Everything You Need to Know Before Getting a Russian Manicure

Nail perfectionists, this one’s for you. Have you heard the buzz on Russian manicures yet?

You may have seen them in action on nail TikTok or IG without knowing – but once you experience this nail method’s precise and flawless results, you’re not likely to forget it. 

Even life-long manicure fans may not have this cutting-edge treatment on their radar yet, so we’re here to fill you in on the Russian manicure’s differences, benefits, and remarkable results. 

You just may become a total believer. Here is everything you need to know before getting a Russian manicure!

What is a Russian manicure? 

Russian manicures (AKA “dry manicures” or “e-file manicures”) don’t rely on extensive water/solution soaks, cuticle pushers or clips to prep or soften the nail beds. Instead, an expert will remove excess skin and smooth out nails using an electronic file, similar to the tool used to remove acrylic nails. 

This process leads to one of the most precise and picture-perfect manicures you can find. 

The Russian manicure follows a 5-7 step process:

  • The nail bed is cleaned with the first drill bit.
  • The cuticle is cleaned up or removed with a second drill bit.
  • Stray cuticles or a bit of filing may be done with standard tools.
  • The nail bed is then buffed with the drill to create a perfect shape. 
  • Before the final color polish, a base coat specific to Russian manicures is applied. 
  • The nail is polished and designed to your liking!

Russian manicures are usually paired with gel nail polish. All in all, this process can take about an hour and a half. 

Photographer: Grace Rivera, New York, October 2021 Global digital and print rights for 3 years through Dec. 31, 2024

What makes a Russian manicure special? 

The technician will tailor the Russian manicure to your nails’ specific needs. Multiple customizable steps in the Russian manicure process prioritize the health and strength of your nails over anything else. So much so that if you’re prone to hangnail or thin nail plates, replacing standard manicures with a few rounds of Russian manicures can restore your nail strength. 

A Russian manicure is more precise. Thanks to the efficiency of the nail drill, Russian manicure experts can be incredibly detailed in removing excess skin, cleaning cuticles and shaping the perfect nail. The result is a glossy, smooth, strong nail that can withstand daily use. 

There is a smaller chance of bacterial infections. Any time you soak your fingers in water, there is a (slight but still existent) chance of bacterial infection. Since Russian manicurists don’t rely on a water soak during the manicure process, that chance is significantly reduced. 

The Results last a long time. A precise manicure means less chipping, so manicure fans are happier with their nails for longer. Many people feel they can go an entire month between appointments (without feeling scraggly).

Russian manicure vs. Regular manicure: which is better? 

As with anything, manicure styles are a preference. We can tell you, however, the unique differences between Russian manicures and standard manicures so that you can decide for yourself!

A Russian manicure takes more time. Because the expert completes the shaping, cleaning and buffing with a drill, the nail technician will be thorough in their attention to detail on each nail. While this process takes a bit longer than the standard nail treatment (about 1.5 hours overall), you’ll see that in the end when flaunting the results. 

Russian manicures don’t incorporate soaking. If you prefer to avoid water or acetone soaks, a Russian manicure may be better for you. Russian manicures skip the soaks but keep all of the smoothness with an expertly-handled drill. 

Russian Manicures are best left to the professionals. While a trained and certified professional should handle any manicure you get at a salon, Russian manicurists need extensive additional training and experience. A tool is as safe as the expert holding it! So when you shop around for a Russian manicure salon, choose the salon that mentions having specific training in this method. 

Photographer: Grace Rivera, New York, October 2021 Global digital and print rights for 3 years through Dec. 31, 2024

How much does a Russian manicure cost? 

As you can probably guess by the extra training, time and precision that a Russian manicure takes, these manicures tend to cost more than the standard treatment. The average Russian manicure costs around $70-$80. 

However, since you can go in-between treatments for a longer time, consistent manicure-getters may find that their overall nail budget evens out eventually!

Where to get a Russian manicure 

Salons that offer Russian manicures don’t do so lightly – nail technicians that leverage this method undergo extensive training to provide a painless, beautiful result. Many salons require years of experience, a certificate and training from a Russian manicure-focused school and a rigorous test for technicians to offer this treatment. Only try this method at salons specifically advertising expert Russian manicures (and check reviews to see all happy customer stories!)

Russian manicures are a new trend, so the chance to get a Russian manicure is less common than a standard nail treatment. If you happen across a Russian manicure salon in your area, give it a try!

Hop on this nail trend that is grabbing the attention of celebrities, models and influencers.

It’ll take a single manicure to understand why this treatment has so much buzz. Need help finding excellent Russian manicure salons in your area? Check out all of the pampering opportunities at your fingertips with ClassPass.

Amanda Rouse is a freelance writer and content strategist living in San Clemente, California. When she’s not actively dodging writer’s block, she’s probably trail running, doing a crossword puzzle, or falling off of waves (She soon hopes to call this “surfing.”). Follow her and send her funny reels on Instagram.
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