What are the benefits of a waterless manicure? And what are the step-by-steps for performing one?


What are the benefits of a waterless manicure? And what are the step-by-steps for performing one?


Using oil-based products instead of warm, soapy water is more effective for maintaining healthy skin and nails and can allow for a longer-lasting polish application.

Soaking in water can cause polish to chip sooner because the nail plate is porous. It absorbs water while soaking and the nail plate expands. If you apply polish to an expanded nail, the polish will not adhere well and is likely to chip when the nail dries out and shrinks back.

The steps are simple and there is no need to buy a new line of products. Just follow these easy steps:

1. Sanitize: Sanitize both your and your client’s hands with a waterless sanitizer.

2. Shape the nails on one hand:Remember to be gentle and use a fine grit file.

3. Apply cuticle oil: Explain that you prefer to use oil instead of warm, soapy water to soften the skin because

it’s healthier for it and better for a long-lasting polish application.

4. Shape the nails and apply cuticle oil on the second hand.

5. Massage both hands: This will gently lift the eponychium off the nail plate and help to further soften the skin around the nail.

6. Remove dead skin from plates: Using a cotton-tipped orangewood stick dipped in acetone or alcohol, gently rub to remove any dead skin adhered to the nail plate. For more stubborn tissue, use a soft file (600-grit) to buff off the skin.

7. Nip away dead skin: Cut only dead, dry skin and hangnails. If you are doing your job right, you’ll find your client’s cuticles will have less rips and tears each time she returns.

8. Clean and dehydrate the nail plate: Wipe each nail with cotton soaked in acetone or alcohol.

9. Polish to perfection: Finish off with your best polish application.

Side note: Play around with different oils and aromatherapy to spice up this basic oil manicure. Whichever oil you choose, don’t forget to explain all the benefits to your clients, and make sure you have plenty of small bottles on hand to retail.

— Jessica Mahler is the owner of Painted Red Nails & Naturals Boutique in Osterville, Mass.

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