There are all sorts of manicures, some for the ladies, and even a version for the gents. The main process is common to all of them, with variations that change how they look.
A man's manicure consists of massaging in some moisturizer, softening and pushing back (or trimming) the cuticles and buffing the bed of the fingernail to a smooth but matte finish
The two main types of women's manicures are the regular manicure (where colour is applied) and the french manicure (where the tips of the fingernails are painted white and the rest of the nail is covered in a sheer pink or pinky beige to give the illusion of clean healthy nails) In both of these types of manicures, the nails are cleaned of old polish, moisturizer is applied in a massaging motion to the whole hand, and cuticle softener just to the cuticles. Purists will say that the cuticle should never be cut, only pushed back. Then polish remover is used to clean the moisturizer off the nail bed (leaving it there will wreck the polish later) and the following layers are applied in order, allowing about 5-10 minutes of drying time between layers:
- basecoat (especially if the polish is red-toned!)
- 2-3 coats of colour
This will take AT LEAST an hour to dry. Go to the bathroom before you start. Don't start touching it to see if it's dry...leave it alone for an hour.
For a french manicure, the order is as follows:
- 2 coats of white, only on the tips.
- 1 or 2 coats of a sheer beige or pinkish beige polish
Note: the tips of a french manicure take even longer to dry than a regular manicure. Be extremely careful! Also: make sure you leave quite a few hours between doing your nails and going to sleep...otherwise you'll wake up in the morning with sheet and hair lines imprinted onto your fine manicure!
There are also fake nails...both the kind that covers your whole nail and you glue in on with crazy glue and the acrylic kind. Avoid the first like the plague...the nail will dissolve in acetone, but the glue is there 'till the trump of doom. Acrylic nails look lovely and are nigh invulnerable, but they wreck your natural nails and are difficult to apply at home. If you want fake nails, go to a salon and let them take care of you. Acrylic nails will have to have the space at the top by your cuticle filled in at least every 2 weeks. You can always change the colour on acrylic nails, but not on the glue-on kind.