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What Are the Best Tips for a Paraffin Manicure?

S. Reynolds
S. Reynolds

When one is performing a paraffin manicure, it is best to use a paraffin wax heater, have a partner to help wrap one's hands, and to exfoliate beforehand. Paraffin manicures can be done at home if one has the proper tools, but care must be taken to prevent burns. These treatments are popular in salons because they often moisturize hands at a deeper level than surface lotion. Additionally, some arthritis sufferers report that their hand muscles feel more relaxed and less painful after these treatments.

Hands must be prepped before the paraffin wax is applied. For instance, the nails should be clipped, buffed, and shaped first. Then, an exfoliating hand and arm massage usually is performed to remove dead skin cells and rejuvenate blood flow. One can also add a drop or two of essential oils to the exfoliating cream to add aromatherapy for extra-soothing manicure sessions.

A manicurist giving a person a paraffin wax treatment.
A manicurist giving a person a paraffin wax treatment.

Paraffin wax should be warmed using a paraffin wax melter and not a stove top or microwave. The reason is that the wax needs to be at the perfect temperature and viscosity for the paraffin manicure. Wax that is too hot will burn skin quickly. There are paraffin treatment kits sold specifically for the purpose of home manicures.

Next, the hands are dipped into the warmed, melted wax up to the wrists and then removed for several seconds while the wax dries. This should be performed at least three times to get a thick coating of wax. Each layer should harden slightly before one dips his or her hands again. The hands should be held still until the wax hardens slightly because moving the hands can crack the coating.

A woman dipping her hand in melted paraffin.
A woman dipping her hand in melted paraffin.

A thin plastic bag is then wrapped around each hand to lock in the moisture. Sandwich baggies in a quart-sized version often work well for a paraffin manicure. Then, a warm, damp hand towel is wrapped around each plastic-encased hand to keep the wax from getting too hard. Heat is also known for increasing circulation in the skin.

One should wait at least 30 minutes before removing the wax — the longer one waits, the better the wax is able to moisturize. After 30 minutes or so, one may remove the towel, plastic bags, and then slowly peel off the wax. It should come off in big chunks without difficulty. The extra wax can be discarded at this point, but some people like to reuse it. The hands should feel soft, smooth, and moisturized after a paraffin manicure.

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Discussion Comments


@Mae82 - As far as I know, the paraffin manicure works just as well if you leave your hands in the wax coating for 10 minutes or 30 minutes. At least, in my experience I haven't really noticed much of a difference between the two.

The easiest way to get your manicure with paraffin time extended is to do a pedicure manicure together so that while the workers are busy with your feet, your hands can stay wrapped up.

I think that with the spa manicure you generally get a longer paraffin manicure, although the cost is a lot more.


There is nothing better than getting a manicure with a paraffin wax treatment. If you shop around you may even be able to get the treatment added on for free.

The paraffin wax manicure does a great job of making your hands really soft, and I find that it really soothes my skin when they are feeling overworked. Some manicure places will also give you a hand massage just before the paraffin treatment which I find makes the overall experience even better.

One thing I am curious about, should your paraffin manicure always take a long time? Or is just 10-15 minutes in the wax OK?

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    • A manicurist giving a person a paraffin wax treatment.
      By: Couperfield
      A manicurist giving a person a paraffin wax treatment.
    • A woman dipping her hand in melted paraffin.
      By: muehlberg
      A woman dipping her hand in melted paraffin.