22 Types of Nail Manicure

A trip to the salon to get a new manicure is a sure way to put me in a good mood. But, selecting what type of nails to get always stresses me out.

I mean, who wouldn’t be confused when you’re surrounded by so many options? That being said, many of my salon trips start with me being indecisive.

I’ll go in there confident in my choice of manicure and lose my conviction immediately after I’m presented with the options.

Because I don’t want anyone else to go through an experience similar to mine, I’ve put together a list of the different manicure types.

It’s a rundown of what they are, how long they last, how long they take to get done, how much they cost, and any other thing you’ll need to know.

The Types Of Nails Manicures

Ready to learn about the different types of manicures? Let’s dive right in!

1. Basic Manicure

A basic manicure starts with the manicurist soaking your hands in warm soapy water to soften the dead skin cells.

Then the fingernails will be filed and buffed, cuticles cleaned and pushed back, and your hands will be massaged gently with hand cream.

After all the necessary preparations have been completed, the base coat, color, and top coat will be painted then cuticle oil is applied.

All of this can be done in thirty minutes and the manicure will last for up to seven days. 

The polish can be removed using nail polish remover or acetone. This manicure goes a long way in keeping your nails in good health.

2. Gel Manicure

A gel manicure has the same process as the basic manicure, but the polish is a gel, so it has to be cured under UV light to harden it.

A gel manicure can take up to 55 minutes or more, depending on the complexity of the design you’re interested in doing.

A gel manicure can last for two to three weeks, and removal entails soaking the nails in acetone. However, it is best to go to the salon for removal.

The gel shouldn’t damage the nails if applied and removed properly by a technician, but the acetone can cause some drying and cracking of the cuticles and nails.

Gel Manicure is a bit on the pricey side though.

3. Gel Extensions

It was first created by Apres nails, which is made out of gel polish that you can sculpt. The extension sits on top of the natural nail, acting as a protective cover.

Like many other gel manicures, it requires curing under a nail light. You can rock different lengths and shapes, so have fun with it.

4. Gradient Gel Manicure

The manicurist applies different shades of the same gel polish color to achieve this look. For example, different shades of nude or blue. You can even try out red.

Gradient gel manicure is pretty easy to maintain. If you are going for a chic look that makes a subtle fashion statement, you should make this a must-try.

5. Hard Gel Manicure

This process starts with the application of a simple base coat, then the soft gel polish which is cured under UV light.

The manicurist then uses the hard gel to lengthen the nail and add some shimmer and whatever designs you want.

The nails don’t have to be too long. Although long nails seem to be the most popular right now, you can still rock this look with short to medium-length nails.

6. Acrylic Nails

Acrylic nail is the combination of a liquid monomer and powder polymer to form a little bead that the manicurist will mold and build over the natural nail.

The acrylic forms a protective layer over the natural nail. After building, it is put under the UV light to harden, before coating with color and top coat.

An acrylic manicure can take up to one hour and thirty minutes which is a lot of time for some people. You should get this if you have a free schedule.

It can last up to two to three weeks and is removed by soaking in acetone which is harsh on the skin.

9. French Manicure

The French manicure was all the rage in the early 2000s and I’m really glad it is coming back now. A classic french manicure is a sure way to stun.

It usually has a sheer pink or beige color with a white tip on each nail but now, people are going all out with it using a tortoise shell, checkerboard, snakeskin, and other patterns on the tip.

A french manicure can take 45 minutes to an hour and is done by applying white polish to the tip of a pink-tinted nail.

Its duration depends on the type of polish used and can be removed using acetone or regular polish remover, also depending on the polish used. 

10. American Manicure

If a French manicure is too old-dated for you, try an American manicure. It mimics your natural nails, with a nude or off-white tip.

American manicure is done by painting the nails a cream color or one with the same shade as your skin, the tips are colored with white or light nail polish.

It can last for two weeks and does no damage to your natural nails if the application and removal processes are done by a professional.

11. Shellac Manicure

Shellac is a hybrid of gel and regular nail polish and is cured and hardened under a UV light, so you don’t have to wait for your nails to dry.

Shellac is a trademark name of a nail product created by Creative Nail Design (CND), which was the first company to produce and register this type of polish.

It is softer than gel polish but more flexible and tougher to wear than regular nail polish.

It follows the same process as gel polish and can last for two to three weeks with no chips.

It is a bit expensive and can be quite damaging if you just peel it off during the removal process.

12. Paraffin Manicure

Paraffin manicures are known for their rejuvenating properties. The heat from the wax opens the pores and increases circulation in the hands.

To get a paraffin manicure, the hands are soaked in heated wax. After waiting for 20 to 30 minutes, the wax is peeled off and cream or lotion is massaged into the hands.

Paraffin manicure should last for one to two weeks and poses no threat to the health of your nails.

13. Reverse French Manicure

From the name, I’m sure you already got a picture of this manicure. What happens here is that the highlight is on the lower part of the nail.

The lower part of the nail is painted in white or whatever colors are used for the design, resembling a half moon.

It takes 45 minutes to 1 hour and can last three weeks if done with gel polish and one week with regular nail polish.

14. Hot Stone Manicure

A hot stone manicure is a therapeutic process. It involves the use of warm stones, some therapeutic oil, and a hand massage.

It is a 50-minute procedure and will leave you feeling happy with your hands long after it is finished. It is more or less a restorative treatment for the hands.

15. Dip Powder Manicure

A dip powder manicure is a type of gel manicure. Only in this scenario, the color comes from the dipping powder but it is also sealed at the end with a UV light.

A base coat is applied to the nails, then it is dipped inside the pigmented powder before covering it with a top coat and curing it under UV light.

The process lasts for 45 minutes and you have three weeks to enjoy your look. Removal is done by soaking in acetone.

16. Press-on Nails

Press-on nails are usually the fastest and easiest manicure of the group. These fake nails have been around for a long time and have made a huge return. My favorite thing about press-on nails is their reusability.

You just need to glue the already-made nail to your nails and you’re good to go. You can change your look every few days, rocking different colors, shapes, and lengths so easily.

The application doesn’t take long but they don’t last very long. One nail can pop out one day and it’s bye-bye beautiful manicure.

17. Vinylux Manicure

Also developed by CND, this polish is made to last longer than your regular nail polish. It takes gel polish to the best level.

There is little need for a base coat when applying. Just apply the nail polish, then use a Vinylux top coat and you are good to go.

No UV light is involved and it attaches to your natural nail with no staining or damaging the nail bed upon removal.

18. Polygel Manicure

If acrylics and gel manicures had a baby, it would be a polygel manicure. The process involves putting a bead of the polygel onto a false nail and pressing it onto the natural nail before putting it under a UV light.

Once it hardens, the false plastic nail is removed and the polygel is filed into whatever shape you want, then painted.

The polygel is strong like acrylics, but also flexible like gel. The whole process can take up to an hour. 

This manicure can last for three weeks, but because it isn’t readily available in salons, it is quite expensive. 

19. Russian Manicure

You might need to do some research before you decide to get a Russian manicure. It is a technique that involves extensive manicure care and can be done only by a trained manicurist.

It involves cutting your cuticles which aren’t recommended because they protect the nail beds from infections, but it will leave your hands looking photoshopped.

Prepare to sit for almost two hours though. It can last for up to three weeks, so you can’t rush perfection

20. Plexigel Manicure

Plexigel is a brand of nail polish created by CND. It is designed to be a protective cover for your natural nails and is usually clear or light-colored.

Plexigel strengthens and protects the fingernails. Apply it the way you’ll apply normal nail polish. Plexigel manicures can last for three weeks.

21. Mirror Manicure

If you want to render people blond with the shine and beauty of your hands, a mirror manicure is a sure route to follow.

Mirror Manicure
Mirror Manicure by firmowe_paznokcie

It is a type of dip powder manicure that has a shiny, mirror-like finish. Use an eyeshadow brush to buff the powder onto a black surface and you’ve achieved the mirror effect.

A mirror manicure will cost the same as a dip powder manicure and can last several weeks if used with an acrylic or gel top coat.

22. Brazilian Manicure

Brazilian manicures are best for trying to remove cuticles. It often starts with a paraffin wax treatment to soften your skin.

Then, the cuticles are completely removed so there is no rough edge between your nail bed and your finger.

FAQs on Types of Nails Manicures

What are the popular types of manicures?

The main manicure types you’ll come across are basic, acrylic, gel, French tips, and dip powder

What kind of manicure is best?

The basic manicure, with the right polish, is best for your nails. The harsh chemicals in many polishes often degrade the nails.

The best way to avoid this is to use an organic polish that contains vitamins. 

What type of manicure lasts?

Gel and acrylic manicures last longer than most, and you don’t have to worry about breakage or chipping when doing the dishes or the laundry.

If you want your manicure to stay for a long time, consider getting one of the two.

What is a soft gel manicure?

Soft gel is a soak-off gel that can be removed with 100% acetone. It cannot support extensions but adds some strength to short nails.

Soft gel is applied with a brush and cured under a LED lamp or UV light.