What’s a Russian Manicure and How Do You Do It?

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Did you know that you can paint your nails all the way to the edges without getting polis on your skin? With a Russian manicure, it’s 100 percent doable.

If you want nails that look like they’ve been Photoshopped, a Russian manicure should do the trick. This manicure technique is slowly gaining popularity across Europe and, thanks to TikTok, the US is finally getting on the trend, too.

More celebrities are ditching the traditional acrylic fill or polish change to go Russian with their nails (here’s looking at you Hailey Bieber and Kendall Jenner). They’re pairing up their pretty rings with pretty nails.

What is a Russian manicure? Is it better than the other manicure techniques or is it just another bougie mani-pedi technique?

What’s a Russian Manicure?

Many nail technicians and fans of this manicure technique believe that the term “Russian manicure” stems from the polished nature of Russian manicures. In textbook terms, a Russian manicure is called an E-file manicure. This manicure technique uses an electronic file (similar to the tool used for acrylic nails) to remove excess skin surrounding your nail bed.

This technique perfectly trims each nail and gives them a cuticle massage. Think of it as exfoliation, but make it for your nails. Once you’ve tried getting a Russian manicure for your nails, you’ll feel the difference — softer skin on the edges.

So what is the difference between a Russian manicure and a regular manicure?

Unlike traditional nail salons where they soak your hands in a bowl of warm water to remove the dead skin cells (which is often followed by cuticle pushes and nippers), a Russian manicure uses electric nail bits to clean your cuticle.

With a traditional manicure, you have to reserve at least 45 minutes of your time to get the job done. On the other hand, a Russian manicure is a bit longer. You need an hour and a half to ensure the manicure is done meticulously and safely.

The Russian Manicure is More Popular Than You Think

woman with freshly manicured nails
Photo by Chelson Tamares on Unsplash

As mentioned above, even celebrities are fans of the Russian manicure. Take supermodel and reality TV star Kendall Jenner. Her manicurist Lisa Kon posted a photo of her nails on Instagram. Although Jenner’s tortoiseshell-colored French tips were eye-catching, something else caught the attention of Kon’s followers: Jenner’s incredibly neat and clean cuticle area.

Clean cuticle lines are a MUST for any decent manicure job, but Kendall’s stood out because it looked as if she had no cuticle at all. The result made her nails look natural and too beautiful. This is was one of the moments when people started to learn more about the Russian manicure trend.

Apart from the increase in TikTok videos talking about the trend, the searches for the Russian manicure trend increased by 110 percent. Many people are trying out these “Russian nails,” hoping to get clean cuticles just like Kendall’s.

How to Do a Russian Manicure

Professionals who offer Russian manicure services follow a couple of steps to give you perfect results.

The steps are:

  1. Removing the gel polish with a specific type of electric drill head.
  2. Removing the extra skin around the nail bed with a sharper drill bit. This step is repeated for your cuticles (depending on how overgrown they are).
  3. Cleaning the cuticles and buffering the nails with a third drill head until it looks healthy and shiny.
  4. Perfecting the shape of the nail.
  5. Painting the nail with gel polish and sealing it off with UV light.

Professional nail artists can follow these steps easily due to their training, which is why they do not recommend DIY-ing Russian manicures. However, with proper caution and the right tools, you can do this newer manicure technique.

To do the Russian manicure, you must have the right tools first.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Base or primer for nails
  • Cuticle oil
  • Non-vibrating lathe
  • Permanent, gel or regular polish
  • High-performance diamond burs
  • E-file

To do the Russian manicure, follow these steps:

  1. Clean the skin surrounding your nails. Clean from the edges of the nails to remove the remaining dirt or dead skin cells. Clean with a soft brush.
  2. Treat your cuticles. Lift the cuticles with lathes. Be careful not to hurt your skin.
  3. Polish your nails. File the surface of your nail very carefully.
  4. Apply your chosen nail product. Make sure not to leave any space between the skin and the nail. Take a colored nail polish and go crazy with the nail art.
  5. Hydrate your cuticle. Use your chosen oil.

How is a Russian Manicure Completed?

A professional nail artist (or you, if you have the skills) will use a cuticle pusher to open up the cuticle pocket so the e-file can easily glide under and remove the dead skin. Once your cuticle is rolled up, they will cut the skin with nippers, which are immediately followed by gel application.

If done properly, a Russian manicure is a harmless procedure that causes no damage to the skin.

Before you get your nails done or do the technique yourself, make sure that all of the tools are sterilized and the disposable materials are only used once. This ensures that you enjoy super clean and hygienic nails.

How Much is a Russian Manicure?

The cost of a Russian manicure depends on where you’re getting the treatment and who’s performing it. In general, the cost of a Russian manicure ranges from $70 to $80 for one color. A longer nail with nail art might cost more.

What are the Benefits of a Russian Manicure?

Unlike other manicure techniques where design, shape and length are priorities, Russian manicures focus on the health of your nails. No toxic gel polishes or acrylics are allowed. If you’ve always had brittle nails, this manicure technique will restore them to health, no matter how weak they are.

The result of these manicures is healthy, durable and elegant nails. If your Russian manicure is done right, it can last long. You might not even need a touch-up for five weeks after your first appointment. In terms of how long they last, you can get three weeks to a month out of a Russian manicure, making them worth the high price. However, this depends on how fast your nails grow.

If you want cleaner and more natural-looking and healthy nails, the Russian manicure trend might be for you. DIY is always worth a try, but it’s best to leave the job to the pros. This ensures the best results plus you reduce the risk of hurting yourself (especially if you lack the manicure skills).

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