Natural Nails

Tricks for Tool Buying

In the market for a new cuticle nipper or curette? We explain what to look for in six of the most common metal implements.

Manicure Shears
shown: Star Nail StarPro Straight Scissors

> Ensure the blade is a good size (not too long) for precise cutting.

> Curved versus straight edges is a matter of personal preference.

> Make sure the tip comes to a nice sharp point for precise trimming of wraps.

> If the blades are snagging on fabric, it’s time to replace the scissors.


Cuticle Nippers
shown: Tweezerman Cobalt Stainless Steel Cuticle Nipper 1/4 Jaw

> Jaw size (1/8, 1/4, 1/2, and full) is a matter of personal preference. Smaller generally gives you more control, but some techs prefer to remove more cuticle at once via a larger size.

> If your nippers aren’t cutting without pulling at the skin, it’s a tell-tale sign you need to have your tool sharpened or replaced.

> Keep nipper joints clean and freshly oiled to avoid rust. If rust appears, clean the joint, add more oil, and wipe off excess.

> No spring, single-spring, and double-spring configurations are available. The spring controls the handle tension. The tension level is personal preference, though many techs prefer the double-spring design as it prevents metal from rubbing on metal.

> If you have large hands, look for nippers with long handles.

Tip Cutter
shown: Mehaz Professional The Original Edge Cutter 114

> Look for a nice sharp blade that cuts through the tip without applying pressure.

> If you start to notice the tool putting pressure on the tip as it’s cutting it, the blade needs replacing. Pressure can cause cracks, which can’t always be seen by the naked eye.

> For all metal implements, stainless steel is the best option, as it can stand up to repeated disinfection without rusting or corrosion.

> Purchase a tip cutter that offers the shapes you want, whether that’s round or straight.

Cuticle Pusher
shown: Young Nails Pusher and Remover

> The end of a pusher should always be smooth. Any bumps or nicks should be repaired and sharpened out to a factory edge.

> Shape — square, round, or in between — is a matter of personal preference. Size is based on the size of your client’s nail bed.

> Practice on yourself to test the edge of the tool before trying it on a client, so you know how much pressure to use.

> Many cuticle pushers come with a pterygium remover on the opposite end.

shown: Antoine de Paris #215 Curette

> Look for a spoon option that is large enough to remove debris but small enough to avoid client discomfort. Many techs choose a 1 mm. spoon for fingernail work.

> Curettes generally last a long time, but if yours is dull or bent from use, it’s time to replace it.

> Handles are typically flat or rounded. Some brands offer a less common curved handle.

> A double-ended option provides a larger spoon size (frequently 2 mm.) for toenails.


shown: Beautiful Nails by Kupa Curved Tweezers

> Tips should be perfectly aligned. Avoid tweezers with gaps, spaces, or burs in the tips, creating an uneven edge.

> A bend in the footing makes it easier to pick up rhinestones.

> If you’re using tweezers to pinch an acrylic C-curve, then purchase a tall long tweezer.

> Fully aligned tips close along their entire length. Beware of tweezers that aren’t calibrated correctly.

> The right tension is achieved by the thickness and composition of the material, dimensions and angle of the tweezer, and the technique used to connect the arms. Lower quality tweezers don’t have balanced tension, which affects the handling and durability. The tweezer arms may not have flexibility, making the tweezer too stiff or too flimsy.


Next page: Our experts, metal implements buyers' guide, plus links to related articles

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