The Olive & June Mani System + 3 items I would add to get the best mani!!

If you've been following me for even one minute, you know I'm a HUGE Olive & June fan!!! I actually started following them on instagram after I graduated college and was SO inspired by the nail art that they did in their salon, and really give them credit for sparking my interest in DIY! We love a full-circle moment :)

How many of you have a Mani System? This is Olive & June's at-home manicure in a box solution that has made doing your nails at home so easy and accessible! If you don't have a Mani System, I'm going to go through the components and what I like about them. And if you DO have a system, you can skip to the end because I'm going to talk about THREE items I would suggest getting in addition to the system for your best best best mani at home! And make sure to read til the end because I have a 20% off CODE (spoiler alert, it's OJKARA20)!!

Let's get into the Olive & June Mani System!  

The Box: the system comes in a box that's full of all of the tools & a pouch to keep things in. I love this box because it's really sturdy and you can use it as storage. They also release limited edition boxes each season (Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter) when they release new polish collections, or you can get their evergreen box which is light pink! 

The Tools: this system comes with all of the tools that you need for an at-home mani. If you're a beginner, this is perfect because it's everything in one place. If you're not a beginner, you can view this as an upgrade to your tools because they've curated and created the tools from the ones they used in their salons! Here's what you get:

- Straight edge clipper: I LOVE straight edge clippers now because you can truly control the shape you clip your nails into. I'll never go back to a curved clipper.

- Dual grit nail file: This file is sturdy and I love how there are two options. I like using the higher grit side (it's gentle and best for shaping your natural nails!)

Buffer: I like to use this around my tips if I have any peeling, and by my cuticle to get off any dead skin. I don't recommend using this all over your nail because it's quite abrasive.

- Acetone-free remover pot: These are a THROWBACK! I used to use them when I was younger. I really like the pot for removing one nail and being sure you don't mess up your other nails! It's super convenient and easy to use. * more on removal below!

 - Clean up brush: Where has this been all of my life?! I seriously love using this for if I get polish on my skin while I'm painting, but ALSO to clean up the cuticle area for a perfectly clean smooth look. You can also use it for nail art, it's a great little tool! 

- The Poppy: This is a little silicon "handle" that you can pop onto the top of ANY nail polish bottle and it provides and ergonomic/comfortable way to hold the brush that it's supposed to help if you're new to painting. TBH I don't really use this very much but I will say it's really comfortable and satisfying to hold. It also helps when I'm painting my non-dominant hand.

- Cuticle Serum: This is also a throwback tool!! I love how it functions. It reminds me of lipgloss I used in 8th grade lol. But anyways -- the cuticle serum is super easy to apply and I love how it's not greasy. It makes your mani look amazing especially after dehydrating it when you paint! 

- Top coat: This top coat is formulated to work with the OJ polish for a long-lasting, super shiny mani! I really like it and use it all of the time!



Ok now that we've gone through all of the items in the mani system, here are three items that I would recommend adding that I believe will UP your mani game! You can use these items even if you're a beginner, but if you've used the mani system for a while and you're ready for some extra steps, you might like these too!

- A cuticle pusher: Why do you need a cuticle pusher? A few VERY important reasons!!! First, cuticle is the dead, dry skin that grows UP on to your nail. See photo below. The eponychium is often misunderstood for the cuticle, but it is LIVING skin that protects your nails from infection. This is why it's important not to cut the living skin to avoid any pain/infection. So since the cuticle is DEAD skin it's basically just a nuisance and we should get rid of it. Cuticle can lift and it's so easy to get off. This is also a reason why your mani might not be lasting so long, because if you paint over cuticle, it will CHIP! You need to clean your nails of any foreign objects to ensure protection against chipping. 

I love this cuticle pusher because it's super ergonomic and easy to use :)

I recently launched this MANICURE PREP COURSE where I got super in-depth about my manicure prep process, the exact process I use on myself and clients! I'll show you exactly how to use this cuticle pusher and how to safely take cure of your cuticles for a flawless mani!! I am always AMAZED at how much cuticle comes off of my nails. Sometimes I don't even think I have any, but trust me it's there!!! 

- A high grit buffer: I LOVE these little buffers. The grit is so high and it's gentle enough to use all over your nail. I don't love using the OJ buffer all over my nail because it leaves grooves and scratches (if it works for you, that's great!! This is just my experience). SO I love using these little buffers after I push my cuticles back because it helps get EVEN MORE off. Seriously, a clean nail is so important for mani prep!

- ACETONE!!!: Please start using acetone if you aren't already. It removes your polish SO fast. Yes, it's drying. BUT THIS IS GOOD! If you follow the steps in the mani system for prepping your nails, after you finish shaping, you should push your cuticle back, use the tiny buffers, and then CLEANSE your nails with acetone. This will remove all oil and debris from your nails and it will be DRY & ready to be painted. A dry, clean nail is SO IMPORTANT! I can't stress this enough. I also exclusively use acetone when I clean up polish on my skin with acetone. It comes off sooo easily. You will be amazed. You can get acetone at any drug store, just look for 100% acetone. I really like these little dispensers and lint free wipes too. Lint free > cotton balls because cotton balls can leave little fibers on your nails which just get in the way! One reason I prefer an acetone cleanse over the non-acetone remover pot is because I feel like the pot has some oils or something in it that don't fully dry out my nail. I just prefer a DRY nail!


PHEW! I hope you learned something new with all of these tips and are ready to commit to DIY nails! I really love the OJ Mani System for a one-stop shop for an at-home mani. The tools are SO GOOD! And I am obsessed with their polish... but that's a blog for another day :)

If you are in the shopping mood, use my code OJKARA20 for 20% off of your mani system (or PEDI system -- Should I do a blog all about this too?!) purchase! This brings the cost down from $50 to $40 (for one polish) OR from $80 to $64 (for 6 polishes)!!! Such a steal. 


Shop HERE for the mani system! 


Comment any questions below and lets chat!!


*Disclaimer: The links in this blog may be affiliate links which means I make a small commission of your purchase at no cost to you. Thank you so much for supporting me!! 


  • So curious about exclusively using acetone. I feel like i was always taught to avoid it because it’s harsh. Is there anything to know about it that would be a negative of using it or just to make sure it doesn’t do anything unhelpful to skin or nail?

  • I love your new site, Kara! I, too, love using acetone especially for clean up. I will check out the cuticle pusher you love.

    Cathy Z.

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