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Though many of us continue to practice social distancing, you may still find yourself in need of a nail refresh. With nail salons operating at limited hours and capacity, it can be tough to get the results you're used to when taking care of your nails at home.
Celebrity manicurist Tom Bachik — whose clients include Jennifer Lopez and Kim Kardashian — posted a popular Instagram story with tips to achieve the perfect at-home manicure near the beginning of Covid-19, so Shop TODAY reached out to find out exactly what manicure tools he recommends using.
Some of the products he uses are professional-grade or require a license to purchase, but he provided us with affordable and easy-to-find alternatives to help you do your nails at home.
Expert-recommended manicure tools for at-home use
Bachik says that it's fine to be generic when it comes to nail polish removers, but he prefers using one with acetone.
"In the [Instagram] video, I say to 'use your favorite remover' because some prefer organic, non-acetone, etc," said Bachik. "I recommend an acetone remover or, better yet, pure acetone. The reason I prefer acetone or an acetone base is because it removes color faster and cleaner and evaporates quickly from off the nail and skin."
When it comes to filing your nails, Bachik recommends getting a separate file and buffer. He also advised getting one that's a higher grit for a smoother look.
"The higher the number the smoother the file/buffer, so 100 grit would be more coarse and 240, 320, etc. would be smoother and smoother," Bachik told us.
The secret to a great manicure? It's all about the cuticles. This tool is made of stainless steel for easy cleaning, while the edges were designed to prevent excess scratching.
"A perfect mani isn’t perfect without meticulous cuticles and well-hydrated skin," Bachik told us.
Another favorite of his, this cuticle nipper was designed for both right- and left-handed users. It was created with a sharp precision point to make snipping excess cuticles as painless as possible. Just use a small amount of pressure and snip away!
When used as a base coat, this prepares the nail for color application, while also providing natural nutrients to help the nail grow faster and stronger.
After applying your nail polish, Bachik suggests dipping a lip or eyeliner brush in acetone to help clean up the edges. This particular brush is specially tapered for extra precision.
A favorite of Bachik, this top coat was created to be quick-drying and prevents nails from yellowing. It also aims to provide high gloss and prevent any abrasion.
Considered one of his most important tools, this cuticle conditioner mixes together three natural oils with vitamin E to soften cuticles and condition and strengthen nails.
"A great cuticle oil is so important, especially now," Bachik told us. "Our hands and nails are so dehydrated with at-home gel removals, hand-washing with antimicrobial soaps and constant use of hand sanitizers. Use after your at-home manicure and, as I recommend for my clients, nightly before bed to help maintain healthy, hydrated nails and skin with that beautiful youthful glow."
For a longer-lasting manicure, Bachik also advises using Isopropyl alcohol before applying your base coat to cleanse the nail and remove any oils and contaminants that can interfere with adhesion before polishing.
Top-rated at-home manicure tools
With an average 4.6-star rating from over 1,200 verified reviewers on Amazon, this nail file will get your fingers mani-ready in no time. Its special patented surface protects your nail from splitting or peeling while filing, and its abrasive surface never wears out.
Give your cuticles some much-needed TLC. Loaded with soothing, moisturizing ingredients like sweet almond oil and vitamins B5 and E, it's designed to leave your cuticles healthier and stronger over time.
Miss the feeling of a nail technician rigorously buffering your nails? You can recreate the experience inside your own home with this buffering block from Onsen Secret.
Instead of aggressively blowing on your nails, apply these drops from Olive & June to dry your nail polish quickly. Users call it a "mani saver" and love how it also leaves your cuticles "so hydrated."
Finally, leave your hands feeling soft and silky post-manicure with this rich moisturizing cream from Caudalie. Concentrated with active ingredients like antioxidants, shea butter, olive oil and vitamin E, this natural, organic lotion is perfect for targeting dry, cracked skin.
For more stories like this, check out:
- Best long-lasting nail polishes, top coats and base coats
- Celebrity nail artists share easy ways to transform your at-home manicure
- We tried the $8 cuticle cream taking over Amazon and loved the results
- Get professional-quality nails with this gel manicure kit — and it's only $32