The pandemic has effectively ended many of our usual beauty routines, from blowouts to facials to manicures. And while we don’t have anywhere to go to show off our style just yet, we have been impressed by the number of clever options the beauty industry has come up with to help us feel pampered and put-together at home.
One of the hardest things to nail by yourself is manicures. Unless you’re ambidextrous, we’d bet you’ve had a tedious time trying. That’s why we’ve pulled together the most clever solutions for manicures at home—a perfect way to sit back, relax, and treat yourself while we all wait out the pandemic.
Scratch Nail Wraps
Scratch nail wraps by nail artist Nina Park will give you a high-end designer manicure at home—for $10 and in just a few minutes. The super-thin, patterned nail wraps are made from “5-free” vegan polish ink (read: they’re made without the five toxic chemicals typically found in nail polish) and come in a range of shades, from elegant solids and sweet florals to edgy geometric designs. They lie flush on the nail bed (Park compares the texture to smooth medical tape) and, for those who overdid the acrylics before the pandemic, are damage-free and actually protect your nails from breakage.
Olive & June Poppy
If you’ve ever tried (and failed) to paint your nails by yourself, let us introduce you to Olive & June’s Poppy. This nifty tool creates a large, easy-to-hold handle for your nail polishes, giving you better grip, smoother strokes, and all-around better control over your polish—especially when you have to use your nondominant hand. It’s compatible with any of Olive & June’s polishes—which are vegan, cruelty-free, and made without seven harsh chemicals typically found in nail polish. You can buy them separately or get The Mani System, which includes a polish, Poppy, and other manicure essentials for $50.
Sundays nontoxic nail polish
If you’re trying to clean up your beauty products even beyond 5-free, Sundays’ nontoxic nail polishes and nail care products might be just what you’re looking for. While you can’t visit the New York-based wellness salon’s storefront right now, you can still buy its long-lasting, trendy-colored polishes—which are free of chemicals such as formaldehyde, toluene, DBP, formaldehyde resin, and camphor. In fact, these polishes are so clean, one Fast Company editor reports they don’t even smell like regular nail polish, describing a “natural, essential oil scent that’s actually really pretty.” Pair the polish with the company’s Healing Cuticle Serum, made with bacteria-fighting myrrh and moisturizing jojoba oils, to leave your hands looking (and smelling) beautiful.
The Hand Cream by Nécessaire
Part of having hands that look (and feel) good is a good hand cream, and Nécessaire’s obsessively researched lotions are some of the best we’ve come across. The company was founded by Into the Gloss cofounder Nick Axelrod and former Estée Lauder executive Randi Christiansen—two people who know a lot about formulating beauty products. The company’s extensive “yes list” and “no list” show all the ingredients it does and doesn’t use, as well as its Environmental Working Group ratings. The resulting line is free of irritating ingredients like parabens, phthalates, sulfates, or silicones, and fragrances. Sephora beauty director Myiesha Sewell says: “[It] contains niacinamide, hyaluronic acid, and marula oil, which are ingredients known to improve overall hydration and moisture retention in the skin. Wet skin accepts moisture a lot easier than dry skin, so I apply it right after I wash my hands or straight out of the shower.”
Sundays Soy Nail Polish Remover
If you’re going to do your nails at home, you’ll have to remove the polish eventually, but anyone who’s used nail polish remover before knows how harsh it can be just from the smell alone. Sundays’ nontoxic, soy-based nail polish remover eliminates the harsh fumes and potential side effects of acetone and replaces it with soy and citrus oils to gently remove polish and add moisture back into the nail. Sundays founder Amy Ling Lin notes that while acetone removes polish more quickly, she believes the act of home manicures should be savored. “I think right now people’s self-care mentality is focused on taking time to take care of your body,” she says. “Like slow fashion, this is slow beauty. Your nails will get better because of your effort.”
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