Shellac, cuticles, 5-free polish – there is a lot of jargon in the manicure world and if you’re thinking about your first manicure, it can be a little daunting. Here, we’ll explain in detail exactly what to expect during a manicure, how long it will take, what tools and products will be used, and why even have one. All of your questions will soon be answered!

What exactly is a manicure?

A manicure is a beauty treatment of the hands. Your nails will be cut, filed, and shaped. You will then have your cuticles pushed back and tidied, and then enjoy a hand massage. The final step will be the painting of the nails with a colour of your choice.

It can be tempting to skip the salon and try a DIY mani, but we’d say leave it to the pros. A perfect polish is a skill that takes years, and hundreds of painted nails to perfect – it’s all about attention to detail in getting the polish as close to the cuticle as possible. Plus, a smooth, evenly distributed, glossy finish is much harder to achieve than it looks. The manicure process shouldn’t differ much between getting it done at a salon, or at home by a mobile beauty service, like us. The key difference is the comfort and convenience of having it done at home.

Get a glimpse of a LeSalon at-home manicure in our video below:

Why have a manicure?

For both men and women, manicures are excellent for maintaining healthy nails, cuticles and skin. Regardless of your profession, people notice other’s hands and the presentation and cleanliness of your hands will be judged. Having your hands and nails groomed by a skilled therapist achieves a clean and professional look that can be difficult attain yourself. The pampering aspect of a manicure allows you to de-stress, relax and enjoy some ‘me time’. If you are opting for painted nails in your manicure, this can be a fun way to express your personality and experiment with colour and nail art trends.

Filing nails women's manicure

Now let’s break the manicure process into more detail:

Nail cutting

Your manicurist may not always trim your nails; it depends on your current and desired nail length. If your nails are already relatively short, then filing will do just fine. If your nails are very long but you want them short for the manicure, then they will often be cut, then filed to your desired shape.

Nail filing and shaping

Manicurists use nail files to gently take down and shape the edges of the nails. Your manicurist will ask you what nail shape you would prefer, with the standards being round or square. There are many more nail shapes but these are the most common. It’s about aesthetic preferences and if you’re really not sure, just ask the professional what they think will suit your nails best.

Manicure for men

Cutting and tidying cuticles

Cuticles are the dry skin surrounding the nail plate, where your nail and finger meet. We at LeSalon, carry out dry manicures; we use a cuticle remover to soften and remove the dead cuticle using a sterilised pusher and cuticle nipper. If you require more cuticle tidying please do not hesitate to let your technician know.

Buff to Shine

In the case of men’s manicures or if you are not having polish, buffing will be the final step of your manicure. Using a nail buffer, your manicurist will polish the nail surface to create a consistent and shiny look.

Nail Painting

Painting is done in multiple steps to attain a glossy and long-lasting result. A clear base coat is applied to your nails to help the polish stick better to your nails. It also creates a protective barrier between your nails and the damaging (staining, peeling and brittleness) effects of nail polish. The next step is to apply two coats of nail polish. One coat of polish often doesn’t give a salon-quality finish to it. And too many coats can get clumpy and messy. Finally, your manicurist will paint on a top coat. This coat acts to seal the coloured polish, which prevents chipping, and also gives your nails that desired glossy appearance.  

Painting nails isn’t quite as easy as it looks. It’s all about attention to detail in getting the polish as close to the cuticle as possible without letting it bleed. Plus, it takes a true expert to achieve a smooth, evenly distributed, glossy finish. There’s precision in sealing the edges of the nails with polish to prevent chipping too.

Set of LeSalon nail polish

How long will my manicure take?

Depending on which type of mani you’re going for, it can range from 20-45 minutes. Express manicures include filing and shaping finished with buffing or painting the nails. We include cuticle work, and hand massages in our Classic manicure. Our Shellac manicures will take a little longer as each painted layer is set under a LED lamp.

Now that we’ve cleared up the process of a manicure, how tempted are you to jump into the world of hand care? Have your first manicure in the comfort of your own home or even on a lunch break at the office with LeSalon’s premium mobile service.