gel-glossed look suitable for all skill levels. “I'm obsessed with this and I'm very much a newb when it comes to gel manicures,” says BDG staffer Kaitlin Crubria. “It was so easy to work with, and came with its own UV light. Altogether, the process took about 30 minutes — and they're still on my (admittedly quite grown-out) nails, and it's been nearly two weeks!”
Best Cuticle Serum
The best cuticle serums soothe your nail beds, while also making them easier to remove. That’s the case with this serum from nail brand Sundays, which comes in a tiny dropper that makes it easy to apply the perfect amount on your cuticles. Made with ingredients like myrrh oil for antibacterial benefits and jojoba oil for hydration, it’s the perfect remedy for your thirsty cuticles. “This made my cuticles disappear instantly,” says BDG staffer Julie Cid. “I put one drop on each nail and it was like magic!”
Best Top Coat
Auda B., founded by Samara Walker, is best known for its wide range of colorful, unique shades, but word to the wise: don’t sleep on the brand’s top coat. It instantly adds a glossy, gel-like shine to any nail polish, but its anti-chipping powers really make it a standout. “I wore it as a top coat and the nail color lasted for at least a solid week with pretty much no chips!” says BDG staffer Amanda Chan.
Top Image Credit: Mônot dress