1. Base coat and top coat
If you’ve read any of my other posts you will know the emphasis that I place on these. I like the Quick Dry base coat by Revlon and Pro Super Wear top coat by Rimmel which has now been renamed Finishing Touch. I personally don’t find the 2 in 1 base and top coats to be at all effective.
2. A selection of nail varnishes in a wide range of colours
I have found having a black and a white very helpful as they are used in so many nailart designs. There are plenty of good brands available on the market. Personally I find Essie can be quite transparent. OPI gives excellent coverage but can be fairly expensive. I like Revlon as it gives a strong, vibrant finish with only two coats and I often find it in a 3 for 2 offer. Fragrance Direct offer good discounts on nail polish.
3. A few nailart pens
To begin with I was attempting nailart with no nailart pens at all and was wholly reliant on a nail varnish brush. I tried using a cocktail stick but it was incredibly time consuming with poor results. It is possible to execute some basic nailart designs using just a brush but the finished product is rarely neat and generally far from perfect. If I were to recommend one nailart pen colour it would be black. The brands I use are Nail Art and Nails Supreme.
4. Glitter nail varnishes
These aren’t essential but can often complete a design or at least add a little bit of sparkle if you want to make a gradual branch into nailart. Again, I have found Revlon to have some good colours.
Nowadays the variety of nail rhinestones, caviar, glitter etc is prolific. They can be pretty fiddly but are easier to master with both hands than a nailart pen. It is rare that a sequinned manicure will be very resilient but if you re-apply your top coat regularly then they tend to last longer.
These cosmetic sponges are only necessary if you want to try an ombre effect which fades from one colour to another. It is a fun and fairly simple manicure and always gets noticed.
7. Hole punch reinforcements
If you want to go for a variation on a French manicure then these hole punch reinforcements can be very useful in helping you keep to neat lines but you need to make sure that your nails have completely dried before applying them.
There you have some initial recommendations. See More Recommended Nailart Equipment for further ideas.