Your complete guide to the different types of manicure

Types of Manicure

Mobile nail technicians bring you a glorious selection of choices when it comes to your manicure. It can be like sitting in front of a menu in your favourite restaurant, selecting what fabulous combination you’re going to have today. But it can also be a little confusing! There are so many different types of nail manicures that you may struggle to narrow down your choice.

In reality, it’s quite easy to choose between the different types of manicure and pedicure when you consider the time you’ve got, the level of pampering you want, your budget, and whether you’re having your nails done for the everyday or for a special occasion.

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. At the end, standard nail polish is applied.

Pros of a basic manicure

A basic manicure is an excellent affordable and relatively speedy pamper session which 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. Follow advice on how to remove gel nails at home if you need to. There is slightly more risk of damage to your nails with gel compared to polish.

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 dependent 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 shape, 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.

How to choose between the different types of manicures?

As you can see, there’s no definitive best or worst manicure. It’s down to personal choice, and how you would like them to look and feel. You should always be able to benefit from the skill of a professional nail technician, even with your manicure at home.