Types of Manicures: What is included, Costs & How to Pick

What is a Manicure & What Type is Best For You
What is a Manicure & What Type is Best For You

Getting a manicure can be very confusing and frustrating since they are so many different types and variations to choose from.

So that’s why I am gonna try to simplify everything for you. To allow you to make better decisions at your nail salon or if you are DIYing yourself.

Now in this article I am gonna explain:

  1. What is a Manicure.
  2. What’s typically included in a manicure.
  3. The Different Types of Manicures – to help you select which one is right for you.
  4. What are the usual prices for the various types of manicures

What is a Manicure

A manicure is a cosmetic treatment done to the hands with a special focus on making the nails look more appealing.

Manicures can be done either; at home by yourself or at a nail salon by a nail technician.

What’s Included in a Manicure

All manicures tend to include:

  1. Changing the Appearance of the Nails – this can vary widely; from just buffing and cutting your nails to applying nail products such as nail polishes and nail extensions.
  2. Fixing and Aligning the Cuticles – which is the pushing back and aligning of your cuticles to make your nails look cleaner & neater.
  3. Skin Care – Some manicures include scrubbing and exfoliating your hands to make them nice and smooth.

It’s important to note that what is included in a manicure will vary based on; the type of manicure that you opt for and the salon that you go to.

You see each type of manicure will be different like an acrylic manicure will give you nail extensions whilst a dip powder manicure wouldn’t.

Also, each salon will offer different services some salons give you a hand massage with each manicure and some will exfoliate your hands and for you.

Related Article: How long do Manicures Really take & What to Expect

What is the Cost For a Manicure

The price for a manicure will vary based on: the type of manicure, the amount of design and accessories that you want, and the location and type of the salon.

High-end nail salons will be extremely pricey and the price will vary greatly.

But generally, for your typical nail salon, the prices are in the range you see in the table below.

Now, these prices will vary greatly depending on the design that you want. This will dictate how much work and time your nail tech needs to spend on your manicure.

Type of ManicurePrice Range
Natural Manicure$10-$15
Standard Nail Polish Manicure$15-$22
Gel Polish Manicure$25-$55
Acrylic Manicure$35-$95
Gel Extension$45-$100
Polygel Nails$55-$120
Dip Powder Nails$35-$65
Table showing the price range of the different types of manicures

Types of Manicures

The main types of manicures are:

  1. Natural Manicure – (Doesn’t use any nail polish, instead this manicure gives your nails a simple glossy and neat look)
  2. Standard Nail Polish Manicure – (Uses nail polish but doesn’t extend the length of your nails)
  3. Gel Polish/Shellac Manicure – (Uses a UV cured gel polish which is more durable than regular nail polish)
  4. Acrylic Manicure – (Creates the most durable and long-lasting nail extension)
  5. Gel Extension Manicure – (Similar to acrylic but safer and feels more lighter but not as durable)
  6. Polygel Manicure (Very easy to use to DIY nail extension)
  7. Dip Powder Manicure (Used as an alternative to nail polish except extremely durable)

1- Natural Manicure

A natural manicure gives you a simple and neat natural look. It includes:

  1. Removing any dead cuticle skin on the nail plate.
  2. Pushing back and aligning your cuticles.
  3. Cuting, filing and shaping your natural nails.
  4. Buffing the top of your nails with a fine grit nail file to make your nails glossy and smooth.

A natural manicure doesn’t use any nail polish or extensions. But some nail salons may apply a glossy top coat to give your nails a sheen.

Natural manicures are ideal if you like keeping your nails simple without too much color and

You can check out the video below to see how a natural manicure is done.

2- Standard Nail Polish Manicure

Standard nail polish manicures are by far the most common type of manicures.

It includes neatening up your cuticles, filing and shaping your nail, and finally the application of nail polish. A Nail Polish manicure may also include various degrees of nail art and designs.

The price will vary based on the salon and the type of design that you request. The more complicated the design is the more costly it will be.

3- Gel Polish or Shellac Manicure

A Gel Polish or Shellac manicure uses a special type of polish that needs a UV Led lamp to cure and harden.

Gel polish manicures are more durable, long-lasting, and tend to look better when compared to standard nail polish manicures. Gel polishes can last for around 2-3 weeks whilst regular nail polishes usually last for 4-7 days.

Now gel polishes and Shellac polishes are basically the same. The difference is that Shellac is the original and most popular brand of gel polish. But there are other brands of gel polishes available.

I recommend using gel polishes over regular nail polishes if you need a more durable manicure.

You can see how gel polishes are applied in the video below.

4- Acrylic Manicure

An acrylic manicure is the most durable and long-lasting form of manicure. Acrylic is usually used to make really affordable and long-lasting nail extensions.

Now the drawbacks with acrylic nails are that they are tedious to apply and they tend to be bulkier compared to other types of nail extensions.

Acrylic Manicures are great for individuals who like having long nails but need them to be extra strong. Especially if you work in an environment where your nails are under a lot of strain.

To learn more about acrylic nails you can click here to read my article on Gel Vs Acrylic. Gel and Acrylic are the 2 most common forms of manicures for nail extensions.

You can also check out the video below to see how acrylic nails are applied

5- Gel Extension Manicure

Gel Extension Manicures are very similar to acrylic manicures in that they are both primarily used to make nail extensions.

Now the main difference is that Gel Extensions use a thick gel that needs to be cured using a UV Led Lamp whilst acrylic nails don’t require a UV lamp.

Gel Extensions tend to be less harsh on your nails and they tend to feel lighter and more natural when compared to acrylic nails. But gel extensions are more expensive and they are not as durable as acrylic.

6- Polygel Manicure

Polygel is a relatively new nail product it is also known as Hybrid gel.

You can think of Polygel as a mixture of gel and acrylic. This is because it is thicker than the gel used for gel extension with a consistency similar to acrylic. Yet it requires a UV Led Lamp to cure just like gel extensions.

Polygel tends to be easier to apply when compared to gel extensions and acrylic nails. They are also just as durable and long-lasting.

The main problem with a Polygel manicure is that a lot of nail salons don’t yet offer the service and if they do, it tends to be more expensive.

But thankfully Polygel can easily be applied at home. You can click here to read my step by step guide on How to Apply Polygel Nails at Home.

Or you can check out the video below to see how to use Polygel Nails using dual forms.

7- Dip Powder Manicure

Dip Powder just like Polygel is a relatively new nail product. It is best used like a more durable form of nail polish also known as overlay nails.

Dip Powder is a manicure system that uses very fine acrylic powder to cover your nails along with a special base coat and an activator to keep the powder in place.

You can see how Dip Powder works in the video below.

Citation / References

Polygel Gel Nails 101

Dip Powder Nails Guide.

Acrylic Nails: Everything You’ve Ever Wanted to Know

Gel Extensions