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Manicure & Nail Extensions

What are the different types of manicures?

The main manicure types that you will come across are basic, acrylic, gel (including Shellac), French and dip powder. We’ll explain what’s involved in each of these and why you might choose them.

Basic manicure

What is a basic manicure?

A basic or standard manicure is the traditional manicure that you’re probably familiar with. Here your nails are trimmed, shaped and buffed. Cuticle oil is applied and cuticles are managed too. You’ll usually get to enjoy a wonderfully relaxing hand massage. In the end, standard nail polish is applied.

Pros of a basic manicure

A basic manicure is an excellent affordable and relatively speedy pamper session that will leave you with glossy vibrant nails. The polish is easy to remove at home.

Cons of a basic manicure

With a basic manicure, expect chips to the polish quite quickly. The polish can also become a little dull over time.

French manicure

What is a French manicure?

The French manicure was very popular in the early noughties and it’s making a comeback for its straightforward simplicity. This classic manicure leaves you with a sheer tone finished off with vibrant white tips.

Pros of a French manicure

The classic look can be achieved with gel or traditional polish, so you get to choose. The look is excellent for making your fingers look longer and subtly goes with any outfit you wear. You get to enjoy all the pampering essentials of a basic manicure.

Cons of a French manicure

If you choose traditional polish, it will be prone to chipping. Your final look is reliant on your natural nail shape and strength.

Gel (Shellac) manicure

What is a gel or Shellac manicure?

Shellac is the original brand of gel nail polish. It’s applied in the same way as a polish but is tougher and more flexible. You still get to enjoy all of the shaping and nail care elements of a basic manicure, but instead of traditional polish, Shellac gel is used. It is quickly cured under a special lamp. Find out more about gel manicures in one of our magazine articles.

Pros of a gel manicure

Gel nail polish is tough. It won’t chip like traditional polish and it won’t lose its shine as quickly, if at all. You can really expect them to look as good after a couple of weeks as they did on the day you had them done. There is a huge choice of colours available and they are really intense.

Cons of a gel manicure

Gel manicures are slightly more expensive than a basic manicure but offer excellent value. Removing gel or Shellac can be a little more complex, to prevent damaging the nail. It’s recommended you have them removed by a professional.

Acrylic manicure

What is an acrylic manicure?

First, let’s explain exactly what acrylic nails are. A nail technician mixes a liquid (monomer) and a powder (polymer) and works to create a solid nail overlay or enhancement that sits on top of your nail. They can be in traditional nail shapes, but they can also be in all sorts of shapes depending on your technician’s skill and creativity. As well as benefiting from the standard elements of a manicure, the acrylic nails are applied and polished, often using nail art. Acrylic nails also come ready-made. They are what most people are thinking of when talking about false nails.

Pros of an acrylic manicure

With acrylic nails, you can have fabulous nail shapes, no matter the shape of your real nails. They can add length and they also provide an excellent canvas for wonderful works of art for skilled creative nail technicians.

Cons of an acrylic manicure

Acrylic nails have a tendency to pop off, through everyday use. The new nail growth around the bottom of the acrylic can also be quite noticeable after a few weeks. They can also be quite expensive. You should have gaps between applications, more than with any other type of manicure.

Dip powder manicure

What is a dip powder manicure?

Again, you will be treated to all the traditional elements of a manicure. Then, an adhesive is applied before your nails are dipped into coloured powder. There’s no drying or curing time needed.

Pros of a dip powder manicure

You don’t have to wait whilst dip powder nails are cured under UV light. Typically, you can expect the salon look to last slightly longer than gel nails too.

Cons of a dip powder manicure

Some people rightly adore the smoothness of a gel manicure. With dip powder, the texture is slightly different and some people aren’t fans of this. Nail thinning may be a long term concern. Because the bonding process is similar to acrylics, it’s best to give your nails a rest between manicures.

Natural Nail Shape Guide

Vertically long and Almond nails

are the most desired and long-lasting of the bunch. They have long straight sidewalls and a beautiful arch. The perfect amount of strength and natural support. Just like a self-supporting bridge. Many ladies with this shape nails can go for weeks and weeks without their nails looking any different. Nail treatments, polish, gels or nail extensions will just grow out with no distortion. They are generally the most desired shape and if you are lucky enough to own nails like you will be admired!

Broad sideways nails

tend to be flat along the top and have a curve at the side walls. These nails are generally seen on male customers or ladies with shorter fingers. They tend to be a bit thicker and gels will lift at the corners in various cases. This type of nail will need to have a regular rebalance to help keep them from chipping. Nail treatments will also benefit this shape nail as they will help keep the nails from splitting vertically. 

Rounded nails

that have gels or extensions grow out super fast. They don’t have much or any sidewall to keep the shape. The best way to visualise this is to grab 2 cotton pads and place them on top of each other and slide the top pad away from the other as if it was a gel polish growing out on a real nail plate. You will see the round circle exposes the sidewalls really quickly. Nails like this will most certainly need to see a technician every 2 weeks to keep the gels from lifting. Also, they should invest in a good nail treatment to help keep their nails from splitting at the very edge where the nail tip grows out. 

Egg-shaped nails

are fairly similar to a round nail but they are generally harder to grow without the ends curving over. So the client will need to have regular natural nail shortening with rebalances or new sets of sculptured nails done every so often if they are wanting longer nails. 

Squarish nails

are fairly easy to keep looking neat. They have a shorter sidewall and they have the same characteristics of a vertically long nail but they will grow out faster meaning more regular visits to a salon.

Triangular nails

are possibly the most difficult nails to look after for an individual and a tech. These nails grow out very easily so they need to be serviced every 2 weeks without fail. they have no side walls whatsoever so this means that they are prone to problems. As long as you are aware of this and make regular appointments you will have stunning nails. But they will need to have the free edge sculptured every month to get the look of a vertically long nail.

Inverted Triangle nails

are usually seen with a ski jump edge or they have a tendency to grow out and alter shape meaning they can get snagged easily. These types of nails will need to be filed and reshaped every 3 weeks or so. And most certainly need help with gels, oils and treatments as they have a huge tendency to split horizontally. 

Sword-shaped nails

are fairly easy to maintain but they have a tendency to split at the sides or straight down the middle due to their genetic shape. These nails will also be prone to peeling as their shape can easily get caught. The perfect option for these nails is to have a gel overlay and use treatments on a regular basis.