A manicure is a specialty treatment for the fingernails and hands that is provided by spas and salons, or can be performed at home. There are different types available, including the highly popular French manicure, the moon manicure, and the Japanese manicure. There are treatments that are simple, such as the European and American versions, and those that are designed to impress, such as the airbrushed or Canadian manicures. While each type is based on the same principle, they vary in technique.
A full manicure customarily involves cleaning, exfoliating, and massaging the hands and fingernails. The nails are filed and shaped, and cuticles are pushed back or trimmed. The fingernails are then either left in their natural state or polished. The polishing stage can also include another type of technique that embellishes the nails.
The classic French manicure is a style where the fingernail tips are solid white. The rest of the nail, from the cuticle to the white area, will have a pink-tone color applied. This technique can be done to the natural nail or by attaching artificial fingernails. This style can provide a well-kept appearance where the nails are generally short to medium in length, and proportionally cut.
Reverse of this is the moon manicure. The modern version involves painting the tips of the fingernails a vibrant color, while the area from the cuticle to the color is painted a shade of white. Assorted versions of the design include applying color near the cuticle and on the tips, and the area between the two colors is a lighter shade of polish.
Japanese manicures combine traditional techniques with vibrant art. After the nails are cleaned and uniformly trimmed, artificial nails are applied to the natural fingernails. The artificial fingernails are then enhanced with varying designs and color. On top of the color, decorative additions are applied that range from tiny rhinestones to three-dimensional charms.
The process of massaging the hands and applying creams is known as the European manicure. Before the massage, the hands are soaked in herb-infused water to nourish the skin. An American or regular manicure is much like the European and French versions combined. The hands and nails are soaked in a cleansing solution, and then the nails are painted a pale color with the tip polished off-white.
Other types simply involve the use of different elements. A hot paraffin wax treatment is as the name implies — the hands are dipped in paraffin wax. This technique is most often employed to soften dry skin, while a hot stone manicure is used to relax and comfort the hands. Spa manicures generally involve extra steps while implementing the use of natural oils and salts.
While most manicures involve the entire hand area, there are some only refer to the treatment of the fingernail. Gel, acrylic, and airbrush are variations of nail applications or dressing. Acrylic nails are a type of synthetic nail attached to the natural nail, while a gel manicure refers to the type of adhesive used to attach fake fingernails to the natural nail. UV gel, on the other hand, is a type of polish that is cured under ultraviolet light.
There are also many choices when dressing the nail. With an airbrush manicure, an airbrush is used to create an artful design directly to the natural or artificial nail. The Canadian manicure resembles the French version, but is always done in the colors of the Canadian flag: red and white. The design is placed in a “V” pattern rather than a rounded moon shape.
Conventional home manicures can involve a simple nail grooming session or an all-over hand makeover. The technique for doing one at home can include one or more of the varying styles. They are generally less expensive and can be easier to maintain than professional treatments.