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Russian Manicures Are the Top Trending Salon Treatment That Beautify Nails for 4 Weeks or Longer

There’s something about a fresh manicure that can make you feel just a little more put together. Whether you treat yourself to one every few weeks — or only for special occasions — manis are more than just for aesthetics. And as it turns out, the older we get, the more we actually need them. “The brutal truth is that our nails are the healthiest at around age 15,” says Jan Arnold, the co-founder of CND, a global professional nail, hand, and foot beauty brand. “This is when they are receiving optimal nutrients, natural oils, moisture, and circulation for robust growth.”

What this means is that nail care when you’re over 40 is more important than you might think, and to that end, there’s a new buzzy technique making the rounds on social media: the Russian manicure. This method creates extremely precise, pretty tips said to last longer than other manicures, but it’s not without its risks. Keep scrolling to learn more about Russian manicures to decide if they might be right for you.

What is a Russian manicure?

“A Russian manicure is distinguished by its meticulous approach to cuticle care and overall precision,” says Mazz Hanna, manicurist, CEO of Nailing Hollywood, and a go-to artist for Dazzle Dry nail polish. “This technique often involves using gel polish or builder gel polish, but the main difference of a Russian manicure is the detailed cuticle work. The goal is to achieve a cleaner, more polished look that grows out seamlessly compared to traditional manicures.”

If you want to get extra technical about the cuticle work, Arnold says a Russian manicure involves removal of the true cuticle and the proximal nail fold, aka the cuticle fold, which is the tissue that keeps harmful bacteria and other irritants away from the nail matrix. This is why Russian manicures can be controversial; some, including Arnold, advocate for precise polish application through “tightening and shrinking” the cuticle fold (instead of removing it via a Russian manicure) through the daily use of a lightweight oil, like CND’s own SolarOil.

How a Russian manicure is done

Woman getting her nails done

The process of getting a Russian manicure isn’t so different from a regular manicure. It’s important to note that it’s a dry technique, though, meaning any old polish and your cuticles/cuticle folds are removed without water. That’s because it’s now thought that soaking can cause swelling, which can interfere with polish application and natural nail health (though there’s not a total consensus on this in the beauty world). As an overview, here’s what you can expect at a Russian manicure appointment:

  1. Any remaining old polish is removed carefully, and nails are buffed and shaped to the desired look typically using a specialized tool, like an electric file, or e-file, with specialized nail bits.
  2. Cuticles and cuticle folds are removed (again, typically with an e-file).
  3. After cleaning and dehydrating the surface and surrounding area of the nail, new polish is applied.

To see the process for yourself, watch the below video from @nailbysaraafshar on YouTube.

The benefits of a Russian manicure

Russian manicures offer a few key advantages over regular manicures.

1. Russian manicures are precise

First, they look very pristine; that’s because there’s more surface area for polish, since the cuticles and cuticle folds are removed, and the pigment is applied to appear as though there’s zero space between it and the skin.

2. Russian manicures last longer

Beyond precision, longevity is another pro, since the skin and nails can take more time to grow back with this method. “The meticulous finish and durability make Russian manicures popular, since they can last longer than regular manicures,” says Hanna. “This technique is perfect for those who appreciate meticulous cuticle work and prefer to extend the time between salon visits.”

How a Russian manicure differs from other types of manicures

A Russian manicure all comes down to its specific method of cuticle prep; again, it’s a dry technique where instead of water and traditional trimming tools, the cuticle and nearby skin gets shaved down very methodically, usually with an e-file. “The primary difference of Russian manicures is the focus on detailed cuticle care and the use of an e-file,” says Hanna. “You can still achieve the same range of colors, finishes, and nail shapes as you would with other manicure techniques.” If you’re into nail art, designs can still be done with Russian manicures as well.

Are Russian manicures safe?

Woman getting a Russian manicure done
Arturo Peña Romano Medina

The answer to the safety question is yes, but with a few caveats and warnings. First, this isn’t a method you’d want to DIY. “Since the technique requires professional skills and tools to safely and effectively trim cuticles and use an e-file without causing damage or infection, it’s not recommended to attempt a Russian manicure at home,” says Hanna. Arnold agrees, adding that “this delicate task requires training, care, and precision to be done correctly without causing harm to the nail matrix and dermis.

In other words, you’re dealing with removal of the barrier that seals off the nail and the skin, so damage here can cause anything from infection to permanent scarring. Even with proper precision, Arnold notes that it’s possible for the cuticle folds, which are trimmed and instantly shrunken in this technique, to thicken and become callous over time as they grow back. So that’s something to be aware of if you choose to go the Russian route.

In addition to seeking a super skilled technician, pay attention to the conditions of the salon where you’re getting your Russian mani done. Do your research to find a pro that’s experienced with the technique and works out of a clean, well-reviewed shop or with a reputable organization. “It’s crucial to ensure that the salon maintains high hygiene standards to avoid infections,” says Hanna. Once you’ve gotten your nails done, you’ll also want to care for them in between Russian treatments. “Between sessions, using cuticle oil and moisturizers can help maintain nail and cuticle health and strengthen them against potential brittleness,” says Hanna.

How much does a Russian manicure cost?

According to Hanna, Russian manicures typically range anywhere from $65 to $120. Pricing depends on the location and salon. For example, in a large city, it wouldn’t be unheard of to pay $200.

How long does a Russian manicure last?

“A Russian manicure generally lasts about 3-4 weeks depending on how fast your nails grow,” says Hanna. That’s about about a week or so longer than a traditional gel manicure.

See more nail care tips and inspiration:

How To Remove Gel Nails at Home: A Nail Pro Shares the 5 Easy Steps That Won’t Damage Nails

Ask for ‘Shellac Nails’ For the Most Natural Looking Artificial Nails On The Market

Gel Manicures: Nail Artists Weigh In On the #1 Approach To Long-Lasting Nail Beauty

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