Russian Manicure vs. Traditional Manicure: Which is Better for Your Nails?

  • The Russian gel manicure is a multi-step manicure technique that promotes healthier growth and natural-looking nails.
  • Unlike regular gel nails, the Russian gel manicure remains tidy for four weeks on average, which means less UV exposure in the future.
  • The price range of the Russian gel manicure is $70-$80. That’s double the acrylic nails.
  • Russian gel nails are laborious – you will have to have all the required bits and tools to execute an effective Russian mani.

The Russian gel manicure popped up on people’s Instagram feed for the first time in 2013 and quickly went viral. Nail techs proudly shared the entire process of doing the Russian manicure and the skills they possess. The art we see on the nails expands from an elegant French gel manicure to floral bliss, 3D nail gel art, and more.

Although the Russian gel manicure was not popular in the US, American influencers were tempted to give it a shot, and the experience outdid their expectations.

In this article, we’ll discuss the main difference between the regular or traditional gel manicure and Russian nails and everything you need to know before booking your Russian gel manicure.

What Is a Russian Manicure?


So, what is a Russian manicure? Russian gel manicure is a technique in treating nails that involves electrical files or bits instead of traditional tools like nippers and cuticle pushers. It was first introduced by Russian nail technicians, for which it got its name, but you can also find this technique as an e-filing.

Now that we’ve established the name of the manicure, we need to pay attention to the concept of a Russian gel manicure.

Essentially, the Russian or e-file manicure involves electrical tools or bits that exfoliate the nail. It focuses on filing, cutting, and trimming the cuticles with a special tiny drill designed for the nails and their sensitivity.

The file, usually designed with a diamond finish, does not damage the skin or nail and leaves no rough spots. As a result, the nail tile looks bigger and has a nice pristine look, and the nail polish sinks in better on the nail plate.

However, the nail technician must take the role seriously and be careful with the tools. Since it involves filing around the nail matrix, it may permanently damage the nail or cut the client and cause bleeding.

The electric bits used for this type of manicure must be sterilized after use to avoid contamination.

Russian Manicure vs. Other Nail Care Techniques

gel polish

For many years, nail technicians have used a method of manicure that involves soaking the nail in warm water to soften the cuticles. If the cuticles are soft, pushing them toward the nail pocket is easier and more effective, and it ends with a trim with nippers or scissors. This two-step method worked and still works successfully.

On the other hand, the Russian manicure is a dry process and a multi-step technique. It takes longer to complete it, but influencers persistently go for it. Since their job requires them to be mobile and create new content constantly, we cannot help but wonder: do Russian nails last longer while allowing influencers to look neat and still do their job?

Does a Russian Manicure Last Longer?

Russian gel manicures are believed to outdo the performance of traditional nail manicures. The filing technique, where a technician uses 5-6 nibs to clean the nail and exfoliate the dead skin, allows the nail to remain in that position for 6-7 weeks.

Compared to the traditional or regular manicure techniques, this method lasts 2 weeks longer. That means less UV light on your skin.

Comparison of the Techniques: Russian vs Traditional

Otherwise, the Russian gel technique takes significantly more time to finish. A regular gel manicure may take about an hour, while a Russian gel manicure takes at least two hours. The Russian gel manicure uses multiple steps to completion. In essence, the technique requires each nail to be exfoliated patiently and diligently – that’s what prolongs the entire drill.

In case you want nail art, expect to spend more time at the nail salon. There are at least 5 bits that a Russian nail tech will use during the manicure, and they go as follows:

    • The Cylinder bid: This tool has a cylindrical shape and helps with the exfoliation of the entire nail plate. The suggested speed is 6,000 RPM.
  • Pointy (Detailed) bid: This tool is thin and pointy but with a rounded peak to prevent cutting the nail. It is used for the lateral cleaning of the cuticles. The technician will practically floss your cuticles out of your nail pocket. The suggested speed is 12,000 RPM.
  • The Nib (Flame) bid: This tool is used for cleaning the dead cells from under the proximal fold. This area is closer to the matrix of the nail and needs special attention. If the technician addresses the exfoliation aggressively, it may permanently damage the nail growth, and the nails will never grow the same.
  • Pusher: This is the final step of the manicure, where the technician will clean the dust from the dead cells of the nail and push the cuticles toward the nail pocket. This prevents earlier growth of the cuticles and allows your nails to look groomed and fresh longer than usual.

Once the nail is exfoliated, it’s time to color it. Since the technique of the Russian gel manicure makes the nail look bigger and cleaner, the nail polish simply stands out.

Russian Nails and Pedicure

hands with nail polish

The Russian gel manicure technique is the same when it comes to toenail grooming. The technician will use the same tools for the perfect exfoliation of the toenails.

However, there may be a different approach needed when it comes to pedicures. Unlike the nails on our hands, which grow naturally and – to put it simply – breathe, toenails are usually confined in our shoes regardless of the season.

Even if it’s summer and the time for sandals, we cannot ignore the fact that the nails were closed in socks and boots for at least two seasons and had minimal time to breathe. The toenails may begin to grow inward or change their growth pattern entirely. Things can get complicated if the person didn’t do a pedicure or treated the toenails for 6 months.

If that’s the case (and the majority are), the nails will be harder and demand more time to be completely groomed. The technician will carefully exfoliate the nail, trim the excess skin that’s below the nail bed and complete the pedicure with gel polish. Mind that a Russian pedicure takes more time than usual, but given the final results – it’s totally worth it!

Benefits of Russian Manicure

The Russian gel manicure may be more time-consuming and more expensive than the traditional manicure. However, it comes with many benefits worth knowing and considering:

Intact Mani for Weeks

The gorgeous Russian manicure nails remain flawless for up to 4 weeks, depending on how fast the cuticles will grow. The e-file method of extracting the cuticles prevents their early occurrence and fast growth. Averagely, the Russian manicure lasts 3-4 weeks. Some people even stick with the same nails for 6 weeks and are pleased with the results.

Healthier Nails

The dry process of exfoliating the dead skin cells around your nails and nail bed promotes healthier growth. The nail will be clean for 4 weeks, and you will not have to worry about their appearance. As a bonus, you will not have to go under UV light that often and expose your skin to the rays.

Utilization of Natural Products

Acrylic nails that are still super popular in the US are not safe for your nails and your health overall. In case you didn’t know, acrylic dust and powder can cause headaches, dizziness, or even serious skin issues like dermatitis if exposed to it for longer periods.

However, the technique of the Russian manicure does not involve the utilization of toxic materials, which is a big plus over traditional nail techniques. Moreover, the nails look natural and more elegant compared to acrylic nails.

How Much Does a Russian Manicure Cost?

The average cost for a Russian gel manicure varies between $70-$80. The price varies from salon to salon, and you may find a technician that will ask only $50 for a single color. Nal art will further bump up the cost.

Compared to traditional or regular gel manicures, Russian nails cost significantly more – sometimes double the price. Usually, the regular gel manicure costs $45-$55, and depending on the technician, you may find it for an even lower price. The acrylic nails cost even less – about $35-$45.

Obviously, the Russian gel manicure is the most expensive, but you need to consider that it takes more time to complete it than a regular one, not to mention that the Russian technique overall is cleaner and healthier.

How to Do a Russian Manicure

The Russian nail manicure requires extra caution when doing a solo mani because you’ll be filing with electric bits. The Russian manicure is a multi-step process, so make sure to follow the order and correct use of the e-files:

What is Needed for a Russian Manicure?

Below is a step-by-step explanation of how to do a Russian gel manicure on your own, as well as everything you’ll need for one:

    • Push the cuticles: Push the cuticles using the pusher tool to make space for exfoliating. Make sure not to use too much pressure or push them too deep into the nail pocket – you may end up hurting the nail matrix. Remember to use a 45-degree angle with the pusher on the nail.
    • Exfoliate the nail plate: Take the cylinder bid and set it at 6,000 RPM. Slowly approach the nail plate to see if the speed is appropriate for you, and make clockwise movements on the right side of the nail and counterclockwise movements on the left side.
    • Floss your nails: Once the nail is stripped of the grown cuticles, you need to use the pointy or detailed bid and clean the lateral cuticles as if flossing the nail.
  • Remove the excess skin under the proximal fold: By now, the nails should be clean and exfoliated, but if you haven’t touched your nails for a while, you may have dead skin cells under the proximal fold. Use the Flame drill bit to remove the excess cuticles, but make sure not to press because it’s a sensitive area.
  • Cut the excessive skin: The final cut of the Russian manicure is cutting any leftover cuticle on the nail. Use nail nippers, and be careful not to cut too deep.


After this, all you have to do is color the nails with your favorite color and nourish the nails with argan oil. Mind that if your nails are damaged, the best advice would be to turn to a professional to prevent further damage – do this by typingRussian manicure near me.”

Is Russian Manicure Safe?

Yes! Russian manicure is not only safe but also promotes healthier nail growth. However, since it’s a rather invasive mani-pedi method, to spare yourself any discomfort or possible infection, always turn to professionals.

Compared to acrylic nails, the Russian gel manicure is not only a healthier option but also looks more natural and elegant.

Conclusion: Is Russian Manicure Worth It?

The chic and feminine Russian nails are one of the best ways to pamper yourself. Your nails will look healthier and more natural and boost your mood whenever you look at them.

To conclude the main points related to the Russian gel manicure, we have to mention that this technique is significantly more laborious than a regular manicure. As a result, the manicure price is steeper. However, compared to other nail techniques, the Russian gel manicure is the healthiest option.

We hope you found this article useful and that we helped you understand the main differences between the Russian gel manicure and the regular manicure.

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