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The Best Nail Pens

Last updated on November 14, 2022

Our Review Process

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Our Picks For The Top Nail Pens

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Product Overview
Key Takeaway
 Top Pick

ALEX Toys Sketch It Nail Gems & Nail Pens Kit

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Sketch It Nail Gems & Nail Pens Kit

Especially good for getting started, this set gives you five pens along with extras like gems and stickers for decorating your nails. The pens have two tips where one looks like a regular brush and the other is small for detail work.

Overall Take

Convenient All-in-One OptionThese pens come in handy whether you want an easy way to color your entire nails or you want to add detailed designs.

 Runner Up

FUN KIDZ Water-Based Non-Toxic Nail Pens Kit


Water-Based Non-Toxic Nail Pens Kit

Designed for children and teens, this non-toxic set comes with eight pens with both narrow and broad tips. You also get sets of artificial nails along with nail glitter and a large collection of stickers and decals.

Overall Take

Best for Younger UsersConsider this set if you'd like to introduce your children to nail art in a fun and safe way.

Buying Guide

While a regular bottle of nail polish can handle the job if you just want a simple coating, sometimes you might want to create a more intricate nail design with multiple colors or small details. That’s where nail pens make the job much easier. Each pen features either one or two tips so you can precisely apply your nail polish and make any design you can imagine. Some nail pens even have a regular nail polish brush on one end so that you can apply a full coat as well.

The most popular nail pens include polish inside of them so you don’t have to worry about buying it separately. These come in various styles and tip options. For example, some have a felt tip that you press down to make the polish flow out, while others have a container that you squeeze. You’ll also find nail polish pens with a design similar to mascara where you dip a brush into a container. In any case, dual tips are common where you have a wide tip or brush on one end and a narrow one on the other end for versatility.

You can find nail polish pens containing polish in many colors. Single-color options exist such as white pens for French manicure tips. However, you’ll more often get a set of five or more colors. You’ll want to choose the set carefully so that you have your favorite nail color options. Some kits even have glow-in-the-dark or glitter polishes if you want something more creative.

You’ll also come across nail pen sets that simply contain brush and dotting tools that you can use with nail polish you already have or purchase some separately. These are especially handy for detail work since you can find very narrow tips that suit complex designs. At the same time, you can find sets with wider brushes that suit adding strips on your nails. If you opt for these standalone nail design tools, you’ll want to make sure they’re suitable for the type of polish you plan to use such as gel or acrylic.

What to Look For

  • Nail pen sets that target children often come with various accessories. For example, they might include a book that provides children with nail design ideas along with nail decorations such as stickers, gems and stencils. Some kits even have faux nails that kids can decorate so they don’t have to put polish on their natural nails.
  • If your nail pens contain polish, check the instructions so that you use them properly and avoid issues getting the polish to come out. For example, you may need to shake the nail pen first. If it’s a felt-tip pen, you may also need to press the tip down on some paper to get the polish flowing first.
  • It’s recommended to put on a base coat before you start adding designs with your nail pens. This is especially easy if your pen includes polish and has a regular brush end, but you can use regular polish from home if it doesn’t. If you don’t want a color underneath, you can always use a clear coat.
  • After you finish decorating your nails, you’ll want to apply a top coat to keep your fun look lasting longer.
  • Especially when you just start making nail art, you may make mistakes or get the polish on your skin. You can always start over either by wiping off the wet polish with a tissue or using nail polish remover.
  • Waiting for your nails to dry can be inconvenient, so you might consider quick-dry polish options. You can also use something like a nail dryer. Plus, if you’re using gel polish, you’ll want to have a UV or LED lamp handy to cure it.
  • Always keep the cap on nail pens with polish inside so you can avoid having them dry out. You’ll also want to clean off the tip of any nail pen after you use it.
  • If you’re buying nail pens for kids, look for products that are marketed as non-toxic and water-based.
  • While it’s not too common, some nail pens are refillable so you can add polish from home once the pen runs out.

More to Explore

Check out these interesting facts about nail polish and nail art:

  • While nail pens are a much newer creation, nail polish itself dates back to over 5,000 years in China. The early form used natural ingredients such as beeswax and vegetable dyes rather than the chemicals used today.
  • Did you know the concept of modern nail polish came from an adapted form of car paint in the early 1900s?
  • Popular nail polish brands such as Cutex and Revlon date back to the 1920s and 1930s.
  • The designs you can make with nail pens can range from the simple to extremely unique. While many people use them to add simple dots, lines or flowers to their nails, others create holiday scenes, make 3D designs or even draw faces on them. Once you get some practice and exercise your creativity, there are few limits to what you could make.

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