Manicure Gadgets: Tools of the Trade

Supplies to Get the Job Done

The vast array of manicure supplies available today is mind boggling. So much so, that you might want to take a virtual tour on the Internet to learn what the beauty supply companies are offering.

Exfoliation products for the face became available about ten years ago. They were used mainly in exclusive salons and were not available for home use. Today, it is quite common to hear about exfoliation products for hands and face. A manicure is no longer just soaking and moisturizing, but also exfoliation which reveals new, soft skin that absorbs and retains moisture. Exfoliants have become part of every well stocked salon to enhance the nail/spa experience.

Manicure supplies have gone "electrical." Nail file appliances are used for many of the artificial nail applications. Removing artificial nails by hand is a lengthy process. The electric nail file appliances enable the process to move a little faster. They also buff and polish, normally completed by hand.

Electric nail file appliances are a boon to the manicurist. Hand and shoulder problems are common to a professional manicurist and are responsible for ending many manicuring careers. Another electric gadget is the nail spa, a miniature Jacuzzi for hands. Most of the electric professional manicuring tools may be used for personal use in the home.

Spa is the magic word of the "feel good" industry. Who wouldn't love a week or week-end of pampering at an elegant spa? Just one drawback ─ the treatments can put a dent in your wallet. Why not a home spa? With all the gadgets to pick from, you can personalize your home treatment to include a manicure, pedicure and a steam facial.

It's no longer considered only a woman's luxury to have a mani-pedi. Manicures for men are pretty common. Not only are they getting hands and feet pampered, but many are getting facials and waxing.

Men's skin care products are on the rise with many big name brands like Estee Lauder carrying a men's skin care line. Men are more conscious of grooming nowadays as part of their overall wellness attitude.

To attract "manly men", a salon company, in fifteen cities so far, advertises manicures as "hand detailing." It's an innovative idea since many men wouldn't be caught dead in a woman's salon/spa. It's also a step up from the barber shops and a hot towel facial. Of course, there are always the diehards who still go out in the yard to clip their nails.

Professional Manicure Kits

Perhaps you have watched news programs as they reported on the risks of nail salons:

ABC News – Barbara Walters 20/20 "Getting Nailed"

ABC News – Good Morning America "Nightmare Manicure"

The American Academy of Dermatology reported on "Hair and Nail Salons Linked to Infectious Diseases."

Interested in learning more? Why not take an online class in How to Manicure?

Whether you do your manicures at home or at a salon, personal manicure kits safeguard against fungus, infection and disease. The nail kit pictured above is Dr. Carolyn Siegel's Savvy Nail Kit for Pedicures and Manicures. As of this writing, it costs $39.97. It includes almost (no nail brush) everything you need to take care of your nails and can be found at

  • Professional Cuticle Clipper
  • Professional Cuticle Pusher
  • Four Way Buffer
  • Nail Clipper/Toenail Clipper
  • Professional Emory Board
  • Custom Toe Separators
  • Physician Developed Tub Liner
  • Wood Stick'
  • Implement Purse
  • Diamond Nail File
At, you can find a similar kit for $34.99. Manicure kits can cost as much as $650 and many contain hand forged instruments with a life-time warrantee. Numerous expensive kits are manufactured in Germany where finely crafted knives are made. It is not recommended that you purchase chrome plate kits as they deteriorate rapidly and are prone to rust.

This chic manicure set has the tools needed to do a home manicure. It can be found at Sephora and may be purchased on-line. Sorry, no price was available.

Designer Perry Ellis has an eight piece set of male manicure tools ensconced in black leather. It also includes a razor and tooth brush.

New Manicure Products

Shown above is an electric manicure set with a wide assortment of tools to give yourself the perfect mani-pedi. There are so many manicure products on the Internet, and in drug stores and beauty supply stores, you couldn't use them all if you lived to be a hundred. The new nail supplies below will give you an idea of the hottest products to hit the market:

  1. Young Nails Heavenly Glitter Collection – Striking new glitters to top your polish and give your nails a holographic sparkle.
  2. Star Nail Pink Ceramic Foot File – This is impressive. The file is ergonomically designed to contour the heels and has a wide surface for extra coverage. Joy! It can be disinfected.
  3. OPI – Known for its innovative polish colors, OPI has done it again with a line of polish called Retro Fun In The Sun and features six colors with a beach party approach. Their newest polish collection is called Mod About Brights and features six vintage shades to highlight color and the graphic prints that are so popular today.
  4. Microplane Foot Files – These have been around for awhile, but included in this list because they make a great addition to anyone's nail kit. The file has a bi-directional exfoliating system that gently massages tired feet and leaves them soft and smooth.
  5. Xtreme's Pedi -Pops Soak – How great to come home after a long, busy day to a foot soak that softens, whitens and perks the spirit with scent.
  6. Orly's Ultra Shine Flash Dry Drops – This not only dries lacquer quickly but conditions cuticles with vitamin B and wheat germ oil.
  7. Hawaiian Body Products Ola Hawaii – These manicure and pedicure products are actually made in Hawaii with ingredients like macadamia nut, coconut and more. Their Volcanic Foot Scrub sounds intriguing.
  8. Trind Cosmetics Perfect System – A six step system for hand and nail care. According to the company. Regular use will bring noticeable relief in two weeks.
Take some time and check out other products new on the market. Better still, visit a beauty supply shop where you can read the fine print and check the labels for harmful chemicals.

School Accreditation

You've been doing home manicures on yourself, mother, sister, sister-in-law and have recently been toying with the idea of going to school to become a certified nail technician. A big plus is that you can work full-time or part-time and can pretty well name your hours. You should also consider being exposed to nail dust, strong odors and chemicals that could affect your health. Your work conditions will depend on where you work. If you work at a discount salon, chances are you could be exposed to MMA. Even though you pay $200 a gallon for your artificial nail liquid, there could be other manicurists that are using the $20 stuff.

If you enjoy working with your hands and consider yourself, literally, a hands on people person, a career as a manicurist may be just what you need to reboot yourself and learn a new career. You already know what a manicurist does: cleaning, trimming and polishing nails for a living. They also provide artificial nails and provide pedicures. It all sounds so simple doesn't it? Not so.

The science and art of proper nail health is surprisingly complex. It takes very little maintenance to have nails that are not damaged or diseased. The opposite is true to have nails that are actually beautiful. This takes more than one visit to the nail technician but a series of visits to get nails to a healthy level. Of course, if you don't eat properly, or take care of yourself, this too can have a bad effect on nails.

The role of manicurist extends beyond tending to fingers and toes. At many salons, a manicurist removes unwanted hair from a client's face, arms, bikini area and legs using waxes depilatories and tweezers. It definitely helps to be organized as the manicuring table holds the tools of the trade and must be kept neat, organized and immaculate.

What can a manicurist expect to earn? More or less, about $20,000 a year. This figure is based on a full-time salary position. If a manicurist is self-employed and earning tips, it could be more. Certain salons offer commission on product sales and bonuses to manicurists who bring in new clients.

If you still hope to be a technician, you will first need to complete a formal training program. Some establishments hire individuals without formal training and give them on-the-job training, most prefer that a manicurist has completed the training and the licensing examination. Of course, by completing the training, you qualify for a higher paying position rather than an entry-level position. Most manicurists are self-employed and pay rent for space in a salon.

The formal training takes only a few months (200 to 600 hours) to complete and you learn much more from the classes than from on-the-job training. After training at an accredited beauty school, you will need to complete a state licensing examination to become certified as a nail technician.

Exercise – Using your manicure kit, follow the basic steps in Lesson 7 to do your home pedicure. Make changes to your kit or your pedicure to fit your own personal needs.

School Requirements

To become a licensed manicurist, you must be at least sixteen years old, have a high school diploma or its equivalent, and complete a course in manicuring from a licensed cosmetology school (requirements vary from state to state). It's best to check the licensing department for your state to assure there has been no changes in programs and required hours, or the Internet website has not been updated.

An accredited school must have met certain academic and institutional requirements established by the accrediting organizations. Some of the factors that determine this are curriculum, facilities, quality of education, staff and admission policies.

The primary advantage to attending an accredited school is their ability to offer financial aid to students. However, there are still good quality schools that choose not to be accredited.To find schools that are accredited, check out the featured schools sections of the Beauty School's Directory.

The largest accrediting agency for beauty and cosmetology schools is NACCAS which stands for the National Accrediting Commission for Cosmetology Arts & Sciences. NACCAS is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education, thus the ability to offer financial aid.

If you prefer, you can select one of the numerous Online manicuring courses. It's more fun to take a course with peers and to make new friends. But if you're not in an area where a beauty school or cosmetology school is conveniently located, you have the choice of the many Online schools. Don't be timid about inquiring about fee structure and criteria. Ask if the course includes manicuring, pedicuring and the application of artificial nails (nail modeling).

Fine grooming is no longer reserved for celebrities and VIPs. Today's competitive job market demands that professionals look their best from head to toe. As long as Americans are concerned with their appearance, job opportunities for personal professionals and manicurists will keep pace with demand.

What you'll learn

Teaching the theoretical and practical aspects of manicuring techniques help students prepare for the state board exams which is required for all manicurists. Typical courses might include personal hygiene, infection control, public safety and bacteriology. Contents of a basic manicure and nail modeling course may differ from school to school. Here is a compilation of what you can expect to learn in a basic manicuring course.

  • Fundamentals of hygiene and disinfection
  • Hand anatomy
  • Skin anatomy
  • Nail anatomy
  • Dermatology
  • Manicure instruments
  • Basic wet and dry manicure
  • Peeling and hand masks
  • Hand massage
  • Heat therapies
  • Enameling and nail decoration
  • Instruments and preparation for artificial nails
  • Men's manicure
  • Types of artificial nails
  • French gel nails

Manicuring is a personalized statement. Hand and body language is frequently employed as a form of expression and to enhance communication skills. Every woman wants beautiful, healthy nails. Well tended nails are a sign a person cares about personal grooming and their overall health.
Whether you prefer you nails sleek and long or chic and sensibly short, a home manicure may be just the answer for you.