For anyone out there who fancies themselves as a bit of a nail art expert, a good manicure kit is indispensable. Full of tools and accessories to help create a myriad of gorgeous manicures, these kits often perplex those who are les au-fey with the world of nail art and its wondrous curiosities...
Luckily, we have a quick and easy guide to help you get to grips with all the most important things in any nail art kit. Here goes...
Despite the fact they look like an instrument of torture, cuticle nippers are actually quite friendly. They're used to remove any bits of skin that make cuticles look messy and, on occasion, a little bit gnarly. They also have a rather brilliant, if slightly odd, name...
A nail file
As you might already know, nail files are used to file nails... funny that. They come in cardboard, metal, glass or electric format, all of which are to be used cautiously to avoid damaging nails.
Warning: A nail buffer is a totally different thing, used to polish the front of the nail. A nail file should NEVER be used to do this as it is to abrasive and will only result in scratched, damaged nails.
These are usually pointed on one end and more rounded on the other and are used to add the finer details to more intricate manicures.
Expert tip: You can use a hair pin to do exactly the same thing.
A cuticle pusher
Like the nail file, this is a fairly self-explanatory object. Cuticle pushers come in either wood or metal and, as you've probably already guessed, they push cuticles back... FYI, wooden ones are better for soft cuticles as they're more flexible. Wooden cuticle pushers also have a pointed end which can be used to correct mistakes with nail polish.
A little less sticky than regular tape, masking tape is an absolute must-have for nail art fans. It's used to achieve straight edges and geometric designs when applying different colored nail polished to one nail. Japanese-style washi tape is also really useful for this.
Those are the basics with which you can achieve more pretty, interesting, detailed, statement manicures than you could shake a stick (or a nail file) at!