Different manicure tools and how to use them

Different manicure tools and how to use them

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Getting a manicure done is part of many peoples’ routines. Sometimes it can be hard to get your nails done professionally, whether that being due to finances being a bit on the lower side, time, or even with the current state of things. Here I go over what are the different manicure tools and how to use them.

I did a detailed article on how to do a manicure at home which you can read here. In this article, however, I talk about manicure tools, how they should be used correctly and why they are essential for creating the perfect manicure at home. I list many different tools, some that serve the same purpose but that might have extra things added.

Many different manicure tools do the same thing. I outline what the differences are which will hopefully help you make the right choice for your needs.

Table of Contents

The Different Cuticle pushers:

A cuticle pusher is one of the most important manicure tools you’ll need when doing a manicure. It is essential. Cuticle pushers are used to push back the overgrown skin at the back of your nails. If you are planning on applying a product like nail polish or gel, it is imperative that you push back your cuticles, as you want your nails clean and prepped to ensure that the product will stick to your nails as best as it can.

Pushing back your cuticles should always be done at a 45-degree angle to prevent you from accidentally injuring yourself, as some cuticles might be a bit harder to push back. It’s also a good idea to only push them back after your nails have soaked for a couple of minutes.

Stainless steel cuticle pusher

Stainless steel cuticle pushers are great as they are durable, easy to clean and sterilize in-between uses, and were designed to easily fit at the back of the nail so that you can effectively push back more cuticle at a time. Most of them have two sides. The other end of the cuticle pusher usually has a sharp end so that you can clean your nails and sidewalls.

Some come with scrapers that you can use to gently scrape off the remaining dead skin from your nails after you’ve pushed back the cuticle.

This is an example of a cuticle pusher with a scraper. You can use the scraper to gently remove dead skin from your nail plate. Check price on Manucurist.com

Instead of a scraper, this cuticle pusher has a sharp end that can be used to get into hard-to-reach spaces on the nail and to clean underneath the nail. Check price on Amazon.com

Orange wooden cuticle stick

Orange wooden cuticle pushers are cheaper than stainless steel ones, and they are lightweight. They are however disposable and are designed to be used only once. As they are made out of wood, they can harbor bacteria and can’t be disinfected properly.

They also come with a sharper piece at the back that you can use to clean underneath your nails or to remove some remaining skin from your nail plate.

Get a pack of a 100 on Amazon.com

Glass cuticle pusher

Glass files and cuticle pushers have become more popular recently. Like metal, they can be disinfected and reused. They are said to be more gentle on your nails than other cuticle tools and they come with a sharp glass file that you can use to file hard-to-reach places on or under your nails.

They are made out of glass so naturally, they can break, even though the manufacturer claims that they are durable. It would be a good idea to be careful when working with it so that you don’t accidentally drop it. It might not shatter but if a piece of glass breaks off without you noticing it might result in you accidentally cutting yourself.

This set of two glass cuticle pushers are made from quality glass in the Czech Republic. They come with a travel case and will last a long time when taken care of. Check the price on Amazon.com

Rubber cuticle pusher

Rubber cuticle pushers are also reusable, but it’s advised to not share yours with other people, even after disinfecting. They aren’t quite as sturdy and durable as stainless steel cuticle pushers but are cheaper. They are gentle on your skin and you can’t hurt yourself as easily as with a stainless steel cuticle pusher.

Buying a set of multiple rubber cuticle pushers is great as you will need to be replaced as time goes on. It’s also a good idea to just use one per person. Check the price on Amazon.com

Different Nail Clipping Tools:

Nail cutting tools are only needed if you want to shorten your nails during the manicure. Investing in some sturdy clippers is a good idea, as flimsy nail clippers might break while cutting your nails and this can cause pain and discomfort. If your nails are strong and healthy, they might be thicker and harder to cut through. So if your manicure tools are not up for the job they’ll just end up damaging your nails. 

It’s always better to cut your nails straight across and then to file the sharper edges. Always be wary when cutting your nails to look out for the skin underneath your nails. Make sure to leave a bit of white nail when cutting it down. If you cut away too much of the nail you can easily rip the skin under the nail and even cause the nail to start separating from the nail bed. Having your nails too short is also uncomfortable.

Nail clippers

Nail clippers are the most common nail-cutting manicure tools used. Nail clippers are easy to handle. It can be a bit hard to cut certain shapes of nails and you have to be careful when cutting as you can easily cut too many nails. 

Nail clippers will become dull over time which can cause damage to your nails. I did a post on the best nail clippers and nail clipper sets that you can check out. I went over what clipper design you need when and where. If you are looking for a nail clipper I seriously suggest reading this post. 

These nail clippers are strong and durable and come with a steel nail file as well as a travel pouch. Check price on Amazon.com

This set has a clipper with a straight edge and one with a curved edge. The fingernail clippers are small and perfect for cutting your fingernails while the larger toenail clippers are good for cutting thicker toenails. Check price on Amazon.com

Nail scissors

These are high-quality nail scissors that come with a stylish travel pouch that will help prevent the blades from becoming dull. Check the price on Amazon.com

Nail scissors are great if your nails aren’t thick. Scissors take some getting used to and practice but many people prefer this to nail clippers.

Nail scissors have a slight curve to them making them perfect for cutting nails. They also gently cut through your nail which can be less traumatizing to your nail than clipping.

Nail nippers

Nail nippers are easy to use and are designed to cut through even the toughest nails. They are sturdy and you can easier cut through thickened nails without running the risk of it hurting you. You can easily use them with either your right or your left hand. 

These are high-quality nail nippers that come with a stylish travel pouch that will help prevent the blades from becoming dull. Check the price on Amazon.com

The Different Nail Brushes:

Properly cleaning your nails daily is very important. If your nails have a build-up of dirt and debris, it will not only increase the risk of your nails contracting bacteria, but it can cause your nail to separate from the nail bed over time. 

Our nails can harbor a lot of germs and if we don’t clean them thoroughly, we can spread those germs when working with our food and when touching other surfaces. Nail bruises should be used after soaking your hands. It’s great for cleaning stubborn dirt from your cuticles and sidewalls but also for cleaning any dirt from your hands and fingers. Use your nail brush with some soap and warm water and gently brush your nails. Never brush too hard as you don’t want to damage the skin around your nails.

Plastic nail brush

Affordable 6 piece plastic nail brushes available on Amazon

Plastic nail brushes are the most common. It’s always better to only use one nail brush per person, even though they can be cleaned in between uses. 

Wooden nail brush

High quality beechwood nail brush with a comfortable hold is perfect for frequent use. It includes a hanging rope for easy storage. Check price on Amazon

If you want to go for something more natural and steer away from the use of plastic you can always buy a wooden nail brush Some wooden nail brushes still make use of plastic bristles while others use natural materials for their bristles. Just note that like with any wooden tool it can’t be sterilized as effectively so you should always keep that in mind and never share your brush with others.

The Different Nail Files

A nail file is important when doing a manicure as you need to shape your nails in some way. If you don’t shape your nails after cutting, it will not only leave your nails looking rough, but freshly-trimmed nails can be quite sharp. 

It is always a good idea to file your nails only to one side and not from side-to-side, to prevent your nails from splitting. When filing always keeps your file flush to your nail and only hold it at an angle if you want the corners of your nails to be rounded. 

Electric nail file/nail drills

An electric nail file is the fastest way to file, but it isn’t ideal for shaping and working with fine details. E-files need practice and ideally some training as you can easily damage your nails when using them. They are however great when doing cuticle work as you can buy cuticle bits that get into hard-to-reach places on your nail, removing any dead skin that might be harder to remove with a hand file.

Value for money. This is a easy to use at home e file for casual use. Price $

Available on Amazon and MelodySusie where you will find it for cheaper

A portable and rechargeable nail file that provides 6 to 8 hours of use. Price $$

Available on Amazon and MelodySusie (They usually have great specials)

A true professional nail drill. You can get your own custom laser engraving on it. With low heat, low vibration and 10 hours of battery life, truly makes this a professional’s best friend. Price $$$. Check it out on MelodySusie

Stainless steel nail file

Stainless steel nail files are great in the sense that they last far longer than emery boards. They are sturdier and even a fine grit can easily shorten and shape your nails. They can also be disinfected properly in-between uses.

Amazon’s Choice. High quality surgical grade stainless steel nail file. With grit on both sides for ease of use. Check price on Amazon

Value for money. This is a three piece nail file set made from stainless steel. Its costs about the same as the Mr. Green file. Check price on Amazon

Made in Germany this 5 piece steel nail file set is probably the best value for money, costing about the same as the others. Check price on Amazon

Emery board

Emery boards are the most common nail files. They are made out of cardboard with usually two sides of either the same grit (roughness) or one side might be rougher depending on what you buy. 

They can’t be disinfected properly after each use so should only be used by one person. They are disposable and don’t last very long.

Check out Manucurist they are a French company that strive for being green in the nail industry and if you care for your planet you should visit them. Check out their 5 piece emery nail files here


180/600 grit nail file. Perfect for weak and thin nails. Check price on kissusa

Best seller on Amazon. A 12 piece set with emery board nail files and nail buffers. 100/180 grit. Check price on Amazon

Glass nail file

Glass nail files are the best of the three. They are gentler on your nails than metal nail files or emery boards. They can be disinfected in-between uses, are recyclable and will last you a long time.

3 piece nano glass nail file set. Available on Amazon

Crystal glass nail file available on Amazon

Nail buffer and shiner

A nail buffer is great to gently smooth out any imperfections on your nail without leaving your nails feeling rough. Using a miracle shiner will leave your nails looking shiny and well-rounded off without using clear nail polish. They are buffer blocks with a very high grit rating so don’t over-buff your nails as they still remove a bit of your nail when used.

Two grains for both finger nails and toe nails, a fine grit on the logo side for your finger nails and the other side for your toes. Check the price on Manucurist

A ten piece buffer set with 100/180 grit sides. Available on Amazon

A quality compact nail buffer you can keep in your purse. Rather go for a quality on to keep by you so you don’t have to stress about exchanging it often. Check price on Amazon 

Cuticle nipper

Cuticle nippers in this sense should only be used to cut hang-nails. Hang-nails are pieces of dry skin that can be present at the sides or at the back of your nails. Some nail technicians remove the cuticle by cutting it off completely but this should not be done. Removing the cuticle will leave your nail exposed and vulnerable to infection. Also, if this isn’t done correctly you can seriously damage your skin.

Professional high quality stainless steel cuticle nipper made by Manucurist. Check out their Cuticle nipper on Manucurist

Handmade in Germany and made from high carbon stainless steel. Check price on Amazon

Amazon’s Choice. a stainless steel set with three items including a cuticle nipper all under $10 check price on Amazon

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