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What Is A Basic Manicure? [All You Need To Know]

The nail salon is one of the best places to go if you are looking for a non-committal way of pampering yourself the way you deserve. However, if you are not comfortable in a salon, that list of services can be a big bunch of mumbo jumbo, and you might not even know where to start. So, let’s break down one of the easiest and most common services most nail salons offer. The basic manicure.

So, what is a basic manicure? A basic manicure is your standard manicure. No frills, extras, or chemicals you are not familiar with. Just a simple file, cuticle shape, and nail varnish painting. The basic manicure is the gateway nail service for most people and is typically one of the most affordable manicures to get.

If you are ready to know everything you need to know about what a basic manicure is, where you can get one, and even if you can do them yourself at home, keep reading.

What Does A Basic Manicure Consist Of?

Generally, a basic manicure consists of a hand soak, filing, and buffing, cuticle cleaning. Finished with a base coat, nail varnish color, and sealing top coat. 

Sometimes your nail technician may also include a relaxing hand massage with a nourishing hand cream but this particular step differs from one salon to the next. 

Your nail technician will usually start by soaking your hands in warm, soapy water. 

This helps to not only clean your hands and nails because a clean base is important if you want a long-lasting manicure. It also helps to soften dead skin and your cuticles for the next few steps.

Following that, your nail technician will file and buff your nails. Using a nail file and a buffing pad, they will gently shape your nails into your desired shape.

This could be a rounded tip, a square tip, or whatever else takes your fancy.

Buffing your nails not only helps to even out the surface of your nail but also to remove as much residual moisture from your nails.

It’s this moisture that can lead to premature chipping of your nail polish.

If your nail salon offers hand massages, this is when your nail technician will give you one.

Commonly they will use a nourishing hand cream that is suitable for sensitive skin but always ask if you are worried your hands won’t appreciate the lotion they use.

Now comes the really fun part. It’s time to add some color.

This process usually starts with a nourishing and protective base coat and once that has been applied and dried your nail technician will apply your chosen nail polish color.

Most basic manicures only include one singular color, and if you want extras, you may have to pay extra.

Once your color coat has dried, your technician will apply a topcoat or two. This topcoat helps to protect your nail color from wear and tear. Helping it to last longer.

How Long Do Basic Manicures Last?

Basic manicures will last no longer than a week but 5 days would be an average life span for a basic manicure.

Basic manicures are a more budget option for those who want beautiful nails and don’t want to commit to a single color or design because they don’t last as long. 

If you’re hoping to get a good length of time out of your basic manicure there are a couple of things you can do to protect them.

Just keep in mind it’s not a long-lasting nail application method anyway.

How To Ensure Your Basic Manicure Lasts

Avoid Prolonged Water Contact

Water is the nemesis of all types of manicures.

Prolonged contact with water can soften your nails and your nail polish, making it easier to chip and flake.

So, try to avoid having your nails in water as often as possible.

We know there are plenty of jobs and generally life tasks – dishes, we’re looking at you – that means you’ll have to have your hands in water.

So, if you can’t avoid it, get a reliable pair of rubber gloves to keep your hands dry when you do have to come into contact with water.

Seal Your Nail Edges

This is the best tip for prolonging the life of your basic manicure.

Get a good quality nail varnish top coat, you can even ask your nail technician for recommendations, and every other day just swipe a little over the edges of your nails to keep the polish protected and the edges free from chips.

Where To Get A Basic Manicure 

The great thing about a basic manicure is that any nail salon will be able to do one. 

Now, some nail salons only specialize in a particular false nail application, and they may not do a basic manicure. 

So, if you think this might be the case, it’s best to just nip in or give them a call to ask before you book an appointment. 

If you’re not sure what to ask for, most nail salons will know what you mean if you ask for a basic manicure with just polish.

Can You DIY A Basic Manicure?

You can DIY a basic manicure at home. It may even save you a fair amount of money. The great thing about a basic manicure is that you don’t need any specialized equipment, and it’s really budget-friendly.

Here are the tools you’ll need to create a basic manicure at home:

  • Nail varnish color of choice,
  • Base coat
  • Top coat
  • Nail file
  • Nail buffing pad
  • Cuticle cutter (optional)
  • Rubbing Alcohol (optional)

Now, I always suggest that if you are going to DIY your basic manicure at home, you should always purchase good quality products so that they can last as long as possible. 

However, drugstores sell some great basic manicure products these days and you can pick up a bottle of nail lacquer for only a couple of dollars if your budget can’t stretch too far.

How To Do A Basic Manicure At Home

Doing a basic manicure is much like having one done for you in a nail salon, and the steps aren’t that much different.

Wash Your Hands

Wash and soak your hands in warm soapy water.

A couple of minutes of soaking is plenty; you don’t end up with wrinkly fingers. Use a lint-free towel to dry your hands and remove as much moisture as possible.

Shape Your Nail Tips

Using a nail file, gently shape your nail tips how you like. One tip I have is to only move your nail file in one direction.

By going back and forth with the nail file you can actually damage your nail tips and make them weaker.

Buff Your Nails

Using your buffing pad, gently buff at the tops of your nails until they are smooth.

They will now look a little dusty and you can use rubbing alcohol to clean off any debris. The rubbing alcohol also helps to dry your nails out which will help your manicure last longer.

If you can’t get rubbing alcohol, you can thoroughly wash and dry your hands again.

Nip Back Cuticles

If you are comfortable using a cuticle cutter, now is the time to nip back those overgrown cuticles.

Be careful not to cut too close to your fingers, or you could end up with some very sore and bleeding cuticles.

You can even use a thin, blunt-edged object to just push your cuticles back gently if you don’t want to cut them.

Apply Base Coat

Now you can apply a layer of your base coat lacquer. The base coat helps to protect your natural nails from harsh nail polish.

It also helps to prevent stains, which can be a bit of a problem with brighter colors like red, brown, and orange.

Apply Polish

Finally, the fun part. Now you can apply two coats of your chosen nail polish color.

You can go for as many colors as you like, alternate nail colors, or even try your hand at a French manicure.

Just make sure to allow each coat of nail polish to dry thoroughly before applying the next one.

Seal With Top Coat

Once your nail polish has fully dried you can apply one or two layers of top coat.

Don’t forget to give the edges a little swipe swell as this will help to lengthen the life of your basic manicure.

Once it’s all dry, you’ll have a beautiful basic manicure.

One quick tip: try to avoid getting any of your nail lacquers onto your cuticles but if you do, you can always remove it once it has dried will a q-tip and a little nail polish remover.

How Much Is A Basic Manicure?

Luckily for us, a basic manicure is one of the most budget-friendly manicures costing anywhere from $15 to $40. These costs can be influenced by a few things, especially if you are getting a basic manicure in a nail salon instead of doing it yourself at home.

How Much Does A Basic Manicure Cost At A Salon?

In a nail salon, your basic manicure will cost anywhere from $20 to $40, give or take. This cost is influenced by things such as the salon’s reputation, location, and even the quality of the products they use.

If your chosen nail salon is incredibly popular, has a great reputation, and people are clamoring to get an appointment, they will often increase prices to match their incredible reputation.

Also, the closer to a big city or center of town can mean an increase in the cost of your basic manicure. This has to do with a variety of factors including rental prices and also paying for the easier accessed salons.

The last thing that influences the cost of a basic manicure at a professional salon is the products they use.

Salons using lower-quality products can afford to lower their prices because product cost is cheaper.

However, those who use premium, high-end products will increase their costs to ensure they are making a reasonable profit for every service.

How Much Does A DIY Basic Manicure Cost?

A DIY basic manicure can cost as little as $5, all the way up to $100 and more. It ultimately depends on the product you already have, the quality of the brands you want to work with, and how many different alternatives/styles each product can give you.

You may find that when you first go out and purchase all of your basic manicure tools for your DIY manicure that it seems to cost a lot. 

You have to purchase all the lacquers and a variety of colors if you want more than one, plus any extra bits like nail files and buffers.

Depending on the brand you choose, I prefer to go with premium brands because they do the job beautifully; you can spend anywhere from $30 to anywhere up to $100+.

However, before you scoff at the price, these products can last you months, meaning you’ll end up saving lots of money in the long run.

It just depends on whether you love the luxury feeling of having someone else doing your nails or you want a more budget-friendly way of having stunning nails.

Are You Ready To Get A Basic Manicure?

Don’t let the name ‘basic manicure’ fool you. This classic and traditional nail style has been around for decades and for good reason. 

Although acrylics, gels, and dip powder nails have been gaining popularity for their long-lasting staying power, they can also be incredibly harsh on your natural nails. 

However, a basic manicure with traditional nail polish is far kinder to your nails and just as versatile, as long as you don’t mind having to redo them every week or so.

They’re also far cheaper to get done than longer-lasting nail applications, which means you can revel in a stunning set of manicured nails without poking out this weeks rent.

You can make it even cheaper by doing your basic manicure at home with products you can easily find in your local drugstore.

By now, I’m pretty sure you’ve been sold on the whole basic manicure idea – it’s not as basic as you further thought.

So, go and get yourself to your local salon and treat yourself properly with a basic manicure treatment. 

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