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A List of Different Nail Polish and Manicure Must-Haves

Updated on July 15, 2015

Doing Your Own Manicure

Doing your nails yourself can be both fun and save you money on manicure costs. Manicures are always nice to get done professionally because they do the work for you and you can pick a new color or design every time. However, they can be very costly and you don't typically get to keep the nail polish afterwards.

When you paint your nails at home, you can change them as frequently as you like (depending on how many colors you have) and you keep the jar of polish unless it runs out or dries out. For the cost of a single manicure you can buy several different colors of your own nail polish.

Painting your own nails is not very difficult but may take some practice. Once you learn how to do it properly and quickly, you can learn how to do a ton of different designs and techniques for your own manicures. No product is "necessary" to have but there are a few items that are etremely beneficial to have and will make your manicure that much better.

Must-Have Manicure Tools

Some items that you should have for doing your nails at home include a nail file, nail polish remover, cotton pads or balls. There are other tools and products you can purchase such as different sizes and style of brushes for painting designs and different textures, gemstones and other decorations you can attach to your nails, cuticle removers, and nail buffers among other things.

You don't need every product available but the basics are pretty necessary. You will need to file your nails to shape them, and you will need nail polish remover and cotton pads or balls to remove your nail polish when needed.

Other items you should acquire are a good base coat, top coat, and of course some color polishes. These items are disscussed more below.

Nail Polish Base Coat

The base coat is the polish that goes on first, just before you apply your color. It is typically clear in color but may appear creamy, tinted, or even pre-mixed with a colored polish. The base coat may even serve as a polish all on its own due to the shine it produces.

The base coat is used for a variety of reasons such as to protect your nails, help to heal your nails, guard your nails from stains, and some say to help your polish adhere better. There is a huge variety of base coats to choose from. Some have proteins or other nutrients to help repair and strengthen your nails. Some have ridge fillers to help smooth the look of your nails.

There are many good types and brands to choose from and some you'll like, some you won't like. Some popular base coat brands are Essie, Nail Tek, CND, Seche Vite, and OPI. There are a ton of others but far too many to list.

Nail Polish Top Coat

The top coat is the last layer of polish and is applied on top of your color coat. It is used to help prevent chipping and make your manicure last longer, and can add a lot of shine to your nails.

There are a number of very good brands to choose from but the most popular is probably Seche Vite. It is very good quality, fairly thick, and leaves a brilliant shine.

Must Have Nail Polish Colors

If you are going to start a nail polish collection there are some colors that you "must have" or should have in your inventory.

Reds & Pinks:

Reds and pinks are timeless colors that never go out of style. These colors never lose their appeal, reds probably even more so than pinks. There are so many different tones of these colors it's unbelievable. If you only have one nail polish color in your collection, it is wise to have a red or pink tone. It can be difficult to choose a color sometimes, especially when there are so many shades of it. To help you out, try searching for swatches online that show what the different colors look like in different lighting settings. For instance, try searching "China Glaze Reds Swatches" and take it from there. Just be warned, you might want them all.

Neutral and Nude Colors:

Neutral and nude tones such as tan or sandy colors, even clear polishes, are really good to have. They match with everything, are not overly dramatic so they are suitable for various occasions, and are a great substitue when you can't decide on a polish color. These color tones are great for business or formal settings.


Glitter polishes are very pretty. Just with everything else in the nail polish world, there are a tons of different types of glitter polishes. Some of tiny pieces of glitter that are barely recognizable, some are chunky, some are round, some are flaked, and some glitters come in the form of various shapes such as hearts and stars.

Some good glitter polishes to have are gold, silver, and iridescent. These glitters look great when used on their own but also look really nice when painted over other colors. The size and shape of the glitter flakes is more of a personal preference.

Other Colors:

It's always nice to have a variety of colors to choose from. Multiple colors allow you to change your polish more often and allow you to mix and match your colors. You can paint your nails different colors or draw designs on them with different colors.

There is no one color that is better than another so the colors you choose to buy and use should be colors that you enjoy looking at. New colors come out every season so you can always check out what's trending.

Remember to check out swatches when you find a nail polish color you like to see how it might look painted on. Nail polish colors look different on people with different skin tones and in different lighting.

Nail Polish Brands

There are a lot of great nail polish brands out there, it's difficult to say whihc are the best. A lot of people have different preferences as to which brands they like best. Some brandds are more prone to chipping, some take multiple coats, some are too thick or too thin, and the list goes on.

A couple of the more popular and well reviewed brands include OPI, China Glaze, ZOYA, ORLY, Nubar, and CND.

Where to Find Your Nail Polish Must Haves

There are a lot of places where you can purchase nail polish and the prices vary greatly. Usually, they are the most expensive in department and retail stores. Some stores online are slightly cheaper than retail and some stores have excellent deals depending on what you are shopping for and how much you are buying. You can get great deals on shipping discounts when you purchase large quantities.

One of the best places to look for nail polish and manicure equipment, among other things of course, is Ebay. Be aware of how much the seller is charging for shipping because the price can sometimes make it not worth it, but very often you can find some amazing deals.

Another great place to find deals on nail polish is Amazon. There are usually several sellers offering the same item so you can choose the best deal.


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    • profile image

      5 years ago

      The nail polish shades are so beautiful.

    • nmdonders profile image

      Nira Perkins 5 years ago

      The Cajun Shrimp looks really pretty. It looks similar to China Glaze Poinsettia which I love.

    • profile image

      lovedoctor926 5 years ago

      I don't think I have that shade, but will check it out. thanks

    • profile image

      Jane Carroll 5 years ago

      I love OPI and I love the names of the shades. Cajun Shrimp is probably my favorie shade...goes with everything.

    • nmdonders profile image

      Nira Perkins 5 years ago

      I like OPI too, it's a good polish and has a lot of really nice shades. I also love the red and nude shades. A lot of colors that I used to not like are starting to grow on me as well :)

    • profile image

      lovedoctor926 5 years ago

      I wear OPI too. I like the reds, brown and nude shades. I've been getting my nails done for years, but what I do is not schedule a weekly appointment and then just do them myself. this is a good hub

    • ChristyWrites profile image

      Christy Birmingham 5 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      A useful hub. I do like OPI the best.