Who did your nails?

The Good Manicure

What are manicures really good for, anyway?

A manicure is good for improving the texture and health of both your fingernails and the skin of your hands, as well as leaving them looking polished and perfect.


Apart from making sure your hands and nails look and feel good, a manicure often has the side-effect of relaxing you; there are pressure points on your hands that correspond to other areas of your body.

If you have an injury to your hand — a wound, or joint or muscle strain, or a rash or broken skin — you are well advised to wait until you recover before you have a manicure, or else make your manicurist very aware of your limitations.


What to expect from a professional manicurist

A manicure is should be very soothing. It can be nice to have someone touch your hands and nails, especially if the manicurist uses reflexology or other hand massage techniques to relax you. You will probably be one-on-one with the manicurist, who should tell you what they are going to do and check to see if you have any queries or concerns. A manicurist will usually dress your nails with your choice of nail color, and you may also be able to have more decorative nail art applied. Check beforehand if you want this, as you may need another person to do the honors.

What a good manicure can do:

  • clean, shape, strengthen, paint and decorate your nails

  • attend to any skin problems you might have around the nail, such as broken or sore skinimages-33

  • use acupressure or hand massage techniques to stimulate the blood and lymph flow to improve the health of your skin

  • use oils, creams, and waxes to exfoliate, cleanse and improve the texture of your nails and the skin of your hands.

A manicure can last from 15 minutes to more than an hour, depending on what
you’re having done. Generally speaking, the longer the time allocated to the manicure, the more elements you can expect.

Gel Manicure: Black and Slate Gray Dot design. By: MarTika


Leave yourself enough time to get the full benefit of the treatment, and make sure you don’t have to rush off. If for any reason the manicure takes longer, it’s hard to drive with sticky polish still drying on your fingers! Whilst shop-bought nail polish often takes five minutes to dry, salon color can take up to 12 hours to dry completely. (This isn’t the case with gel manicures as those polishes contain polymers which harden under UV light; your nails are smudge- and chip-resistant the minute the treatment is over.)

Don’t wear gloves, or anticipate needing your hands for any kind of dexterous work immediately

Gel manicure on natural nails. Colors used: Robin’s egg blue, with dandelion nail art. By: MarTika

after a manicure. It may not be the best thing to go straight back to banging away on a computer keyboard, doing someone’s hair, or bathing your children if you have just had delicate solutions applied to your nails.


So many different kinds of manicures

There are various kinds of manicure on offer in spas, which may involve a different shaping of the nail, the use of a variety of oils and creams, or even of electro-pulse or hot-stone massage as part of the treatment. I do offer professional manicure services if you live near me. Some common examples include:

Gel Manicure. Style: French manicure on natural nails. By: MarTika

American: a very natural-looking manicure which shapes the nails to your finger tip.

French: a classic manicure using clear or ivory-colored polish on the body of the nail, with white at the tip. The nail is cut quite square.

Hot stone manicure: this manicure features a hand massage using hot stone therapy to soothe and relax your hand.

Intensive paraffin wax: this therapeutic treatment includes warm wax being rubbed into your nails, hands, and wrists to moisturize and soften.

Luxury: this usually signifies a whole-hand treatment which includes a hand massage, softening paraffin wax and heated mittens or a wrap; the combination of heat and moisturizing unguents warms and soothes your hands, and softens and hydrates your nails.

Gel Manicure on acrylic nails. Colors used: Ivory and Crimson. By: MarTika

Hot tip!

Try to give your nails a good clean and remove any traces of old nail polish beforehand. This will stop the technician wasting valuable manicure-time doing it herself so that she can get on with the good stuff! You might want to take off your rings, too, if there’s massage involved.


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