This morning I thought it'd be interesting to gather up some of the most useful nail items that I use every day and take a quick pic of them! Some are specific gems, some are generic essentials and some are household items that are surprisingly useful. I'll do a list with product names and links to buy the items where applicable...
Washing-up Sponge: You can use this for gradients, sponging on sparse glitters to get more coverage, applying tattoo-style water decals... very handy!
Glass Nail File: I received mine for review from Mont Bleu and have used it every day since to keep my nails in a neat squoval shape.
Boots Double-Faced Cotton Pads: These are for removing my nail polish. I always buy the double-faced ones because they don't fall apart when soaked with remover.
Boots Essentials Nail Polish Remover: I hugely recommend this. It only costs £1 yet it does its job perfectly and doesn't dry your skin out at all. Amazing.
Wooden Cuticle Sticks: I use these for cleaning up nail polish from my cuticles as I go along. I buy them cheap from either Tesco or Superdrug and couldn't do my nails without them.
Origami Paper: This is a random one, but I just use these little pieces of paper to wipe my cuticle sticks on as I go (and also to make little origami birds of course).
Lush Lemony Flutter Cuticle Butter: I'm on my 4th tub of this and use it every time I remove nail polish to moisturise my cuticles. I know lots of nail bloggers recommend this and with good reason!
French Tip Guides: Little stickers for getting a perfect French tip, or something more creative. Charlies Nail Art (linked) sells sheets of them for 25p.
Page Reinforcer Stickers: You get these from the stationery section! They're meant for ring binders but you can use them for half-moon manis and extra curvy French tips.
Cotton Buds: Soaked in nail polish remover, they're essential for cuticle cleanup.
Konad Black & White Stamping Polishes: Stamping is my favourite nail art technique and I go to my two bottles of Konad very often to get a good, solid pattern. I tend to shop for these on Amazon.
Stampers: Squishy stampers are my favourite! They're handy for getting full-nail patterns to apply well. My rectangular stamper was sent to me for review from Born Pretty Store, and I found the circular one on eBay.
Nail Glue: Great for getting rhinestones and charms to stay on your nails! I don't use mine that often but it's still very useful to have around.
Nail Polish Thinner: I have hundreds of bottles of nail polishes and swear by this to keep them useable. When you feel like one of your polishes is getting too thick, you just add a few drops of this. I use the brand Profile and am on my second bottle despite a little bit going a long way!
Sèche Vite Top Coat: I am also on my second bottle of this... my second salon-sized bottle. It dries quickly, adds lovely gloss to your nails and the big bottle set is a bargainous £18.49 on Amazon.
OPI Natural Nail Base Coat: This also dries quickly and does its job as a base coat wonderfully.
Peel-Off Base Coat: This is great for making glitter manicures easily removable, especially if you're not planning on wearing the mani for long. I use Miss Sporty's version but I have a strong suspicion that it is actually PVA glue... which I would recommend for cheapness ;-)
Matte Top Coat: With these you can mattify any nail polish and do manicure ideas like a chalkboard mani. I found my Nails Inc version on sale at a market stall, but quite a few high street brands offer matte top coats at a good price - I can think of Barry M, Models Own and Rimmel.
Mademoiselle by Essie: I'm including this polish because I love sheer polishes and use them very often! They're great for a traditional French or as a base for nail art, and the blushing Mademoiselle is especially lovely.
Phew!!! This list isn't exhaustive, but they are what comes to mind when I think of my essentials. Do you use any of these? Am I missing anything? Let me know!