Know Your Nail Tools.

a basic manicure kit
Picture this scenario. You walk into a beauty store or a nail studio to get your nails done. The "expert-in-charge" pulls out a bewildering variety of metal and wooden objects and proceeds to start work on your nails.

You have no idea what the tools are called or what they do except he/she calls it a funny name. You ask and you're immediately told to allow them focus on doing your nails. Some of the tools hurt because of the way your "expert" is using them but you dare not speak up so you won't be yabbed. You grit your teeth and smile until your nails are done, walk out with a fake admiring smile while mentally vowing to never go back there again. *sigh*.. What just happened?...

Picture this too. You buy a manicure kit and open it to a dazzling array of metal objects, lovely and shiny, like a surgical instruments table. You have no idea what each one does, simply guess and then finally dump the whole kit because you can't figure out what does what. It gathers dust unused in one corner of your room for years. *sigh*.. What just happened?...

Imagine if you knew the correct name and function of each tool used on you before you set foot in that salon/studio. Imagine being able to clearly state what you want used on you and how you want it. Imagine painless nail care routines. In fact, imagine the joy of having freshly-prepped, manicured nails. Imagine no more!

This post will educate you on the most basic nail care tools you can expect to find at a standard salon and their uses. If you go somewhere without at least 3 of these items present, please do yourself a favour and leave. You will be saving yourself so much grief later, i promise you.

Let's jump right into it;



1) Nail Files: Absolutely an essential. They are used for filing and shaping both natural nails and enhancements and will give any manicure a polished look. They come in different forms, shapes, sizes and grits. Some of the more familiar are seen below. (please read caption)

basic files/emery boards
glass hand file for natural nail edges
finishing files with low grit  suitable for nail enhancements like acrylic, tips and gels

2) Cuticle Pusher: This is the tool used for clearing the cuticle off the nail bed so as to make it bare for polish application or attachment of nail enhancements. It has a hooked or pointed scraper at one end and a rounded or square scoop-shaped pusher at the other end for clearing up the cuticle scrapings. To be used very gently on the nail bed.


different types of cuticle pushers.

3) Orangewood Stick: This performs the same function as a cuticle pusher though the only difference is it is made of wood and is slightly gentler to use on the nails. Not everyone likes having metal tools used on them. It is also much preferable for cleaning out dirt underneath the fingernails as it is gentler on the flesh beneath the nails (hyponychium).

orangewood sticks

4) Cuticle Scissors: As the name implies, this small, sharp scissors is used for trimming away excessively thickened, cuticle flesh. It must be handled only by a properly-trained person as an amater or improperly-trained nail tech can do some major damage if they don't know how to handle it. Can also be used to trim hangnails (those little bits of thickened skin that hang on the sides of the nail bed)


cuticle scissors

5) Cuticle Nippers: They also perform the same function as the cuticle scissors in trimming off excess skin on the nail bed. They are easier to handle though require a finer touch and do a much more precise job of clearing away the dead cuticle. Can also be used for removing hangnails as well.

cuticle nippers

6) Nail Cutters/Trimmers: These are easily the most recognizable tools in any manicure kit. They are used for trimming or cutting down the nail edges to a more manageable length for manicures and attachment of nail enhancements. Always a safer and more precise alternative to using razor blades and teeth for cutting nails.

nail cutters/trimmers

7) Nail Brush: Basically used for clearing the dust from trimming and filing the natural nail and nail enhancements.
nail brush
An old toothbrush can also work well as a nail brush.

8) Nail Buffers/Shiners: After all the trimming and filing and shaping is done, buffers and shiners are used on the nail bed to clear off any discolouration and smoothing the nails over. They are mostly block-shaped in a variety of colours and grits and help to complete the overall look of any manicure.

nail buffers/shiners

I hope with all these, you can safely identify any tool used on you and also be able to state which you prefer. It is always good to be prepared. One can never be too careful where health and safety is concerned.

Hope you enjoyed this post. Please folllow, like and comment on our Instagram and Twitter @stylehubdaily and follow me @dotunnails. Always looking forward to engaging with you. Ciao til next time!!
Know Your Nail Tools. Know Your Nail Tools. Reviewed by Ifeoluwapo Ogunbiyi on April 25, 2017 Rating: 5

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