My Favorite DIY Manicure Products + Neutral Nail Polish Colors | the best base + top coats

by Molly Gardner

When it comes to nail products, I have narrowed down my favorites after years of trying just about every color, base coat, top coat, and polish remover on earth.

I realized important the base and top coat are to a great looking at-home manicure and I found that I always like my nails in a neutral shade.  On my toes, plums and reds win for me, but again, you can never go wrong with a gorgeous earth tone.  

Here are all of my favorite nail products, polish colors, and nail polish formulas that I have tested and stand out from the rest!

 

 

Favorite Products | Base + Top Coats

1 | Londontown KUR Nail Hardener + Base Coat 

Initially, I liked the feel of Londontown’s base and top coat, but then went on a weeklong trip and came home with my manicure still perfectly in place.  That’s when I fell in love with this base coat. 

I’ve never felt like any other base coat made that much of a difference before, but I truly notice the difference with this one!

I replace this base coat every 8 months to a year.  I’ve purchased 3 bottles now.

shop | Londontown Base Coat 

blank

 

2 | Londontown KUR Gel Genius Top Coat

Another favorite from Londontown!  This top coat locks down polish.  I do not get chips with this top coat, I repeat: no chips.  I just find that after about 5 days, the polish recedes ever so slightly from the top edge of my nails.  

I find that this top coat works best when it’s fresh and very thin, so I replace it every 5-6 months.  I’ve repurchased 3 times now. 

It does get slightly pricey to replace so often, but it truly does make my manicure look professionally done.

shop | Londontown gel topcoat

blank

 

Drugstore 

1 | CND Vinyl Delux Top Coat

This is an amazing drugstore top coat.  It’s not super, super glossy, but it does fuse nicely with your polish and help keep it in place!  

It’s a thin formula, so it can be reapplied in 3 days if you’d like to refresh your top coat.  I feel like it helps my nails stay strong.

shop | CND Vinyl Delux Top Coat

blank

 

2 | Zoya Naked Manicure Naked Base Coat

This Zoya base coat is a nice, gentle base coat.  I always feel like my polish comes out very smooth when I use it!  

shop | Zoya Base Coat

blank

 

Manicure Tools

Nail Polish Remover | Ella + Mila Soy Nail Polish Remover

Once you try this polish remover, there is no going back.  It’s gentle on your skin, yet removes every last bit of polish.

Get a little into a cotton round, then hold the round over your nail until you feel the polish start to loosen and dissolve, then start moving back and forth to remove the polish.

shop Ella + Mila Soy Nail Polish Remover | ulta beauty . amazon

blank

 

Cuticle Nippers | Ejuibas Cuticle Trimmer 

Quick note: cuticle trimmers should only be used to gently nip at the excess skin built up in the cuticle area.  Basically hovering horizontally over top of the hardened, excess skin and nipping.  You should never cut into your cuticles or skin.

With that note being said on their use, these are great cuticle trimmers!  They clean up the edges of my nails really nicely to prep them for polish.  The clippers are very sharp and efficient. 

shop Ejuibas Cuticle Trimmer | amazon

 

Nail File + Buffer Prep Brush | PediEgg Electric Nail Care System 

I have been using manual file boards and nail buffers, which worked great.  On a whim, I decided to try this electric file and buffer brush. 

There is a little bit of a learning curve with the electric set, like having the roller go over the nail in the direction the brush is rotating.  Also, the brush should barely be touching your nail, especially for the file for the nail edge. 

Once I figured these things out, though, there was really no comparison between the electric set and the manual.  The electric makes my nails so smooth and it’s really quick.  I love speeding up this portion of my at-home manicure and how professional the results look.

shop | PediEgg Electric Nail Care System 

 

Cuticle Clean Up Brush | Ivy-L Premium Kolinsky Manicure Brush

When I was getting a manicure in-salon, the nail tech grabbed a small, stiff brush like this and cleaned up the excess polish at the edges of my nails.  SOOO simple, but makes all the difference in my nails looking professionally done.  

You can dip this brush into a bit of polish remover, run it over your cuticles, wiping the brush on a piece of paper towel as you go.  It’s a game-changer!

shop | Ivy-L Premium Kolinsky Manicure Brush

 

Favorite Nail Polish Shades + Formulas

These are my go-to shades for my hands, I know I can reach for any one of these four shades and be happy. 

The formulas of these four particular shades are also wonderful.  Smooth, go on thin, and stay chip-free for up to 5 days.  For best results, I replace each bottle every 8-10 months.

You can shop these shades by clicking the links below, after the “shop” or by clicking directly on the polish bottle underneath the shop links. 

1 | Chanel Organdi

Why did I wait so long to buy this color? The $28 price tag put me off for so long and I really wish it hadn’t.

It’s the perfect dusty beige pink.  P e r f e c t.

It applies in super thin layers and builds beautifully in two coats.  The polish lasts me around 5-7 days before it’s time to refresh. 

Also, if you order directly from Chanel, 1: there is free (fast) shipping and 2: request the complimentary gift box at check out.  Trust me on this one, it’s a luxury experience for under $30.

shop | Chanel Organdi

blank
chanel organdi polish

_

 

2 | Zoya nail color Rue

Another go-to favorite shade and formula!  Zoya formulas are so thin, last for up to a week with no chips, and are only $10 each.  I’ve tried many colors from their line and the formula is consistently amazing. 

Rue is the prettiest light nude-mauve-tan shade.  It’s incredibly unique and I get asked about it every time I wear this color.   

It’s one of Zoya’s top selling polish colors!

shop Zoya nail color Rue | ulta beauty. amazon

blank
zoya rue polish

_

 

3 | Ella Mila desert suede

This is probably my most asked about polish shade on YouTube!  It’s slightly deeper than Zoya “Rue”, but still with a hint of mauve. 

I have repurchased this shade and the second bottle was slightly darker more mauve than the original.  I will purchase again, I’m hoping to goes back to the more tan version. 

The formula is very thin and applies easily.  I wear two coats. 

shop Ella Mila Desert Suede | ulta beauty 

blank
ella mila desert suede

_

 

4 | Ella Mila Sugar Fairy 

This was an Instagram ad purchase gone right!  This shade came up on my feed and caught my eye. 

I already owned Desert Suede, so I knew I liked the brand.  This is a slightly deeper and more mauve color vs. Desert Suede.  It also has a slight shimmer (not a glitter).

This shade’s formula is very thin and builds beautifully.  I wear 3 coats normally.  

shop Ella Mila Sugar Fairy | ulta beauty . amazon

blank
ella mila sugar fairy

__

best nail polish shades and manicure products

__

Here are my go-to shade for my toe polish colors.  These are such pretty shades!

1 | OPI Barefoot In Barcelona

This is my go-to neutral shade for my feet.  It’s a lovely, rich caramel shade.  I especially love it in the summer with a faux tan, but it looks great year round!

shop OPI Barefoot In Barcelona | amazonebay

blank

 

2 | OPI Red My Fortune Cookie

Dare I say, this is the perfect vibrant red shade?  Every time I wear this polish, it makes me happy.   It’s a gorgeous, warmer red shade.  It’s full coverage color in two thin coats.  I can’t say enough nice things about this shade and formula!

shop | OPI Red My Fortune Cookie

blank

 

I hope this list was helpful!  Bookmark this page, as I will keep adding to it when I get new favorite polish shades.

__

 

__

Similar Posts |

__

Social Links |

Facebook (I use this a lot for flash sale links) | Instagram @girlgetglamorous | Instagram hair extensions @girlgetglamorousHAIR | Pinterest (join over 1.4 million+ other monthly views!) | Join 60,000 + other blog readers and subscribe to the (free!) mailing list to get the latest posts straight to your inbox.

Thank you for reading and being a part of the blog!

beauty blog blogger los angeles best of reviews tutorials hair makeup

You may also like

Leave a comment below...

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.