If you’re set on a manicure in a box, try one of the Olive and June Mani Kits. They offer polishes and the high-quality tools you need without all the extra junk. Depending on the option you go with, you’ll get a nail clipper, file, buffer, nail polish remover, thin nail brush, cuticle serum, polish, and a universal polish bottle handle that helps keep you steady.
But as nice as it is to have a freshly painted manicure, nail polish chips all too frequently. Try nail stickers instead. I picked up Dashing Diva full-nail stickers and Olive and June accent stickers on my last trip to Target. They’re easy to put on—all you need is a file to smoothen the excess—and they come in a lot of fun prints. This sticker manicure should last over a week. You don’t have to deal with chipping or drying time, and most importantly, they don’t look like stickers.
False Nail Fix
If you typically wear acrylic or other false nails, you might need to fill in the gap from where your nails have grown.
We really like Kiss’ fill kits if you feel comfortable doing your own nails (there are endless instructions you can follow along on YouTube). Unfortunately, they’re selling out fast so if you can’t find them online, try looking for them when you’re out shopping for other essentials like food and toilet paper. You can also try Kiss’ dip kits, which might be an easier interim solution.
If you’re not feeling confident enough to try your hand at a DIY professional manicure, now’s a good time to give your nails a break and let your natural nails strengthen up. Kiss also makes easy-to-use, affordable soak-off kits. All you need to do is pop the included caps on your nails and wait a few minutes. The layers of polish, acrylic, and glue will come right off, allowing your natural nails to breathe.
Press-on nail kits are also good alternatives, too. I (Louryn) swear by Kiss’ false nail sets—a manicure using them lasts me about 10 days—but ImPress nails are also great for temporary wear. Other brands we like include Static Nails and NailHur.
Try Nail Art
I had a horrible nail-biting habit for the first half of my life. The only thing that stopped it was when my college roommates and I got really into nail art. Pinterest has tons of fantastic ideas and it’ll become your new best friend for all things nail art.
If your polish collection is lacking, you don’t have to go out and buy every Essie color there is (at $9 a pop, it adds up quickly). As long as you’ve got one or two base colors, look for design polishes with a long, fine brush like this kit from Kiss. They make it easy to do line designs or to add a pop of color to otherwise basic nails.
If you’ve already got a solid collection of colors, opt for thin nail polish brushes, just be sure to clean the polish off the brush immediately so they don’t dry up. Dotting pens are other cheap tools that make it easy to draw flowers and polka dots. If you want to go all-in, you can go for a set that includes brushes, dotting pens, glitter, sequins, and anything else you could possibly want to put on your nails. I haven’t tried this brush set from Amazon, but it has great reviews.