How I organize my nail supplies – Part 1


This will be a 3 (?) part series, and the purpose of this first post is to give my reader an idea of what these essential nail supplies are that need to be organized, and why.  First the why: Online you’ll find many posts of this type from salon professionals and many from home users but I haven’t found any yet from hybrid home/salon users like myself.  My needs are such that I keep the majority of my nail supplies at home for personal use, and transport a seasonal subset of them to the salon on a weekly or bi-weekly basis.

In this post I’ll talk about the colors  and supplies I consider essential to take to the salon, plus how I transport those and some seasonal colors.

Salon essentials:

I perform primarily gel manicures using Gelish soak off gel polish, plus a handful of regular nail polish manicures  throughout the year.  I purchase most of my own supplies, and therefore store most of them at home where I can keep tabs on them. This works out well except that it means I need to decide which of my hundreds of Gelish colors to bring to the salon each time I go.  In addition to materials like cotton balls, acetone, and foil for soaking, and tools like nail clippers, pushers, and files, I consider the following to be essentials:


  • pH Bond
  • Foundation
  • Top If Off (regular, matte, and glow-in-the-dark)
  • Nourish
  • Black Shadow – a timeless plain black polish
  • Am I Making you Gelish? – a silver glitter topper
  • Arctic Freeze – one of my whites for French manicures
  • All That Glitters Is Gold  – a gold glitter topper
  • Snow Bunny- one of my whites for French manicures
  • Sheek White- one of my whites for French manicures
  • Ballerina – opaque neutral
  • Bashful – opaque neutral
  • Simple Sheer – sheer opaque neutral
  • Sweet Dream – neutral
  • Vanilla Silk- neutral
  • Ivory Coast- neutral
  • Moroccan Nights – darker neutral
  • Tassles- neutral
  • Winter Reds Collection – this collection has a red for everyone
  • You Can Make a Difference Collection – this has three versatile pink shades

All the above items plus a seasonal selection will go with me to the salon.

Seasonal Colors:

The latest collection plus the seasonal collection from the last year (or two) will always go with me to the salon.  I also try to bring the seasonal collection from the previous season plus the upcoming one. I usually also bring a few polishes that were not from collections, particularly if I am seeing a regular client and I know what she might prefer to select from.

For instance, right now I have the Sweetheart Squadron, Urban Cowgirl and After Hours collections, plus the Snow Escape and Wrapped in Glamour collections ready to go.  Until about a month ago I had the Street Beat Collection instead of The Great Ice-Scape and Wrapped in Glamour collections, just in case there was anyone who still wanted warm, bright colors rather than fall colors, since we were having unseasonably warm weather in our area at the time. I also bring colors like Mauvy-Mauve, Exhale and Glamour Queen because I have one client in particular that likes mauves.

The containers of choice for me are the Sterilite large flip-top boxes. These are the size of shoes boxes, and I find that they hold 3 or 4 collections and keep them all secure. They’re also durable and I can see the names on the bottom of the bottles if I need to. I can fit a couple of these in a large tote bag easily.

In the next post I’ll discuss how I organize all my supplies in the nail space in my home, and how my system enables me to quickly gather and easily transport the items I need a the salon.

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