In order to give or receive a good manicure, it's important to have the right manicure instruments or tools. From cutters to buffers and files, there are many manicure instruments and products out there. Knowing which manicure instruments to use and which to avoid can save you money and stress, leading to the perfect manicure at home.
- Fingernail and cuticle clippers Fingernail clippers are standard for any manicure or nail procedure, allowing the nails to be trimmed to a proper shape. Most homes likely have at least one pair of nail clippers, but not all houses will have cuticle cutters. Cuticle cutters are shaped like scissors and can be used to trim the cuticle and remove any hangnails.
- Emery boards Emery boards are thin, rough sticks that can be rubbed on the nails to shape them during a manicure Picture a Popsicle stick with sandpaper on each side and you have an emery board. These are often disposable and will vary from those suited for natural nails and those suited for artificial nails.
Orange sticks Often called orange wood sticks, orange sticks are thin, wooden sticks with a pointed end and a flat end. What looks like fancy wooden barbecue skewers, orange sticks are useful for reaching the cracks and crevices around and under nails to remove dirt. Cotton-wrapped orange sticks, similar to cotton swabs, are also helpful for removing nail polish.
Fingerbath Filled with warm, soapy water and possibly some nice-smelling oil, the fingerbath is used to soak the nails during a manicure. While some will recommend against the soaking step as it can lead to cracks in the nails, this soaking process is part of the pampering that comes with a manicure. Bowls specifically made for manicures are available, but any small dish can be used.
Nail brushes As removing all dirt and debris from nails is key to a lasting manicure, small, flat nail brushes are used in the cleaning step. Bacteria can grow on the nails and manicure instruments, so keeping a dedicated nail brush that will not be used for anything else is very important.
Cuticle pushers Used to push the cuticles back towards the base of the fingers, cuticle pushers–or hoof sticks–are small, thin tools made from metal. As the instrument is only used on the cuticles, those looking to save money can skip this purchase, opting to use an orange stick for the same purpose.
- Buffers Several types of buffers are used near the end of any good manicure. Fine-grit buffers are used just before the application of nail polish, roughing up the surface of the nail to allow the polish to stick better. In cases where polish is not applied, a smooth buffer can be used to give the nails a glossy, natural shine.
- Lotions, creams and polishes To perform a manicure you will need a variety of lotions, creams and potions. Nail polish remover is the first thing used in any manicure, removing the existing polish on the nails. A cuticle softener, in a cream, oil or serum form, is essential to soften the cuticles before pushing them back. Nail polishes, including a base coat, colored lacquer and top coat, are also key to achieving the perfect manicure. To complete the pampering, add in scented hand lotions or oil, which can be added to the fingerbath or rubbed directly on the hands.