Manicures can be so much more than just a file and polish, although if you’re short on time, that’s a wonderful pick-me-up too, either at home or at a spa. Before an event or simply to give you a sense of self-care and feel good factor during the week, a manicure is a comparatively small thing you can do for yourself that can make a big difference.
What are manicures?
Manicures are treatments for the hands, again usually involving shaping and painting the nails, tidying the cuticles, and nourishing the skin with oils and creams. Finishes range from regular polish to gel, which is dried under a UV lamp and lasts up to three weeks. Well known gel polish brands include CND Shellac, Gelish, Jessica and OPI. It’s also possible to have nail overlays or extensions applied at some destinations.
Types of manicure
Manicures can range from the extremely luxurious to a quick polish to the nails, depending on how much time you have and what you want to achieve. In a spa environment you would usually opt for a more luxurious experience that combines relaxing and skin nurturing elements to really make you feel looked after. Each spa destination has its own manicure offerings available, often with their own unique twist to really add to the experience. However, some of the types of manicure available include:
- Basic manicure
- Gel manicure
- Acrylic overlay
- French manicure
- American manicure
- Shellac manicure
- Paraffin manicure
- Reverse French manicure
- Hot stone
- Dip powder manicure
What are the benefits of a manicure?
Nourishing oils and creams are used on the skin, and manicures are excellent ways to treat yourself and feel as though you look your best. When they’re combined with hand massages, they can also be deeply relaxing. While most of us think of polish when it comes to a manicure, the really luxurious ones also focus on the wellbeing side of the treatment, and it can be extremely beneficial to how we feel. That said, if you opt for polish, they can also be a great way to feel as though you’re putting your best self forward in the world, whether you’re going to an event, work or simply going about your day.
What happens during a manicure?
While the details may vary, and can range from a simple file and polish at the basic end of the manicure spectrum, all the way up to hand masks and nourishing moisturisers, this is an approximate guide to what happens in a spa manicure.
- Preparation: Your therapist will usually begin by removing any traces of old nail polish
- Cleanse: They might then move onto a soak to cleanse, and soften skin and nails.
- Scrub: As part of the cleanse, they might use a scrub to exfoliate your hands, buffing away dead skin and nourishing it with oils and ingredients.
- Mask: They may then apply a mask to the hands or feet and possibly place them in warming mitts for a period of time to really hydrate the skin and nails.
- Massage: Once rinsed and dried, your therapist might add in a massage for hands with a cream or oil. This is an often underrated experience, but a hand massage can be extremely beneficial. So many people suffer with aches and pains in their hands because of all the time spent typing at computers. There is some science to show that hand massages can help to ease pain and increase hand strength when done regularly, as well as helping to reduce stress and anxiety. It’s also just a really lovely feeling - and how often do your hands really get that kind of care?
- File: They will then file, trim and shape nails as wanted or needed.
- Polish: The cherry on top is the colour. You will likely choose a nail polish at the start of your treatment. Therapists will apply your base coat, colour as required and top coat to seal.
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Prepare for an evening out or get ready for a holiday, manicures are also perfect for sharing (especially at Champagne nail bars). They’re ideal for small groups of friends or as part of a hen party or celebration, time with a loved one or mother/daughter spa days where you can talk at the same time as having your treatment together, especially if the spa has a dedicated manicure station. That way, you can book your treatment for the same time, and enjoy one another’s company in the process.
Average price of a manicure
Manicures range in price depending on the type of treatment that you have. That can mean anything from £10 to over £100.
Wait until your polish is dry before doing anything in case of smudging. If you’re on a spa break, it’s a good idea to use the wet facilities before your treatment so you don’t wash off all those lovely, nourishing oils and creams. Normal hand care applies, and it’s recommended that you wear gloves when you’re doing housework to avoid chipping the polish.
What should I wear to a manicure?
You can wear whatever you want during a manicure! If it’s part of a whole spa day you might want to stay in your robe and slippers, but if you’re just popping in for a quick treatment then your regular clothes are fine. You might find it helpful to wear sleeves that can be rolled up, however, so that therapists can wash hands or sometimes massage the forearms as part of the treatment.