With more nail polishes than I know what to do with comes more than enough tools and extras. I try to keep everything in order by storing them in labelled beauty boxes - nail art tools, hand creams, glitters, nail polish removal etc but really I have too much of everything for it to be super organised.
Which is why I thought it would be a good idea to select my favourites from each box and mess up even more by not putting everything back! I've promised myself I will re-organise it at the weekend zzzz.
So here I thought I would share with you my top picks of all my nail extras minus nail polish removers and I just pick up anything acetone-free and always make sure I have a Bourjois Magic Nail Polish Remover tub in.
For me the step of a top coat is a must for a perfect finish. My first ever top coat was one from 17 (which is still pretty good), I then progressed to an equally cheap one with NYC which is amazing for the price. Then finally 'splashed' out on a bottle of Seche Vite when I realised it wasn't actually that expensive at all if purchased online.
I now use the NYC In A New York Minute Clear Nail Polish (£1.79 - Superdrug) on quick manicures when I'm trying out a new nail polish, which is quite often. And save the Seche Vite Top Coat (£6.00 - eBay here) for more special manicures and nail art as it's just so glossy and wonderful. If I'm wanting matte nails I go for Models Own Pro Matte Top Coat (£5.00 - Boots) but really all matte top coats are pretty much the same so if you want a budget one I'd suggest opting for the one from Rimmel.
Base Coats & Nail Treatments
I recently wrote a full post on the China Glaze Ridge Filler Base Coat here where I explained that my obsession with painting my nails has left me with fairly ridged nails. It isn't the end of the world but it means a ridge filler base coat is needed if I want a smooth finish to my nail polish without the ridges showing through. I started off by using the Essie Ridge Filler (£6.98 - eBay here) and as I had nothing to compare it against I thought it was pretty good, though slightly time consuming to apply as it is like a nail polish. But then I was tempted by the China Glaze Ridge Filler Base Coat (£4.56 - eBay here) as it is such a discounted price and I now feel this is what a ridge filler base coat should be! A lot less 'nail polish' like this applies really quickly as it's thin and dries equally fast. If you do have ridged nails from over using nail polish or just ageing nails then I highly recommend the CG one.
I've also recently started to think about the strength of my nails as I now do a few freelance nail article jobs from time to time that require lots of different nail looks so over a period of a few days I am constantly painting my nails and then removing it, making my nails more likely to break. I'm lucky my nails are quite strong but in the past year I have seen my nails just break off and I can see that it's been because they are quite brittle at times so this is were the Renunail Nail Strengthener (£13.50/30ml - Amazon here) comes in. This does require a break from using nail polish and painting on the treatment daily but from the looks of the reviews online and hundreds of amazing reviews on Amazon this does wonders for the nails. I plan to start my first course of using the strengthener next week when I have a few nail posts out of the way, just in time for my holiday at the end of November.
Cuticle Oils & Nail Filling
For nice looking nails cuticle oil is a must. I've never had a problem with my cuticles but still like to use an oil quite often to keep them looking neat. But for dry/over grown looking cuticles an oil is a must - none of this trimming them malarkey! Most cuticle oils are good and will benefit the nails but I especially like the Champneys Nail Treatment Cuticle Softening Nail Oil (£8.50 - Boots here) as it's slightly thicker than a lot I've used and it smells nice (plus it has a button dropper at the top that I'm still impressed with - it really is the small things!). Another cuticle treatment I like is the Burt's Bees Lemon Butter Cuticle Creme (£5.50/17g - Feel Unique here) which is basically an oil in solid form. You just work this over the nail and it melts into a slight oil and smells like boiled lemon sweets.
When it comes to shaping my nails I don't actually cut my nails - ever. Like never ever! When my nails get too long I just file them down a bit... I guess I just feels like I'm damaging my nails by cutting them. I'm still yet to try out a glass nail file but for now I feel a standard file works fine. The lovely nail file above is from a set of 3 from Ted Baker (£5.00 - Boots).
Hands Creams I feel are essential to nice nails so therefore I own a lot... well that is my excuse at least! They range from sample sizes - great for handbags, organics ones and even the odd pricier ones... I somehow feel I can never have enough, though I most certainly do have enough!
Currently in my handbag I have a simple Shea Butter hand cream from L'Occitane (came free with a magazine) which is really hydrating and soaks in quickly which is a must for applying hand cream on the go. Next to my bed I have my trusty Lavera Basis Sensitiv Hand Cream (£6.95/75ml - Feel Unique here) which I love - very refreshing, lovely scented and very nourishing yet light. Then with all my nail extras I have the Lanolips Rose Balm that is a super size 120m/£10.20 - Boots here. This feels like such a treat and is the most nourishing hand cream so I make sure I apply this when I've used nail polish remover and my hands are feeling dry.
Nail Art Tools
I like to keep it simple with my nail art tools and you really don't need to spend a lot of money at all. So many nail art looks can be achieved with dots or require dots so different size dotting tools are essential. I purchased a double ended set from eBay (5 for £1.40 - ebay here) that still feel brand new and I know will last for years to come. I also have a handy double ended Avon Nail Decoration Tool (£1.85 - eBay here) that is great when I need to use both a brush and dotting tool, I can just turn it around as and when I need each tool.
For simple nail art I like to use metallic Sharpie pens, these are the ultra fine ones and do need to have a top coat placed over them so they don't wash off but they are so easy to use. I also use a Muji 0.38 Gel Pen (£1.00 each - Selfridges/Muji stores) which I need more of in different colours as it's my favourite thing to use for detailed nail art. The pen means you can literally draw your design on the nail and be very precise. Again this needs to be sealed with a top coat and the nail polish base needs to be fully dry as the pen tip can drag nail polish that isn't completely dry.
Nail Art Extras
My box of nail art products is without a doubt the most disorganised mess! It is however the most exciting box but I have so many bits and bobs that I like to keep just in case I ever need them for different nail art looks.
My favourite nail art has to be glitter! So messy but fun and of course very pretty on the nails. My favourite loose glitter is from NPW (set of 5 glitters - £2.50) as the glitter is so iridescent and pretty and I love how they come in little glass bottles. Though so many of these bottled glitters can be found via eBay (£1.89 for 12 bottles - eBay here). Also from NPW which are available in select department stores, Topshop and New Look, are the gold and black Nail Art Pens (£5.25 set of 2 - Debenhams here) you see above which come with loose gems to stick on, I especially like the black for a more subtle look. Another product I really love that I have only recently discovered are the Glitter Fx's from Nailene (Set of 2 for £4 - here) - you literally squeeze the soft plastic tube to puff out the ultra fine glitter which you can choose to land on the tips of the nails or over the entire nail. The shades are also really beautiful.
Hope you have enjoyed this run down of my favourite nail products.