If you’re the type of person that has never gone to the spa or a nail salon before, then we’ll spare you the awkward exchange at the front desk and tell you that you have to be more specific with the type of manicure you want before they can help you. This was a huge realization that many people, myself included, were met with when we decided to try out a professional manicure. After all, how many ways can you trim and style your nails? A lot, actually, and let me tell you that it wasn’t quite as easy as picking a flavor of milk tea.
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The type of manicure you pick doesn’t just rely on how your nails will look in the end. Don’t get me wrong, that’s certainly the most important factor of your choice, but it also helps tremendously to consider your daily lifestyle, occupation, budget, and the amount of patience you have, the latter especially so since some of these can really take a while. With all those considered, let’s look at some of the most common manicures you can get in a nail salon. Note that some salons like to add their personal gimmick, so it’s always best to supplement the general knowledge you get from this article by consulting your nail technician as well.
Let’s begin with the absolute basics. This type of manicure includes the fundamental elements of a manicure: trimming, filing, sculpting the desired shape of the nail with a file, tending to the cuticles with dip nail liquids, and occasionally massaging the hands - the most barebones manicure you can get, basically. It comes to no surprise that you won’t find this type of massage being done at the nail salon as much as other entries in this list, mostly because some people think it is plain and boring, or that they could do it themselves if they want to. That’s not completely untrue, but there are certainly benefits to a basic manicure as well, such as it is inexpensive and really difficult to mess up. Some physicians even recommend basic manicures for people with delicate hands.
A french manicure is the most common type of manicure you’ll see. It involves trimming the nails up to a certain length, usually broad at the end, and applying pale-colored nail polish over it. The distinctive quality of a french manicure is that the tips of the nails are colored with a bright and opaque color. Professional nail designers sometimes even use these tips as canvases for various kinds of nail art.
Check out this article on how to DIY French tips: How To DIY French Tip Dip Powder Manicure
Dip Powder Manicure
If you want a more fun and creative way of getting a fresh new polish on your nails, then we recommend getting a dip powder manicure. As usual, your nails will first have to be trimmed and buffed in order to remove any oil or leftover nail polish that is on their surfaces. Next, a thin layer of base coat liquid will be painted on one of your nails. Immediately after, your finger will be dipped in a special powder that is made up of very fine acrylic. Once it hardens, another layer of base coat will be painted over it, and the process repeats until the desired thickness is reached. The nail technician will do this for each of your nails, carefully applying the dip base and clear base powder so that your cuticles don’t get damaged. If you want to do it yourself, we recommend getting a complete nail dip starter kit from a trustworthy brand.
Acrylic Nail Manicure
Acrylic nail manicures apply a hard layer of polish over your natural nails, giving them a tough and long-lasting protective layer that also acts as a clean canvas for nail art. After your nails are prepped, a liquid monomer and a powder polymer will be mixed on a separate platter in order to produce an acrylic paste. This paste will be carefully painted over your natural nails, forming the iconic shiny shell acrylic nails are known for. You can also use acrylic nail tips to extend your nails artificially.
Gel Nail Manicure
This type of manicure is essentially the same as an acrylic nail manicure. Both involve applying a thick nail polish shell over the natural nails that can be painted over with different designs. There are also gel nail extensions that can be used to extend the tip of the nails when needed. The main difference comes in their composition and how the substances are prepared. The gel can be used right out of the bottle, as it is made up of a special oligomer. It also contains a photoinitiator, which allows it to harden under a UV light lamp. Your nail technician will place your hands under a small UV lamp for 30 seconds after the gels are properly applied. In under 20 min, you could get a complete manicure!
Paraffin Wax Manicure
Whereas the other entries in this list are done to give your nails a fresh new look, a paraffin wax therapy manicure is instead designed to bring life back into otherwise overworked and weary hands. The hands will be cleaned thoroughly before getting dipped into a small tub of warm wax. This wax is a mixture of essential oils and vitamins that nourish the skin on the hands and relieve aching muscles and joints. As soon as the hands are taken out of the wax, the manicurist covers them with a pair of plastic gloves before wrapping them in a clean warm towel. When they finally cool down, the manicurist removes the towel and peels the wax off. A nail manicure or a hand massage can then be done to enhance the experience.
Those are only some of the many types of manicures that you can get in the modern-day salon. If you want to know more about a specific one, we recommend reading dedicated articles about them. You can also ask your nail technician if they have any suggestions for your hands or the best nail accessories to have at home.
Every now and then, don’t shy off from spending a little bit more for your own health and well-being. As long as you’re getting something positive out of it, such as a handful of stylish new nail polish or a rejuvenated pair of hands, you won’t have any regrets afterward.