There’s a reason you don’t see that many posts featuring my nails here on the blog, and that’s because they look less than picturesque on a regular basis. The truth of the matter is, I’m too cheap to go to the salon and I’m pretty messy when I do my own nails. It’s always the same story: I spend about an hour doing my nails, whether I’m just using one shade or trying my hand at nail art… then immediately smudge them. Can anyone relate?

Over the years, however, I’ve discovered a handful of products that make at-home manicures a little easier for messy, impatient people like myself. Maybe you’re prone to smudges, or you love the look of nail art but don’t have the steady hand to do it– these products will help elevate your nail game.

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1. Magique SecondSkin Easy-Peel Polish Barrier
This product can seriously transform your manicure by protecting your cuticles from color! Paint this polish barrier on the skin around your nail, then paint as normal. Peel the SecondSkin off to reveal a clean cuticle, free of polish smudges! This is great if you have a hard time staying inside the lines, and makes your at-home manicure look instantly neater.

2. Nail Striping Tape
Love the look of stripes, but don’t want to juggle paint bottles and brushes and tools? Use striping tape to add pizazz to your design. Stick some on top of your nail to create stripes or a geometric design of your own. You can also use it underneath nail polish– pull off to reveal an effortless negative space manicure.

3. OPI Drip Dry Lacquer Drying Drops
If you’re like me, you probably have a hard time sitting still waiting for your mani to dry. The OPI Drip Dry makes your nail polish feel dry to the touch in one minute, and have it completely dry in just five with a couple drops. I don’t know how it works… probably magic… but I’ve used this during lunch-break manicures where I needed to get out the door quickly, and it totally worked. I even reached in my purse to grab my credit card without smudges!

4. ORLY Epix Flexible Color & Sealcoat
This nail polish and top coat duo boasts long wear due to its flexible formula that moves with your nails to prevent cracks and chips. The coolest part? It fixes smudges on its own, using polymers that let the finish bounce back after getting dinged or dented. It wears like a gel, but comes off like a polish for a low maintenance and stress-free manicure from start to finish.

5. Ulta Beauty Quick Touch Nail Polish Remover Pen
I don’t know about you, but I’m always getting nail polish where it’s not supposed to be. Only problem: touching a cotton ball soaked in acetone is a dangerous game with a fresh mani. This nail polish remover pen makes it easy to erase mistakes, especially in hard-to-reach areas like your cuticles or under the nail.

6. LONDONTOWN Kur Instant Smudge Fix
One of my personal manicure must-haves every single time, the Instant Smudge Fix will smooth out any mistakes made while you’re still painting your nails. No need to start from scratch– just paint over your color and any smudge or ding will flatten out. Then, layer your shade on top for a smooth finish.

7. Sally Hansen I Heart Nail Art Pen
Another easy way to conquer nail art, this pen dispenses nail color from a fine brush tip that’s easy to hold in pen form. Whether you want to add cheetah print, or just a white tip for DIY french nails, this pen makes the process easy.

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What products make your manicures easier?


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