Let’s be real: though a great polish color is crucial, you need good nails if you want to rock the perfect manicure. Since we’re not all professional hand models, we rely on brilliant products to keep our nails in good nick—and there’s an entire spectrum of them out there designed to fix all your worst nail problems. Not only that, but sometimes nail care basics actually help your favorite polish perform better. Whatever your nail problem, we’ve rounded up the product to fix it—so get ready to take your manicure to another level.
Deborah Lippmann All About That Base CC Base Coat ($20, deborahlippmann.com)
The problem: Ridges and unevenness.
When we first tried Deborah Lippmann’s CC Base Coat, it (obviously) reminded us instantly of a CC cream for your nail beds. This product helps smooth over your nails, fills in ridges and even brightens the color of the nail bed. It also is formulated to strengthen and moisturize your nails, something that helps stop lacquer from doing its silent damage. It dries matte, but you can still apply a glossy polish over-top of it. And in our experience, it works especially well with nudes.
LONDONTOWN Instant Smudge Fix ($14, londontownusa.com)
The problem: smudges.
Raise your hand if this has happened to you: you’ve just gotten the best manicure of your life, only to move just a little bit too soon and smudge your polish. That’s where this little bottle of magic comes in: apply a single coat overtop of your smear and it smooths it over instantly, so you don’t have to remove your polish and start from scratch.
Aquaphor Healing Ointment Tube ($4.24, target.com)
The problem: dry, cracked cuticles.
Though we love a pricey cuticle cream, in our experience, nothing works better on dry fingers than Aquaphor. The heavy duty formula can work wonders on sad cuticles. Just dab a tiny bit on, rub it in, and reap the rewards.
Professional Manicure Kit by KISS ($11, walgreens.com)
The problem: too-long nails.
Sometimes you crack a nail and there’s just no saving it—so it’s time for a quick trim. You’ll need the proper accouterments to get the job done right. This kit by KISS not only includes your clippers, but emery boards, little scissors, buffers, and a nail brush. Oh, all for a little over 10 bucks. Not bad, right?
Perfect Formula Repair Coat ($28, sephora.com)
The problem: weak, breakable nails.
Too many gel manis got your nails in a downward spiral? Try this amazing product that’s designed to strengthen super weak or peeling nails. It’s also formulated with jojoba oil to add in extra moisture to dehydrated nail beds.
JINsoon Top Gloss Top Coat ($18, nordstrom.com)
The problem: polish that ALWAYS chips.
You can get that super glossy finish at home, too. It’s really all in the top coat you choose. This quick-dry JINsoon formula is a regular backstage at New York Fashion Week and gives nails a pretty, picture-worthy look. Plus, a solid top coat is the key to a chip-free mani, as we know.
More From Daily Makeover: The 5 Best Alternatives to Gel Manicures