Example of a French manicure

A manicure is a cosmetic beauty treatment for the fingernails and hands performed at home or in a nail salon. A manicure treatment is not only a treatment for the natural nails but also for the hands. A manicure consists of filing, shaping of the free edge, treatments, massage of the hand and the application of polish. There are also manicure services that are specialities for the hands and feet. For the hands, the soaking of a softening substance and the application of a lotion is a common speciality. When applied to the toenails and feet, this treatment is referred to as a pedicure. The word "manicure" derives from Latin: manus for "hand," cura for "care."

Other nail treatments may include the application of artificial nail tips, acrylics or artificial nail gels. Some manicures can include the painting of pictures or designs on the nails or applying small decals or imitation jewels.

In many areas, manicurists are licensed and follow regulation. Since skin is manipulated and is sometimes trimmed, there is a certain risk of spreading infection when tools are used across many people and, therefore, sanitation is a serious issue.



Ex-servicewomen learning manicure techniques, 1945

Manicures began 5000 years ago. In Arab countries, henna was used for manicure. The term mehendi, used synonymously for henna, henna being an Arabic word, derives from the Sanskrit mehandika. Empress Dowager Cixi was known to keep very long naturally-grown nails.[1]

French manicures are manicures designed to resemble natural nails, and are characterized by natural pink base nails with white tips. The tips of the nails are painted white while the rest of the nails are polished in a pink or a suitable nude shade. French manicures may have originated in eighteenth-century Paris and were popular in the 1920s and 1930s.[citation needed]

Fashion nails

Modern manicure treatments

Nowadays the manicure is not just for an aesthetic benefit. More emphasis is now given to correct preparation of the nail such as removing the cuticle (eponychium) and applying a variety of creams and oils in order to maintain a healthy balance of oils on and around the nail bed.[2]

Nail care

Natural nails are made up of protein keratin. The nail plate requires a certain amount of flexibility and moisture to encourage healthy growth. Using 'hardening' treatments and harsh chemicals on natural nails will make the nail plate brittle and more prone to breakages. The use of nail moisturizers and clear polish proteins is essential for perfect growth. A professional Nail Technician or Manicurist will use a written, verbal and observational consultation to determine the condition of a client's natural nails[citation needed]. A manicure treatment should take from about thirty minutes to one hour.

Paraffin treatments

Hands can be dipped in melted paraffin wax for softening and moisturizing. Paraffin wax is used because it can be heated to temperatures of over 95 °F (35 °C), without burning or injuring the hand.[citation needed] The intense heat allows for deeper absorption of emollients and essential oils. The wax is usually infused with various botanical ingredients such as Aloe vera, chamomile, tea tree oil, and azulene. Fruit waxes such as peach, apple and strawberry are often used in salons.

Occasionally, lotion is rubbed on the hand before submersion into the paraffin bath. The hand is usually dipped more than once to allow a thicker wax coat to form, making the coating stay warm for longer and less likely to break or tear prematurely. After the hands have been dipped in the wax, they are wrapped in either plastic or aluminum foil, or a special type of plastic bag or glove then covered with towel or special mitten to retain warmth. The hands are left for a few minutes before the paraffin is cooled and dried.

Hot oil manicure

A hot oil manicure is a specific type of manicure that cleans the cuticles and softens them with oil. It works well for dry skin and nails that are brittle as it improves both by leaving them soft and pliable. Types of oils that can be used are mineral oil, olive oil or commercial preparation in an electric heater.

Common manicure tools and supplies

A standard cuticle nipper used during manicure.


  • Bowl of warm water or fingerbath
  • Nail clippers
  • Cuticle knife and clippers
  • Cuticle pusher/Hoof stick – often made from metal or orange wood
  • Nail file/electric nail file/emery board
  • buffer
  • scissors
  • brush
  • Orange Stick
  • Manicure table
  • Rubber thimble resembling object (used to help open polish)


  • Cuticle remover
  • Massage lotion
  • Nail polish
    • Base coat polish & ridge filler polish
    • Color varnish
    • Top coat or sealant
  • Nail bindi stick-on jewels
  • Nail polish remover or nail polish remover wipes
  • Hand cream
  • Sanitizing spray/towels
  • Cotton balls/pads
  • Hand towels

Specialty methods

In the United States, many nail salons are offering personal nail tool kits available for purchase to avoid the issue of sanitation. The kits are often kept in the salon and only used when that client comes in for a treatment. Since the 1970s, the overwhelming majority of professional salons now implement the use of electric nail files which are faster and yield higher quality results.[citation needed]


External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Manicure — Жанры Постпанк, постпанк ривайвл, инди рок Годы 2007 наши дни Страна …   Википедия

  • Manicure — Man i*cure, v. t. & i. [imp. & p. p. {Manicured}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Manicuring}.] 1. To care for (the hands and nails); to care for the hands and nails of; to do manicure work. [Webster 1913 Suppl.] 2. to trim carefully and meticulously; as, to… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • manicure — [man′i kyoor΄] n. [Fr < L manus, a hand + cura, care: see CURE] a trimming, cleaning, and sometimes polishing of the fingernails, esp. when done by a manicurist vt. manicured, manicuring 1. a) to trim, polish, etc. (the fingernails) b) to give …   English World dictionary

  • manicure — man i*cure, n. [F., fr. L. manus hand + curare to cure.] A person who makes a business of taking care of people s hands, especially their nails; an older term for a {manicurist}. [1913 Webster] [Men] who had taken good care of their hands by… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • manicure — ► NOUN ▪ a cosmetic treatment of the hands and nails. ► VERB 1) give a manicure to. 2) (manicured) (of a lawn or garden) neatly trimmed and maintained. DERIVATIVES manicurist noun. ORIGIN from Lati …   English terms dictionary

  • manicure — man i*cure, n. The care of the hands and nails, especially a thorough cosmetic treatment of the hands, especially the trimming and polishing of the fingernails, and removing of cuticles, performed by a manicurist. [Webster 1913 Suppl.] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Manicure — (franz., spr. kǖr ), die Pflege der Hände, besonders der Nägel; Fingernägelbeschneider …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • manicure — s. f. O mesmo que manicura.   ‣ Etimologia: francês manucure …   Dicionário da Língua Portuguesa

  • manicure — {{/stl 13}}{{stl 7}}[wym. manikiur – akcent na ostatniej sylabie]{{/stl 7}}{{stl 17}}ZOB. {{/stl 17}}{{stl 7}}manikiur {{/stl 7}} …   Langenscheidt Polski wyjaśnień

  • manicure — {{11}}manicure (n.) 1873, one who professionally treats hands and fingernails, from Fr. manicure, lit. the care of the hands, from L. manus hand (see MANUAL (Cf. manual)) + cura care (see CURE (Cf. cure)). Meaning treatment and care of the hands… …   Etymology dictionary

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.