It's hard to make it to the salon on a regular basis to keep your nails looking proper. So, if you can't make it to your bi-weekly appointment for some killer nail art, or you simply love doing your own nail art, here are the cool tools (aside from the basics, like base/topcoat, cuticle pusher, nail file, polish remover, etc.) that you'll need to take your nail game to the next level, according to nail pro Amber Morgan, a manicurist from Paintbox Salon in NYC.Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
1. Matte Topcoat. A matte topcoat instantly gives your nails a cool-girl, non-glossy mod finish. Try Nails Inc. Westminster Bridge Matte Effect Top Coat.
2. A Nail Polish Correcting Pen. You don't have to be a pro nail artist to end up with flawless-looking nails — you just have to know how to clean up around your nail bed properly for a clean, professional finish. A polish-erasing pen can help with that, thanks to its precision tip, which is doused in polish remover that can erase any mistakes along the side walls of your nails easily. Try Julep Clean Slate Polish Corrector Pen.
3. Glitter Nail Polish Remover Pads. If you're a glitter girl (Who isn't?!) but think glitter is a pain in the ass to get off, then you need to invest in a textured pad that can help swipe off any finely milled or grittier glitter in a flash. Try Butter London Glitter Scrubbers Textured Remover Wipes.
4. Nail Repair Formula. If you're constantly putting on false nails or getting gel polish applied to your nails, your nails can tend to be dry and brittle. It's a good idea to give your natural nails a break for a week and apply a formula nightly that restores and conditions your nails back to a healthy, strong state while you're polish-free. Try Perfect Formula Repair Coat.
5. Striping Tape. This very thin metallic tape can applied and kept on your nail to enhance your nail art, or it can be pressed onto your nail to create super straight lines and then lifted away. Try Etsy Nail Striping Tape.
6. Transfer Foils. Foil paper creates a cool design when you paint your nails a desired base color, apply a clear glue over top, and then press and pull the tape away quickly, leaving behind imperfect traces of foil on your nails for a cool finish, like this. Try Etsy Transfer Foiland Nail Adhesive Glue.
7. Dotter Tool. If you want to make tiny or large dots on your nails, or create a design using a series of circles, a dotter tool is the way to go. It creates perfect tiny or large dots in seconds, like this. Try The Body Shop Nail Pen.
8. Striper Brush. You can pick up a striper brush at any beauty supply store or use a small, thin paint brush. This tiny brush helps create thin lines and intricate detail. Just make sure you properly clean the brush with nail polish remover before dipping it into another color if you're using multiple shades.
9. Loose Glitter. Take any mani to the next level by sprinkling a little loose glitter (that you can get at any craft store) evenly all over your base color while it's still wet, or concentrating it at the tip of your nail for an ombré effect.
10. Studs. If you want substantial 3-D embellishments on your nails, stash tiny studs, metallic circles, colored crystal domes, and iridescent shavings in your nail kit, which you can also pick up at your local craft store.
11. Domed Pearls. For a more ladylike design, pack pearls and clear crystals in your nail kit to doll up your digits. Try Ciatè Caviar Mother of Pearl Manicure Kit.
12. Nail Stickers/Wraps. If you don't have time to create cool nail art, pick up a premade design and press it onto your fingertips for notice-me nails. Try NCLA Nail Wraps.
13. LED Nail Lamp. Most gel polishes for sale require an LED lamp to cure (or harden) the formula for a longer lasting result. Try Ciaté's LED Lamp sold in the Geltox Starter Kit.
14. Good-Quality Staple Shades. A sheer pink, classic red, and opaque white and black polishes are musts in your nail kit not only because they're classics, but because they're often used when creating nail art.
Try The Body Shop Colour Crush Nail Polish in "Pink Cream," $8; Gucci Nail Bold High-Gloss Lacquer in"Iconic Red," $29; Red Carpet Nail Lacquer in "White Hot," $8; and Morgan Taylor Professional Nail Lacquer in "Little Black Dress," $9, to get a look like the one below.
15. Nude Polish. Barely there polish is perfect for when you want to wear a shade but don't want it to be noticeable. Nude polishes are perfect for interviews and also create the illusion of longer fingers.
Try nude shades from Chrome Girl Nail Lacquer in "Tan Cheeks," $12; Pacifica 7 Free Nail Polish in "Dark Desert Highway," $9; Deborah Lippmann Limited Edition in "La Vie En Rose," $18; and L'Oreal Paris Colour Riche Gold Dust Nail Color in "Diamond in the Rough," $7, to get a look like the one below. For the complete how-to, click here.
16. Metallic Polish. Metallic polishes like gold, rose gold, purple, mermaid blue, and silver are the new neutrals and can be worn with anything these days.
Try metallic shades from Yves Saint Laurent La Laque Couture Nail Polish in "Dore Orferve,"$25; Nuance by Salma Hayek in "Petal Pearl," $6; Nars Limited Edition Nail Polish in "Sherwood,"$20; Revlon Nail Polish in "Bohemian 585," $5; and O.P.I. Nail Lacquer in "My Signature is DC,"$10, to get a look like the one below. For the complete how-to, click here.
17. Pastel Polish. These light and airy colors are now welcome in fall and winter just as much as they are in spring and summer. They're the perfect alternative to nude shades, since the color is barely there, yet still beautiful.
Try L'Orèal Paris Colour Riche Nail Polish in "Greycian Goddess," $6; Essie Nail Polish in "Romper Room," $9; Morgan Taylor Nail Polish in "Water Baby," $6; Laura Mercier Nail Lacquer in "Lavender Cloud," $18; and Smith & Cult Nail Lacquer in "Bitter Budhist," $18, to get a look like the one below. For the complete how-to, click here.
18. Glitter Polish. Glitter is the easiest polish to use because it's the most forgiving. Apply it evenly over your entire nail or focus it at your tip for an ombré effect.
Try Revlon Core Nail Enamel in "Artsy," $4; L'Orèal Paris Colour Riche Nail Color in "Midnight Fireworks," $7, Morgan Taylor Nail Polish in "Sweetest Thing," $9; Zoya Nail Polish in "Storm," $9; and Maybelline New York Color Show Jewels in "Gilded In Gold," $4, to get a look like the one below. For the complete how-to, click here.
19. Jewel Tone Polish. Jewel tones are super rich and perfect for amping up any outfit as your statement accessory.
Try Dolce & Gabbana The Nail Lacquer in Wild "Green," $25; CoverGirl XL Nail Gel in "Plump-It Plum," $6; Ciate Mini Paint Pot Nail Polish and Effects in "True Blue," $8; and Sally Hansen Insta-Dri in "Ablazing!," $5, to get a look like the one below. For a complete how-to, click here.
20. Vibrant Hues. To make your nail art pop, use vibrant shades like fuchsia, teal, hot pink, orange, yellow, etc.
Try Nonie Creme Colour Prevails Nail Lacquer in "Daddy's Girl," $8; Floss Gloss Nail Lacquer in "Neon Nacho," $8; and Forever 21 Nail Polish in "Dusty Blue," $3, to get a look like the one below. For the complete how-to, click here.