From "painter's tape" to stickers that make taking off a gel manicure much less laborious, innovative new products in the nail care industry mean that DIY manicures and creative nail art are getting easier and more interesting than ever.
This push for new technology, tools and user-friendly products has been going full speed ahead for several years since nails have become an accessory akin to a statement bag or bracelet. And there's no sign of any slowdown. In 2014, Americans spent $8.45 billion on nail services, up from $8.28 billion in 2013, according to Nails Magazine, a trade publication.
In addition to demand, the innovations in nail care can also be attributed to what celebrity nail expert Tom Bachik calls a blurring of lines between professional and consumer products.
"Companies have been trying to make products safer, since professional manicurists are being exposed to them all day," says Bachik, whose regular clients include Beyoncé, Jennifer Lopez and Jennifer Aniston. "If the product is safe enough for pros, then they become safer for use at home, and that opens that door to bring it to the consumer."
That's good news for anyone who relishes the ritual of painting her own nails or who wants more efficient and advanced tools and polish options.
Here are several new products that address ease of application, high shine, strong nails and long-lasting color.
Liquid Palisade by Kiesque This handy little tool is like painter's tape for nails. Swipe some onto the cuticle before lacquering nails, and the product acts as a protective barrier between the skin and nail. After polish is applied, you peel it off and it takes any excess polish with it, without interfering with what's on the nail. It can also be used like a stencil directly on the nail surface, to create designs or a template for a clean French manicure. $22 at kiesque.com.
Butter London Patent Shine 10X Lacquer The high-shine polish made with shock-resisting polymer technology comes in 14 shades and promises 10 different benefits to the nail, including up to 10 days of wear, a gel-like look, fade-resistant color and strength-building calcium. It's available starting this month for $18 a bottle at Ulta and butterlondon.com.
Formula X Sheer Strength A sheer polish that comes in 10 mostly neutral shades, the lacquer is packed with keratin and botanical extracts to strengthen and protect the nail. $12.50 at sephora.com.
Jenna Hipp Clean Sweep Nail Polish Remover Pads A new addition to self-proclaimed "green" celebrity nail stylist Jenna Hipp's self-titled line, these 100% oil-based polish remover pads are made of only five ingredients and are void of any parabens, petrochemicals, phthalates, synthetic fragrances or mineral oil. $28 at beautysmostwanted.com.
Tweezerman Neon Hot File, Buff, Smooth, Shine Block A 4-in-1 tool for shaping and filing. Each side comes with replacements that slip in and eliminate the need to buy a new filing tool when one side gets worn down. $10 at tweezerman.com.
Infinite Shine from OPI A three-step polish that delivers the high shine and vivid color of gel, but without the need for UV lights or the acetone soak to take it off. Known for its array of colors, OPI has created 30 new shades as well as a primer and Infinite Shine topcoat that cures in natural light. $12.50 at ulta.com.
SensatioNail Nail Shield This sticker acts as a barrier between the nail and gel polish, protecting the nail while also making the gel removal process much simpler. Before going for a gel manicure, place the shield on the nail bed and trim to fit. The sticker can be lifted and pulled right off rather than having to soak fingertips in acetone. $7.99 at sensationail.com.
L'Oréal Paris Extraordinaire Gel-Lacque Nail 1-2-3 A three-step gel manicure kit that works to "plump" up nails so they appear ridge-free and glossy. The 22 shades in the line can all be applied without the use of a UV light and claim a chip-free and fade-free finish. $12.99 for a kit including Step 1 (primer) & 3 (glaze); individual nail shades are available for $7.99 each at lorealparisusa.com.