I love giving myself manicures, and even prefer it to going to get my nails done. After trial and error with lots of products over time, I’ve put together a portable manicure kit containing all the essentials for giving yourself a professional-quality manicure at home. When I found this acrylic caddy, it was the perfect solution for organizing my supplies and fitting everything I need, while keeping everything looking neat at the same time. I can tote it around anywhere in my house, usually in front of the TV, when it’s mani/pedi time. Here’s what’s in my kit why I love it!
Pump-Top Dispenser Bottle – I fill it with 100% acetone, which I find to be the best way to remove polish quickly. You can also soak your nails in acetone to remove a gel manicure. The pump bottle makes it super easy to dispense polish remover without tipping over a bottle and risking spills.
Cotton Rounds – Easy to use, and a single round can usually take off a whole hand of polish. Check your nails in the light for any stray fibers that may linger after using them.
Stainless Steel Cuticle Pusher – This tool is essential for scraping under your fingernails and gently pushing back your cuticles to prepare your nail bed for polish application.
Ceramic Bowl with River Stones – For a spa-like nail soak, I fill a little white bowl with warm water and river stones to fiddle with. I squirt a bit of cuticle remover gel into the water, and sometimes add some drops of essential oil (lavender and lemon is my favorite combo).
Cuticle Remover Gel – I apply the remover gel to the base of each nail bed and add a squirt of the gel into a ceramic bowl for soaking, as mentioned above.
Cuticle Nipper – I do NOT clip my actual cuticles (only push them back), but I do use this tool for gently clipping hangnails and ragged skin around the sides of my nails.
Finger and Toe Nail Clippers – Two sizes are necessary for fingers and toes. I usually use the finger size for the tiny toes though.
Glass Nail File – Glass files are much easier on your nails than a traditional emery board. Plus, they’re prettier.
Nail Buffer – I use the medium grit side of the buffer to lightly scuff up the surface of my nail to prep.
Mini Makeup Brush – After buffing my nails, I clean up the dust with a little fluffy makeup brush, then do another swipe of an acetone-soaked cotton pad to clean up the nails before applying the base coat.
Synthetic Paint Brush – I keep this clean-up brush in my kit for dipping into acetone and tidying up any stray polish on your finger. I took the brush out of a kids craft brush kit; it has a nice straight edge and is made of synthetic materials. You do not want to use a natural hair brush for dipping into acetone because it will be ruined and dye might transfer to your nails.
Orly Rubberized Base Coat – I was skeptical about base coats until I tried this one. It really bonds your nail polish to your nail and I wouldn’t bother with a manicure without it now because it gives your polish a fighting chance to last a week.
Seche Vite Top Coat – I absolutely love this quick dry top coat. It is the glossiest one I have found, and really gives your nails a professional finish. The only issue is that within a few days it tends to dull, so I spray my nails with alcohol to remove any oils, then hit them again with some top coat to extend my manicure.
Orly Quick Dry Shine Drops – Once my top coat has been applied, I wait two minutes before adding a drop to each nail. These drops radically speed up the drying process.
CND Solarspeed Spray – After two more minutes, I spray each hand with this spray as the finisher to the drying process. I am addicted to the scent of this spray (cherry almond) and even if it didn’t work, I would probably still use it. Not only does it aid in a quick curing of your polish, it conditions your cuticles, too. After about 5 minutes, you can rub your nails together and listen to that glorious, polished click.
L’Occitane Lavender Hand Cream – This is my favorite hand cream! It’s beautifully scented with lavender essential oil, and not greasy at all. Once my polish is cured, I slather my hands with it. If it’s right before bed, I’ll pop on a pair of spa gloves to seal in the moisture overnight.