This review is not sponsored. The Manicure Kit was gifted and this review does contain affiliate links, which means we may earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase. As always, we only make recommendations that are genuine.

I haven’t worn nail polish regularly in… I don’t even know how long. It’s been years.

I’ll give myself a low-manicure every once in a while, or even go get my nails done at my local low-tox nail salon for special occasions.

But in my regular day-to-day: my nails are bare.

It’s partly a preference thing. I know that for a lot of folks, having their nails done is almost an essential part of feeling like “themselves.” But it’s just not my thing.

But also, as someone who is relatively sensitive to smells, I just don’t like how strong nail polish smells. Even some of the less toxic brands that are “10-free,” “21-free,” etc. can still come with fumes.

So, when I learned about the Bare Hands Dry Gloss Manicure Kit, I was immediately intrigued.

I mean, first of all, the Kit itself just looks nice. It’s a little piece of minimalistic luxury that I want to have.

The concept of the dry gloss manicure is this: you give your nails and cuticles some love using a few simple tools (a buffer and a nourishing oil), and you end up with shiny, smooth, polished nails—but without any actual nail polish!

The main Dry Gloss Manicure Set comes with:

  • The Polisher (moon-shaped buffer stone)
  • Cuticle Oil
  • 2 wooden sticks for pushing the cuticles back
  • a cloth for cleaning The Polisher
  • a vegan leather case

P.S. If you’re already ready to buy, you can use the code THEFILTERY for 10% off your Dry Gloss Manicure Set.

In addition to the standard Manicure Kit, they also have other options, like:

One thing I really appreciated is that the kit comes with a QR code so that first-time users can easily access How-To videos that walk you through how to do it:

bare hands tutorial The Filtery

If your cuticles are in need of some serious love (mine definitely were! 😆), then they walk you through an optional first step, which includes a homemade cuticle scrub using oil (I used coconut) and sugar:

Next, you use The Polisher to buff your nails and your cuticles.

This is what makes your nail shiny! It’s kind of like a nail file, but not nearly as rough and shaped to polish the top of your nails & cuticles instead of the edge.

It’s a half-moon shape so that you can more easily file your cuticles and the curve of your nail bed.

You’re basically buffing off the very top layer of your nail that has a rough, lined, matte texture and replacing it with a smooth finish that looks like a clear coat of polish (even though there’s no polish there).

I will say that the first time I gave myself a dry gloss manicure, it did take some time and a little bit of elbow grease to get my nails sufficiently shiny. But then after you to do it for the first time, it’s much easier & faster to maintain. You can just to a little “maintenance” for a few minutes while you’re watching TV in the evening or whatever. (Wait for the nail to grow out completely back to ‘dull’ before you polish again. This allows the nail to regenerate fully and give you a better chance of creating a stronger nail.)

It does take a little of practice to buff with your non-dominant hand. But it gets easier as you do it. Bare Hands recommends that instead of moving The Polisher back and forth, you actually hold the tool steady with your non-dominant hand and move the nail of your dominant hand back and forth instead.

Hot Tip:

The first time you do your dry gloss manicure (or if it’s been a while), it can be a little messy because there’s quite a bit of nail dust. You may want to use a towel and/or not wear dark-colored clothing.

bare hands review on The Filtery

The last step is to apply the Cuticle Oil (which comes in a twist-up brush) to your nail bed and cuticles.

The Cuticle Oil is made of a blend of nourishing oils that are good for nail & skin health: jojoba, castor, olive, grape seed, sweet almond, sesame seed, and sea buckthorn.

You can choose between Unscented or Citrine, which just includes citrine essential oil. I chose the Citrine and I really like it. It’s very light & pleasant scent that’s not overpowering at all.

The Bare Hands team recommends you apply the Cuticle Oil weekly, or as needed.

natural manicure bare nails review on

My dry gloss manicure: before & after!

Here are my before & after pics! (I didn’t edit either of these, but yes, the lighting is better on the AFTER pic—the sun came out!) But see how much shinier my nails are? There’s no gloss on them—they’re just buffed!

The Manicure Kit I got did not come with a nail file or clippers, but of course I already had those. I’m happy to say that I can stick my file and small pair of clippers into the Bare Hands case and it still closes easily without anything falling out. So now, I can carry everything I need for a full manicure in one cute little case:

bare hands manicure set on

So, to sum it all up: I love the Bare Hands Dry Gloss Manicure Kit and I definitely recommend it for anyone who wants a truly minimalistic, non-toxic manicure (that still feels luxurious!). It will leave you with smooth, shiny, polished nails—with zero toxic chemicals.

Folks with chemical sensitivities don’t have to be left out of the nice nail club. 😉

Use the code THEFILTERY for 10% off your Dry Gloss Manicure Set.

If you have any questions about my experience with Bare Hands that I didn’t address here, feel free to leave a comment below and I’ll try to address them!

PS: To stay updated on the latest toxin-related news, get more exclusive tips & tricks, and more delivered to your inbox once a week, sign up for Filtered Fridays. (And of course, we value your privacy and you can unsubscribe at anytime.)

About Abbie

Abbie Davidson is the Creator & Editor of The Filtery. With almost a decade of experience in sustainability, she researches and writes content with the aim of helping people minimize environmental toxins in an in-depth yet accessible way.

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