10 Types Of Manicures You Should Know About

Arm yourself with all the knowledge the next time you head out to get your nails done!

Medically reviewed by Dr. Sameeksha Chand, MBBS, MD DVL
Written by Ramona Sinha, MA (English Literature), Certified Skin Care Coach
Edited by Anjali Sayee, BTech
Fact-checked by Shiboli Chakraborti, MA (English Literature), Certified Skin Care Coach  • 

You do not need a special occasion to pamper your nails. Whether you love to get creative with your nails or want a pop of color before any special event, you can always experiment with the different types of manicure options. From the basic manicure to shellac manicure, learn everything about them in this article. Scroll down.

protip_icon Trivia
The word “manicure” stems from the French term “manucure,” which means taking care of the hands.

10 Different Types Of Manicures To Try

1. Basic Manicure

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If this is your first time, then it’s better to keep it simple and sweet. A basic manicure is fuss-free and is the best way to know what to expect in a manicure session. It’s a fast and simple option for your nail and cuticle care. Also, it’s easy to change if you are bored with it in a few days.

What To Expect?

Here, the manicurist first applies a lotion or cream or oil on your cuticles. Next, your hands will be soaked for 5 minutes in a bowl containing warm water. After that, the manicurist will dry your hands and clean the cuticles. The nails are trimmed, cleaned, and shaped. A quick hand massage follows this. After that, a base coat will be applied to your nails, followed by a color nail polish and nail art of your choice. The nail paint is then sealed with another coat of clear nail polish.

2. French Manicure

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It’s chic. It’s stylish. A classic French manicure can never disappoint you. The crescent moon-like coats of white nail polish on the edges give your nails a crisp look. And nowadays the fashion-conscious divas continuously experiment with this classic form of manicure. So you will see a lot of varieties regarding color choices and embellishments.

What To Expect?

It’s very simple. The manicurist will paint your nails with a clear or beige or pale pink nail polish. Once it dries, the tip of the nail is painted with white nail polish in a crescent shape. But you can also paint the tip in different shades if you want to – and then give a colorful twist to the classic French manicure.

protip_icon Fun Fact
French manicure was not developed in France but in America by Jeff Pink in 1975.

3. Reverse French Manicure

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The reverse French manicure is a quirky and stylish version of the classic French manicure. Unlike the latter, this one has the crescent moon painted in the darker shade at the base of your nail, which is close to the cuticle. This is simple and stylish, and you can easily do this at your home.

What To Expect?

First, your nails will be cleaned, trimmed, and shaped. Your hands are soaked in lukewarm water for a few minutes. After that, the cuticles will be pushed back or clipped – as the crescent moon shape will be painted near them. Once it’s done, the nail is coated with clear nail paint. After it dries, a darker polish is applied on your nails. In this case, the moon will be painted in a lighter shade. However, you can even go for a darker moon with the rest of the nails in a lighter shade. Once the nail polish is applied and dried properly, the manicurist will draw the crescent shape moon at the base of the nail. It’s finished off with a coat of clear nail polish.

4. Paraffin Manicure

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If you have rough and dry hands, then a Paraffin manicure is the best way to take care of them. The paraffin treatment for your nails is like a specialized spa treatment for your hands. It involves a stimulating hand massage with oils. At the end of the spa manicure procedure, you will be amazed by the softness of your hands.

What To Expect?

The manicurist first melts the paraffin wax in a melting device. After that, the wax is let to sit for sometime to lower its temperature. Meanwhile, your hands are massaged with oils or lotion. When the temperature of the wax is bearable, your palms are completely dipped into it. The hands are lifted and the wax is allowed to dry on your hands. It’s again dipped into the wax and lifted. This process is done seven times so that your hands have seven layers of wax. The hands are then rested for half an hour. After that, the wax is cleared and this is followed by the regular manicure process.

5. American Manicure

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American manicure is similar to a French manicure, but with a subtle difference. Here your nails get more blended and they look like a more well-defined version of your natural nails. Even nail shaping is done a bit differently in this manicure. It’s an elegant and go-to style for those who prefer a neutral look to luxuriously manicured nails.

What To Expect?

The initial steps are similar – your nails are cleaned and trimmed. Your nails are shaped and given a rounder form (unlike the square form in French manicure). After applying base coats, ivory shades are applied to your nails. The nail color is either airbrushed on your nails or simply applied with a brush applicator.

6. Gel Manicure

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Gel manicures last long. If you are someone who is looking for a low-maintenance yet stylish option for nail health and beauty, this is what you should go for. Gel manicure doesn’t demand a frequent visit to salons for manicure sessions. It just involves the use of a special nail polish, which is cured under UV light for a long-lasting effect.

What To Expect?

The process starts with the basic manicure steps, such as nail trimming, cleaning, nail buffing, pushing the cuticles back, and application of base coat. Post this, two coats of a special gel polish are applied to your nails. Each coat is dried completely before topping it with the other, which aids in your nail strengthening. Your fingers will be exposed to UV light during each step for drying the nail polish, a process that takes just a few minutes. The texture of a gel polish is durable when compared to any other. And that’s why your nails can maintain that “wow” look for long.

7. Mirror Manicure

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Be it Instagram, Pinterest, Youtube, or even Facebook, mirror nails have taken social media by storm. It’s a trend that first got noticed in social media, and since then, millennials are crazy about it. If you are someone who loves to show off their inner bling through their nails, then go for it.

What To Expect?

Once all the basic manicure steps are complete, a thick coat of black (or any other dark nail polish) is applied on the nails. You can use gel nail polish for a lasting effect. The nail polish is dried (you may dry it under the UV lamp). After that, the chrome pigment is brushed on the nails to give that mirror effect. A thin top coat is applied, and then it’s again cured under the UV lamp.

8. Acrylic Manicure

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Don’t have long nails? Then the acrylic manicure is your solution. It uses powder polymer and a liquid monomer to form a hard layer of acrylic nails over your nails. These nail extensions are eventually camouflaged as your original nail. It’s best to get it done by an expert manicurist at a good salon.

What To Expect?

The manicurist buffs the nail surface to make it rough. This rough surface allows the acrylic nail to easily stick to your original nail surface. The gum-like acrylic mixture is carefully applied to your nails with a brush. It’s then sculpted using the brush and given the shape of nails. The rough ends are smoothened using the brush. Once it’s dried properly, nail polish is applied on the nail surface.

9. Shellac Manicure

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Too lazy to take care of your nails on a regular basis? If yes, then shellac manicure will be extremely handy for you. A blend of both gel and regular nail polish, shellac manicure or shellac nails are known for its durability, which means fewer chances of chipping.

What To Expect?

The manicurist first cleans, files, and shape your nails. After that, two coats of shellac nail polish is applied to the nails. Each coat is dried using a drier. Finally, a top coat is applied to the nails. Unlike gel manicure, shellac manicure makes your nails stronger. It lasts for about two weeks and doesn’t chip.

10. Vinylux Manicure

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Do you easily get bored with the same style? Then Vinylux manicure is what you need. This nail manicure has an incredible staying capacity and can be easily removed.

What To Expect?

In this process, post the basic manicure steps, the manicurist will paint your nails with Vinylux nail color. These are available in various shades. You don’t need any base coat as this nail polish doesn’t chip easily. Two coats are applied, post which it’s finished off with a special top coat.

If you want, you can further embellish your nails using stones and stickers. These look pretty. While manicures are the most preferred way to pamper your hands, they can also have several risks. Here are a few things you need to consider to avoid any dangers.

Things To Consider For Avoiding Manicure Mishaps

  • Chances of nail injury and infection are extremely high during manicure procedures. Excessive pressure on the cuticles while clipping them can hurt your skin. And that’s why it’s essential that you visit a salon that has experienced manicurists. Check if they use sterile manicure tools. And check the levels of cleanliness they follow inside the salon.
  • Make sure the salon you are visiting has simple foot baths. Foot baths that come with motors are a bit tough to clean and thus, you risk infection.
  • You can even get your nail equipment and carry them while you visit the salons. If you can’t carry them along, make sure the manicurist and the technicians clean the equipment and sterilize them before you use them.
  • Make sure the manicurist washes and sterilizes his/her hands before performing manicure on your hands.

Infographic: Manicure Aftercare Tips And Hacks

If you’ve had a manicure recently or are considering getting one, please take a look at the infographic and read the aftercare tips and tricks. To guarantee you obtain the best outcomes and to protect your personal health, safety, and well-being, you must be fully informed of and understand what you should do on your own after the procedure. Read on to maximize and extend the positive effects of manicures.

manicure aftercare tips and hacks (infographic)

Illustration: StyleCraze Design Team

Save the high-quality PDF version on your device now.

Download Infographic in PDF version Download Infographic
Download Infographic in PDF version

Manicures are a great way to keep experimenting with different nail styles and colors. With the different types of manicures out there, choose the one that suits your preference. If you are getting a manicure for the first time, go for a fuss-free and basic manicure. For those who want to spice things up a little, a French manicure is the way to go. With white and crisp crescent nails, French manicures make you look chic. If you want to go one step further, you can always go for the Shellac or Vinylux nail manicures which are colorful and long-lasting. Make sure that the nail equipment is sterilized before they are used to avoid the risk of infection.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the strongest manicure?

The most durable manicure is shellac manicured nails.

Are acrylic nails better than dip nails?

Dip nails are stronger and last longer than acrylic nails.

Do dip manicures ruin your nails?

Yes, dip manicures can ruin the nails if you do not take proper care of them.

Key Takeaways

  • The classic manicure involves cutting to the cuticles, filing, and shaping nails, removal of dead skin, and moisturizing them.
  • In the traditional classic French manicure, the nail is painted light pink and the tip is painted white.
  • In an American manicure, the nails are given a rounder shape.
  • Gel manicures have the standard manicure procedures but are more durable as it is exposed to UV light at each stage during the process.

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