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    26 Things For Anyone Who Sucks At Doing Their Nails

    ~Nail~ your next mani or pedi with toe separators, polish barriers, and more helpful essentials. 💅

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    1. A portable nail care set for your fingers and toes that'll take care of hangnails, ripped cuticles, and uneven edges. It has basically every tool you'll need for a mani or pedi and comes with a pretty purple case. Whenever your nails need pre-polishing maintenance, this small kit will be a big help.

    model uses purple leopard print nail care set while painting their nails
    Amazon

    This kit comes with foot-care tools (a large toenail clipper, a nipper for dead skin, a dead skin fork), hand care tools (a small nail clipper for trimming the nail, a slated edge nail clipper, a nail file, cuticle trimmers, and a cuticle knife), *and* facial care tools (eyebrow scissors, eyebrow tweezers, an ear pick, and a blackhead and acne needle).

    Promising review: "I have been doing my own nails since the pandemic and needed more than a file and basic clippers. This kit was perfect and reasonably priced. The case is also very pretty. I am going to order more for stocking stuffers." —S. McDonald

    Get it from Amazon for $6.99+ (available in two colors).

    2. A conditioning oil to soften damaged cuticles. Its jojoba and vitamin E-rich formula penetrates the nail bed and cuticle area to help restore moisture and strengthen weak nails. No more dryness or brittleness when you want to paint your nails.

    on left, reviewer's peeling nails and dry cuticles. on right, reviewer's same nails without cracking and better cuticles after using conditioning oil
    Amazon / Via amazon.com

    Promising review: "I came back to order a second bottle so I thought I should write a review. The oil does wonders for the skin around your nail as well as the nail itself. It definitely has extended the life of my manicure by preventing the cuticle from looking dry and rough. I apply it once every other day and I saw results in two weeks and it's way cheaper than some of the other stuff out there." —Jenna W.

    Get it from Amazon for $8.50.

    3. Olive & June's Poppy Manicure Tool because it'll help you easily paint your nails with precise strokes and not make a mess. Place it on top of a nail polish bottle cap, unscrew the cap with the Poppy on, and you can *finally* use your non-dominant hand for a DIY mani.

    Abby Kass / BuzzFeed

    My colleague Abby Kass loves the Poppy for manicures and said: "I'm right-handed, so I used to struggle so much to paint those fingers. In the past, my left hand would look amazing but the right would be on the hot mess express. But then I discovered the Poppy, which made things *so* much easier. And though it's really great to help paint your dominant hand, it seriously just makes painting your nails in general so much easier. Those nails above took me less than five minutes to do two coats and a top coat. And yeah, that's exactly how they looked after they were done." Read more of her Olive & June Poppy review.

    Get the Poppy from Olive & June for $16 and Target for $16.

    Need more tools and polish for your next mani? Olive & June also has The Mani System set that comes with a cuticle serum, clean up brush, polish remover pot, a nail buffer, clippers and a file, the Poppy, six nail polishes, *and* a top coat.

    4. Or a tweexy ring that'll hold a polish bottle while you carefully paint each nail. It fits on all your fingers and you'll feel great knowing you can give yourself a mani on the couch, on your bed, or at a desk without worrying about spills.

    Amazon / Via amazon.com, tweexy/Amazon

    This ring works with most nail polish bottles, even those that are on the larger side. Plus, if you're struggling to get the last bit of polish out of a bottle, the ring will help you lean a little bit and scoop it out without making a mess!

    Promising review: "This little invention is perfect for me. I'm an artist who paints very dense, delicate designs like a machine, but usually make a *mess* out of painting my own nails. I am clumsy, for one thing, and have spilled many bottles of polish. Lately I've become crippled with hip pain, so I lie down frequently. With this device, I can lie down and easily paint my nails without spilling a drop. It's a clever invention I wish I'd thought of myself!" —Amazon Customer

    Get it from Amazon for $9.99 (available in 20 colors).

    5. Vinyl nail wraps so easy to stick on, you'll forget about how long it used to take to apply nail polish. These tiny stickers look great on bare nails: apply a little heat from a hair dryer and place 'em on your fingers for a seamless upgrade. Everyone will be ~eyeing~ your cool mani the next time they FaceTime you.

    hand with clear, eye-shaped nail wraps on bare nails
    SoGloss/Etsy

    SoGloss is a small nail wraps shop based in Buffalo, New York. You'll find nail wraps that have cool designs *and* are easy to apply if you don't have time for a lengthy manicure.

    Promising review: "These are the easiest, most durable nail wraps I have ever used! The designs are beautiful, and I am so happy to see so many nude nail options! I love a quirkier nail look, so I combined two different sets, and added a charm. Will definitely purchase more!" —Etsy Customer

    Get a 24-pack from SoGloss on Etsy for $9.

    6. A seven-way nail buffer to get your nails in tip-top shape *before* you tackle a manicure: This multi-nail buffer comes with seven labeled sides, so you can shape, refine, smooth edges, condition, buffer, polish, *and* shine each fingernail in minutes without using a million different tools.

    hand holds purple, blue, and pink multi-way nail buffer with step descriptions on each side
    Amazon

    This multi-way buffer takes the guesswork out of pre-mani prep: Each side has a different color and a description to help you out. This tool comes with a coarse grit to shape the nail, a medium grit to refine nail shape, a fine grit to smooth nail edges, a side to condition the nail, a side to smooth the nail, a side to buffer the entire nail, and a side to polish and shine the nail.

    Promising review: "I bought these nail file/buffers to buff my natural nails after having gel/dip powder manicures removed because my nails were so ridgy and dry from the manicure I just did myself (it was my first time)! I like the results. The buffers help to smooth out slight ridges left by manicure removal. Makes me feel comfortable wearing my natural nails out when they previously were so bumpy! Now they are much smoother and shinier! Helps for bridging time between manicures." —Tiffany T.

    Get a 12-pack from Amazon for $6.19.

    7. A peel-off liquid nail polish barrier so you can paint your nails with confidence and not worry about polish creeping into your cuticles. It's also helpful for nail art techniques, including stamping and splattering, that involve precise application.

    Hand holds bottle of blue peel-off liquid latex barrier
    Ellison's Organics/ Etsy

    Ellison's Organics is a small business based in San Antonio, Texas. They sell cruelty-free and vegan nail polish and nail care essentials. If you're looking for new polish colors or need help with your technique, you'll find so many supplies for DIY manicures.

    Promising review: "I’m still learning how to make sure I get all of the edges without getting the latex on my nail so I can paint them properly—but that’s me, not the product. I’m right handed but I swear I was born with two left hands. It took me a few minutes to make sure I did a decent job, but once I put the polish on and pulled the latex off. I was so impressed! Overall, a great purchase." —Etsy Customer

    Get it from Ellison's Organics on Etsy for $7.99.

    8. Toe separators that'll help alleviate bunion-related pain and double up as pedicure tools. They'll gently separate your toes so they don't rub against each other. Yes to *not* smudging your freshly-painted toenails when they're drying.

    Amazon / Via amazon.com, Amazon / Via amazon.com

    Promising review: "Whenever I remember to use them, I always say I can't live without them. They won't slide off easily, which means you can actually use them during a pedicure as well without fear of them slipping and messing up polish. As for the therapeutic relief—I can stand up in the morning without pain after I wear these. If I forget for a few days, the tightness returns. And it just feels so good wearing them when I relax, or maybe wearing them actually relaxes me." —Amazon Customer

    Get a pair from Amazon for $29.95.

    9. Polish removal caps because you're done dealing with stubborn gel lacquer that won't come off. Each of these caps have flexible springs and they'll easily clip onto your nails that need a quick polish removal. The best part? You can do this from your couch and avoid an expensive salon trip.

    reviewer uses same clips to take off gel nail polish
    Amazon / Via amazon.com

    Taking off gel nail polish is easy with these caps! Open the cap clips in reverse, place cotton pads into the nail clips, pour on nail polish remover, clip onto your nails, and wait 10 to 15 minutes for the gel nail polish to come off!

    Promising review: "These are so easy to use. I wet a cotton ball with nail polish remover. Put the cotton ball over my finger nail and clip the nail clip over my finger. I wait a few minutes for the nail polish remover to soak on the nail polish. Then I remove the clip and use the cotton ball to wipe off the nail polish. When I'm done I rinse the clips in warm water to keep them clean. The clip hinge is strong and stays on the nail/cotton ball with no problems." —Sandra Petroff

    Get a set of 10 from Amazon for $3.99+ (available in six colors).

    10. A flamingo-shaped acrylic nail holder that won't ~ruffle your feathers~ when you're trying to create fun nail art. Just use double-sided tape to stick on a fake nail and you can practice painting designs without wasting an entire acrylic set.

    Makynail/Etsy

    Makynail is a nail art Etsy shop based in Los Angeles, California. They're known for their colorful nail charms, stickers, and tools designed to take manicures to the next level.

    Get it from Makynail on Etsy for $2.54 (also available in a swan design).

    11. A breathable, *one-step* polish so you can paint all your nails without using a top coat or base coat. It's infused with argan oil, pro vitamin B5, and vitamin C to help prevent chipping and peeling. A speedy mani *is* possible, thanks to this gem that'll add a pop of color to your nails and keep 'em in pristine condition.

    model wears light purple Orly breathable one-step polish on fingers
    Orly/Instagram / Via instagram.com

    Promising review: "I’m absolutely in love with this Breathable line of nail polish. So smooth and easy to apply. Every color I’ve purchased has been fantastic and this color 'The Snuggle Is Real' is no exception. It’s safe to say that this is my new favorite polish." —Orly Customer
    Get it from Orly for $9.99 (available in dozens of shades).

    12. An acetone-free nail polish remover to take off stubborn glitter or lacquer. This gentle formula easily removes regular nail polish, shellac polish, and Mineral Fusion Gel Polishes without stripping the nail bed. You won't have to scrub your nails with a mountain of cotton balls again.

    Amazon / Via amazon.com, Amazon / Via amazon.com

    Promising review: "When I first tried this product, I sat on my bathroom floor with the usual handful of cotton balls and prepared for the incessant rubbing and shredding of cotton balls to remove my polish. All I can say is WOW, in just a couple minutes I had removed polish from all 10 fingers and it only took two cotton balls. Not to mention this remover smells SO good, with only a slight polish remover 'smell', but nothing like the traditional polish removers. Before, I would always buy the 'nourishing' or 'gentle' removers but they always left my fingers feeling dry and my cuticles cracked after use. Mineral Fusion left my nails looking shiny and my nails/cuticles feeling smooth and soft." —Lilaea

    Get it from Amazon for $8.99+ (available in three sizes and a two-pack).

    13. A gel nail polish kit, so you can give yourself a high-quality manicure without going to the salon. This set comes with 16 different nude, blue, and grey colors (each lasts up to 21 days!), a top coat, and a base coat to get you started.

    BuzzFeed Editor Kayla Suazo showing the blue gel polish on her nails with the rest of the colors in the set in the background
    Kayla Suazo / BuzzFeed

    This kit *does* require an LED or UV lamp for drying. If you don't have one, you can check out the UV LED nail lamp below that's received 13,000+ 5-star reviews!

    My colleague Kayla Suazo loves this gel nail polish kit and said: "Long before quarantine days, I was a nail salon regular. Once lockdown really hit, I realized I needed to take my manicure ~into my own hands~. These Gellen gel polishes give salon-quality results at home. Truly, I can get a full two weeks without peeling/chipping/breaking. The amount of $$$ I have saved." Read the rest of her Gellen gel polish review.

    Get it from Amazon for $24.99+ (also available in a Jelly Candy collection).

    14. And a UV LED nail lamp that'll quickly dry gel polish and leave your nails with a high-shine finish. It has three timer settings (5 seconds, 30 seconds, and 60 seconds) and a 90-second automated setting for manis and pedis. It also has a white light source (30 LED beads inside) that'll be easy on your eyes when it's drying time.

    Amazon / Via amazon.com

    You'll get a UV/LED Nail Lamp, one adapter, manicure instructions, and one user manual.

    Promising review: "Love Sun UV lamps! I’m an at home user for gel polish and gel extensions. I’ve used separate UV and LED lamps which is kind of a pain to have to keep switching between the two and not to mention the space they take up. Step in Sun UV! My previous lamps were lower wattage so I decided to purchase a big wattage one, and I’m glad I did! I love the faster 30-second curing time with Madam Glam polishes. I have three young children (6, 4 and 3 month old) so I rarely get any time for myself and when I do I need to do the things I want fast!" —Amazon Customer

    Get it from Amazon for $28.99.

    15. Moisturizing gloves packed with collagen and shea better because your hands need sweet relief from dryness, cracking, and peeling. Slip these babies on your hands and they'll be so soft for your next nail painting session.

    amazon.com, amazon.com

    Promising review: "I get extremely dry, flaky skin seems like all times of the year but I love nail polish and having my nails done. These gloves are amazing. A sticky tab for all size hands, an outer cover that allows me to use my phone, and just the right amount of product make for a perfectly convenient use with divine results." —Rescue Dog Mom

    Get a set from Amazon for $12.99+ (also available in a 2-pack, 6-pack, and a 16-pack).

    16. A nail base and accessory holder that'll transform your bathroom counter into a pop-up salon space. Your nail tools will be accessible (no more rummaging through a cabinet to find a top coat!) and you can carefully polish each nail (and not your cuticle), thanks to the base that'll ~give you a hand.~

    Amazon, Amazon / Via amazon.com

    This set comes with an accessory tray, base, pump bottle, and a polish holder connector.

    Promising review: "I love this thing! I have always been horrible at doing my own nails, but I want to save money and use up my (large!) collection of polish. This base is fantastic! The day I got it, I put it on my bed tray, sat back, and gave myself the best self-mani I have ever done. My nails didn't come out perfectly, but I am hoping to be able to get better at it with this base." —Rosi Garmendia

    Get it from Amazon for $26.99.

    17. A natural nail base coat so you can prep your bare nails for a mani and protect them from stains. This clear formula gently covers fingernails and helps polish go on smoothly.

    reviewer holding bottle of OPI Natural Nail Base Coat in hand with rose gold mani
    Amazon / Via amazon.com

    Promising review: "I love this base coat! I have seen a significant decrease in the staining of my nails and I paint my nails a lot in highly-pigmented colors that stain. This goes on smoothly and creates a nice surface that preps the nails for whatever polish you're applying. This also prolongs your manicure. I tend to wear my manicures for about four to five days and during that period I have very limited chipping, if any at all." —Alana E. Smith

    Get it from Amazon for $8.69.

    18. And a fast-drying top coat because your polished digits will dry at the speed of light *and* actually look good for days. Cut your manicure time in half with this formula, which locks in polish and gives it a high-gloss finish. If you accidentally tap your fingers against something, you don't have to stress about re-painting them. 👏

    on left, reviewer's freshly-painted mani. On right, same mani five days later after using fast-drying top coat
    Amazon / Via amazon.com

    Promising review: "This stuff is incredible. Fast dry time — I did my nails in 15 minutes, from removing nail polish to two coats and top coat, all completely dry! And it lasts. I didn’t have any chips until day five when I did a bunch of cooking. Five stars and such a great reasonable price!" —Amber Espinoza

    Get it from Amazon for $7.95+ (available in three sizes).

    19. Press-on glitter nails with a Lord of the Rings-inspired design that'll make everyone say "where did you get those done?!" when IRL, you just stuck 'em on. These babies will take the stress out of giving yourself a mani at home *and* instantly upgrade your look.

    fingers with long silver glittery press-on nails inspired by 'LOTR' Aragon sword
    SpaceWitchNails/Etsy

    You can choose from five sizes (XS–L and custom) and 11 nail shapes (long square, long ballerina, long stiletto, regular coffin, regular square, regular squoval, short ballerina, regular almond, short stiletto, short oval, and XL stiletto). Adhesive tabs and/or glue are also included upon request, just leave a note in your order!

    SpaceWitchNails is a small Etsy shop based in Denver, Colorado. They're known for their reusable press-on nails inspired by The Lord of the Rings, '80s fashion trends, and ancient history.

    Promising review: "Absolutely in love with this set, I got so many compliments! They look and wear like a high-end manicure. This seller communicates well and is really great at what she does!" —Etsy Customer

    Get a 10-piece set from SpaceWitchNails on Etsy for $26 (available in five sizes and 11 nail shapes).

    20. Floral nail decals to make your manicure look like it was designed by a nail artist. These tiny decals easily stick on your nails and they'll make them ~bloom~ with color (no brushes or special polish required).

    person with the floral nail tattoos on their nails
    Tattoorary / Etsy

    Tattoorary is a small Etsy shop based in The Netherlands that sells temporary tattoos and nail art stickers with beautiful floral designs.

    Promising review: "Love these! I’m terrible at putting stickers on straight so I was pretty nervous but I got the hang of it and it turned out great." —Etsy Customer

    Get a sheet from Tattoorary on Etsy for $4.

    21. An at-home powder dip kit for a DIY powdered mani that doesn't require a nail-tech appointment. It comes with everything you need for a high-quality polish job that (gasp) lasts up to six weeks!

    on left, the kit on a table. on right, reviewer's light pink powdered dip mani created with the same kit
    Amazon / Via amazon.com / amazon.com

    This kit includes a bonder, base coat, activator, sealer, brush softener, base and finish powder, white and sheer pink powder, cuticle pusher, file, and buffer.

    Promising review: "I am a vet tech so I’m constantly washing my hands and they really take a beating. I did my first ever set is dip nails 14 days ago and they still look brand new (minus the grow out of course)! I did file and fill the set and repaint today (day 14) because my nails grow very quickly and the grow out started to bother me. The instructions were very clear and easy to follow and I’m super happy with how they came out. You have to be exceptionally careful filing and shaping if you’re using a colored powder or it can get patchy looking and weird really quickly. I have heard from friends that it can take a few sets to really get the hang of it and I’m enjoying learning. All in all this is a fantastic product that you won’t be disappointed in." —Amazon Customer

    Get it from Amazon $44.97.

    22. A nail-cleaning brush that'll come to the rescue when you accidentally apply too much nail polish. Soft bristles gently wipe away excess paint without damaging your cuticles and help you achieve a mani that doesn't look sloppy.

    Amazon

    You'll get two cleaning brushes, a lid that'll help protect them from damage, and cleaning instructions.

    Promising review: "The brush hairs are nice and soft, but still work really well for clean-up. I find that the tip of the brush gets just enough polish out of my cuticle without taking too much off from the bottom of the nail. I like that it comes with cleaning instructions and a lid to keep the brush hairs protected." —Leanne

    Get a 2-pack from Amazon for $11.99.

    23. A nail care essentials set so you'll be ready for your next DIY mani: It comes with a repairing cuticle oil, base coat, and a quick-dry top coat. Hangnails, stains, and polish problems will be history, thanks to this trio that has your nails covered.

    bottles of a clear top coat, base coat, and cuticle oil
    OOO Nail Polish

    OOO Nail Polish is a Black woman-owned business that sells handmade, 13-free nail polish inspired by African history and culture. In addition to gorgeous nail polish colors, you'll find cuticle oils, top coats, and base coats to help you complete amazing manicures.

    Promising review: "Obsessed with this product! The base and top coats are glossy and help the polish stay on." —OOO Nail Polish customer

    Get it from OOO Nail Polish for $27 (available in two sets).

    24. A strong nail glue that'll hold acrylic and press-on nails in place, even if you spending a lot of time typing, cooking, or working out. It also works amazing for nail art projects that involve tiny beads, glitter, and rhinestones.

    Amazon / Via amazon.com, Amazon / Via amazon.com

    Promising review: "This is the holy grail of nail glues. I've been buying full cover press on nails that I design/apply myself for a long time. I love press on nails. But I work in IT and my job involves ripping computers apart, breaking down boxes, scraping old stickers off of metal, and typing...so much typing. Every day. My nails were popping off on a daily basis and I gave up on press on nails until I found this amazing glue! Right now, my semi long nails are on day 5 and not one of them is even a tiny bit loose. I will never buy another nail glue." —Princess Lilly

    Get it from Amazon for $5.06.

    25. A nail-strengthening cream for your dry, damaged, and brittle nails that need a break from frequent salon visits. It's formulated with hydrogenated jojoba oil, calcium, and vitamins, that'll help prevent chipping, cracking, and splitting. The next time you *do* give yourself a manicure, your digits will be in better shape.

    Amazon, Amazon / Via amazon.com

    Promising review: "About a month and a half of use has really transformed my nails! I’ve been using this three to four times a day (as well as the occasional gel manicure and some strengthening polish, no different from my prior routine). My nails have never been this long and strong — even when I picked off gel polish (bad, I know!). I really like the scent (slightly coconut-y) and a little goes a long way. I’m not even halfway through the tub and I basically dip the tips of my nails in and massage the balm into my nail beds. Definitely worth the money." —Madison

    Get it from Amazon for $7.94+ (also available in a 2-pack and 3-pack).

    26. And gel moisturizing socks that'll take care of your callused feet before it's time for a DIY pedicure. They release aloe vera, botanical oils, and vitamins to help alleviate dryness and cracking around your heels, toes, and arches. You'll feel like you're at the spa, even if you're just treating yourself to a pedi at home.

    amazon.com, amazon.com

    Promising review: "This is some kind of magic or something. I used a microplane foot scraper thing on dry, unmoisturized feet (word of caution: do not use those on damp/wet/freshly lotioned up feet or you'll be sorry later) and slapped these funky toe socks on for an hour. I somehow now have baby soft feet. Like, the kind you spend $70 bucks on a spa pedicure for. These things are magical. BUY THEM!" —Kate M.

    Get it from Amazon for $15.99 (available in three sizes).

    You, after treating yourself to a DIY manicure:

    Lizzo/Twitter

    Reviews have been edited for length and/or clarity.

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