The proper tools and products are the key to a professional-looking manicure or pedicure at home. This post lists all the essentials along with a few indulgent extras. I’ve tried to find the very best in each category including tools and products that are professional quality, cleverly designed, and top rated. A range of price points is represented though professional tools are well worth the cost. They are an investment, but these items will save you both time and money in the long run, especially if you’re a regular at your local nail salon or spa. This post serves as a buying guide for my recent post The Ultimate DIY Spa Pedicure as well as The Naked Nail: A How-To, which details the foundation for all my manicures.
Click through the slideshow below for the essential mani-pedi tools to achieve professional results at home.
The Essential Tools for a Professional Mani-Pedi at Home 1 of 12
Exfoliators 2 of 12
I have several exfoliating tools in my house. I stash them in the shower and under the sink and make it a point to use them on my rough, dry heels and calluses every day. Metal rasps are the most effective at removing dead skin, foot files are great for buffing away rough patches on dry skin, and pumice stones are great gentle and natural choice.
2. Microplane Colossal Pedicure Foot Rasp $20 for 2
3. Soap & Glory Utterly Fantastic Foot Buffer $14.68
4. Tweezerman Professional Pedro Callus Stone $20
5. Biosana Swiss Foot File $18
6. Diamancel Diamond Foot Buffer $49
Cuticle Pushers 3 of 12
One tool to not skimp on is a cuticle pusher. Professional metal tools are the best for efficiently removing excess cuticle from the nail bed, but I've included one highly-rated plastic option here in case you are on a tight budget.
1. Mehaz Professional Cuticle Pusher $19.99
2. Contour Cuticle Pusher $3.99
Cuticle Removers 4 of 12
These products soften dead skin cells around the base of your nails. Apply them prior to using a cuticle pusher to easily remove excess cuticle.
1. C.N.D. Cuticle Eraser $11
2. Sally Hansen Instant Cuticle Remover $4.74
3. Butter London Melt Away Cuticle Eliminator $18
4. Deborah Lippmann Cuticle Remover $20
Cuticle Nippers 5 of 12
I recommend investing in high quality cuticle nippers. A good set will last for years and will be sharp enough to easily remove hangnails and excess cuticle without damaging the area.
1. Antoine Cobalt Inox Stainless Steel Cuticle Nipper $24.99
2. Tweezerman Satin Etched Zebra Cuticle Nipper $30
3. Satin Edge Comfort Grip Cuticle Nipper $10.02
4. Mehaz 777 4" Cuticle Nipper $35.95
Shaping Tools 6 of 12
A good file or emery board is a mani-pedi must. Metal or glass files will last longer and can be sanitized, making them a great choice if you plan on sharing your tools. Emery boards are inexpensive, convenient, and come in fun colors and patterns.
1. Paul & Joe Beaute Emery Board $5
2. Nail TEK Crystal File with Pink Case $9.60
Buffers 7 of 12
Adding a good buffer to your manicure bag is good idea. Not only will they buff your nails to a brilliant shine, but they can be used to smooth ends of nails after filing or smoothing rough patches or nail splits.
Nail Clippers 8 of 12
Every household has at least one pair of nail clippers but these incredible finds make turn a chore into a joy. Use them to trim nails without effort and enjoy their unique, functional designs.
1. Clyppi Fingernail Clippers $15
Cuticle Oils & Creams 9 of 12
Removing excess cuticle with cuticle removers, pushers, and nippers can leave the area dry and sensitive. Follow up with a nice cuticle oil or cream to replace lost moisture, and soften tissue.
1. e.l.f. Essential Nourishing Cuticle Pen $1
2. Dr. Hunter's Cuticle Cream $6
3. CND Solar Oil $7.50
4. OPI Avoplex Cuticle Oil To Go $7.50
Polish Removers 10 of 12
Not all polish removers are created equal! These high performing products take off even glitter polishes with ease.
1. Sephora Collection Instant Nail Polish Remover $9.50
2. Zoya Remove Polish Removers $11.73
3. Butter London Scrubbers 2-in1 Nail Prep & Remover Pads $10
4. Essie Naturally Clean Purifying Polish Remover $6
Polish Clean Up 11 of 12
The trick to getting a professional-looking polish job is the clean up. Use a nail brush or the tip of an orangewood stick wrapped in a little cotton with nail polish remover to erase mistakes. A clean-up pen combines a brush and remover for convenience.
1. Sally Hansen Quick Care Clean Up for Manicures $7.84
2. DL Professional French Manicure Clean-Up Nail Brush $4.29
3. Debra Lynn Orangewood Sticks $.69 for 12
4. Essie Nail Corrector Pen $14
Extras 12 of 12
These items aren't essential but may be helpful. A nice foot spa and manicure bowl are handy if you do your nails often. An electric foot buffer makes exfoliation to a whole new (high-tech) level and an ultra-softening paraffin bath brings a bit of luxury to your DIY hand and foot care routine.
2. Brookstone Aqua Jet Foot Spa $129.99
3. Gel Nails Toe Separators $.29
5. Sharper Image Paraffin Bath Treatment $49.99