Lately, a trip to the local nail salon has come to look like a summer Pinkberry run. So many options! Long gone are the days of the simple manicure, which is still, of course, an option—but now you can also try dip powder, acrylic, gel and many more nail bed treatments.
Rita Pinto, founder of New York City and Miami-based nail art studios Vanity Projects, broke down all the different ways you can get polish on your digits.
“A client should choose the right manicure that works for them based on their day-to-day life and their ultimate goal with their nails, whether that be to have the flexibility of changing polish color so often or having a manicure that will give you longer wear,” explains Pinto. Though she personally prefers gel—as a nail art lover, gels will preserve a style for longer—she left her bias at the door and broke down eight types of manicures. Below, all the details for your digits from lowest to highest commitment.
The Classic Manicure
Photo courtesy of @betina_goldstein
A classic manicure is simple as can be. It starts with a nail cleaning (cuticles filed, cut, and shaping) and is followed by polish application.
How much does it cost? $10-$20.
How long does it last? Up to a week.
How do you remove it? Cotton pads and nail polish remover! Easy breezy.
What’s the damage? Not much. Make sure you find a polish that keeps your nails healthy and doesn’t include lots of chemicals. Here's a helpful guide.
This manicure is for you if… you've already got great nails and want to show them off a bit with a polish. Also ideal if you’re in a rush as this is the fastest manicure in the game.
The Reverse Manicure
Photo courtesy of @paintboxnails
A Reverse Manicure is the reverse take on the Classic French and highlights the lower part of your nail known as the half moon. It falls under the classic manicure category but the popularity of the design makes it deserving of its own shoutout.
How much does it cost? $15-35.
How long does it last? A week or more. If you opt to leave the half moon of a reverse manicure bare, natural nail grow out becomes less noticeable so your manicure essentially lasts longer.
How do you remove it? Same as a classic manicure. Cotton pads and polish remover will be your best friend.
What’s the damage? Depends on if you add nail extensions. Nail extensions can hurt your natural nails if not removed properly.
This manicure is for you if… you want to flip a classic on its head. Think more modern, less Prom in the early aughts.
The Paraffin Manicure
Photo courtesy of @jinsoon
A Paraffin Manicure is an added treatment that includes dipping your hands into warm, melted paraffin wax and hydrates the skin after receiving a full manicure service.
How much does it cost? $10 to $15.
How long does it last? The results of hydrated skin can be felt for up to a week after service.
How do you remove it? No need!
What’s the damage? Paraffin can clog pores and is harmful if swallowed.
This manicure is for you if… you want to treat yourself! This is just an upgrade and can be followed by any type of manicure.
The Vinylux Manicure
Photo courtesy of @abbydoesnails
A Vinylux Manicure is a polish created by CND (the polish brand Creative Nail Design) that has a self-adhering color coat that provides long wear that can be removed with nail polish remover and last up to a week without chipping.
How much does it cost? $20-$35.
How long does it last? Up to a week without chipping.
How do you remove it? Traditional nail polish remover and cotton swabs.
What’s the damage? The formula can also be drying to nails.
This manicure is for you if… you want longwear without length.
The Shellac Manicure
Photo courtesy of @cndworld
A Shellac Manicure is similar to a gel manicure except it is a nail product created by CND and is a half nail polish, half gel product and is cured through UV lighting as well.
How much does it cost? $30-$60.
How long does it last? It can last for up to two weeks.
How do you remove it? You can do it at home with acetone, aluminum foil, and cotton pads or visit a professional at the salon.
What’s the damage? The formula can be extremely drying.
This manicure is for you if… you want high-shine!
The Gel Manicure
Photo courtesy of @vanityprojects
There are two types of gels: Soft gel and hard gel. The main difference in the two products has to do with how they are removed. Soft gel nails are known as “soak-off gels” because the nail polish can be removed with acetone. Hard gel is used to add nail length over soft gel that is used soley as a polish. Gel nails are also best for nail art.
How much does it cost? $45 to $180.
How long does it last? Up to two weeks with TLC.
How do you remove it? It’s best to seek the help of a professional if you’ve opted for hard gel. Removals can range between $10-$15 at most salons. You can soak soft gel nails off.
What’s the damage? Wearing the manicure for too long can cause long-term damage to your nails. It’s also important to remove the gel correctly and not peel-off the polish.
This manicure is for you if… you want to add length. Hard gel manicures are perfect for creating a larger canvas for nail art.
The Acrylic Manicure
Photo courtesy of @nailsbymei
An Acrylic Manicure is the combination of a liquid monomer and powder polymer that creates a hard protective layer over your natural nail and is then coated with polish.
How much does it cost? $35 to $60.
How long does it last? Up to three weeks.
How do you remove it? It’s best to visit a trusted salon but you can do it at home with cotton pads, acetone, and foil.
What’s the damage? Incorrect removal can damage nails over time.
This manicure is for you if… you want a classic nail extension. The OG method is tried and true.
The Dip Powder Nail
Photo courtesy of @hawaiinails.taylorhills
Like the name mentions, you dip your nails into a little jar of a color of your choice instead of the classic use of UV rays to seal in your polish. Brands of dip powder include SNS, Gelish, and TP Gel.
How much does it cost? $50 and up.
How long does it last? Up to three weeks.
How do you remove it? Seek professional experience at the salon.
What’s the damage? The product must be removed correctly or can cause nail damage. Some customers have noted that an allergic reaction can occur on the skin near the nail due to the use of powder.
This manicure is for you if… you want nails that last!
Photo via ITG