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Different Types of Manicures

Most manicures start out the same way, with some people choosing the basics and others opting for more creative options. Learning about different types of manicures can help you decide what suits you best. After all, your nails say a lot about who you are!

Ten Popular Types of Manicures

Whether you let your personality shine with the latest 3-D decor or choose a simple nude polish, there are no limits when it comes to nail art. These popular manicure types can help you look perfectly put-together no matter what your style is.




Basic Manicure


If you are new to receiving manicures, start with a basic manicure, without all the extras. A nail technician will apply a cream, oil, or lotion to the cuticles first, then place the hands into a dish of warm water for about five minutes to soak. After the soaking process is over and cuticles have been tamed, they will dry the hand, and ask what shape and length you prefer. You can choose from square, oval, squoval (a combination of the two), or the popular stiletto.

At this point in the manicure, the shape of the nails has been defined, and it is time for a massage. Once that has been done, a base coat will be applied. Two coats of colored polish go over top, with a clear top coat finishing it all off. The hands are then placed under a nail dryer to speed up the drying process.

French Manicure


The ever-classic French manicure is guaranteed to give you the clean, gorgeous look you desire. For this style, a clear, pale pink, or beige polish is applied over the entire nail, with white polish along the tip. The end result is healthy, vibrant and perfect for all occasions. You can’t go wrong with this look!

Reverse French Manicure


On the flip side, you might consider the reverse French manicure. This look took off on the high-fashion runways in Europe before achieving mainstream popularity. It is essentially a takeoff of the traditional French style, however the moon of the nail is painted white while the rest is done in a darker shade.

Another option is to switch up the colors with an all-white nail and a strip of color along the tip. Popular shades for this look are black and wine during fall and winter, and yellow and pink during spring and summer.

American Manicure

An American manicure is similar to the French, but the shape and color of the nails differ. In this particular style, the tips are sometimes rounded, and use neutral or off white colors on the tips, instead of the drastic bright whites used in the French manicure. This can be worn in the classic style or made modern with some well placed glitter polish.

Gel Manicure


If you want a long-lasting manicure without the commitment (or potential damage) of acrylic nails, a gel manicure is a great option. All the steps of a basic manicure are taken, except a special polish that requires curing under a UV light is also applied. This lasts days longer than the polish used for a basic manicure, and is less prone to chipping.

Paraffin Manicure

A paraffin manicure is a must for anyone with dry or overworked hands. Paraffin wax is used to infuse the skin with instantaneous moisture, leaving it smooth and supple. It also includes a stimulating hand massage and finishes with a chic basic manicure polish look. Some paraffin treatments include various oils, like grape seed, for extra moisturizing benefits.

Hot Stone Manicure

If you’ve been dreaming of something ultra-pampering (or want to spoil a friend or family member), consider going the hot stone route. This indulgent treatment includes all the delights of a basic manicure, plus the addition of heated stones. They are placed over the hands to provide relief and comfort. You can also give yourself a hot stone manicure at home.

Shellac Manicure

Another popular type of manicure is shellac. Your natural nails are cleaned, filed, and shaped at the salon. Then, a special base coat is applied, followed by two coats of shellac nail polish, and a top coat. In between each step, a dryer is used to cure. Similar to a gel manicure, shellac lasts for about two weeks and is resistant to chipping. However, unlike gel, this can actually make your nails stronger.

Mirror Manicure


For those looking to make a statement with their nails, go chrome. The mirror manicure was named a trend by both Pinterest and Reader’s Digest. To achieve the look, each nail is first cleaned and shaped. Then a coat of black polish is applied, cured, and buffed. Next, top coat is applied and cured, before putting on a mirror powder. It is sealed with a top coat, cured, and buffed. It finishes with a gel top coat to create a shiny mirrored effect

Vinylux Manicure

If you are someone who gets bored easily, this next style is for you. It has been dubbed the one week manicure, as it is designed to stay on for seven to ten days. According to Refinery29, CND’s Vinylux polishes have incredible staying power and can be removed with a normal nail polish remover. Plus, since there is no need for a basecoat, the application process is simpler and faster.



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