What is a Russian manicure and how is it performed?

by Anastasia Julia

A Russian manicure, also known as dry manicure, is a type of manicure that is becoming increasingly popular all over the world. It is a manicure performed with an electric nail drill and nail drill bits. A dry manicure can be performed strictly with nail bits or using other nail tools mixed in. Most of the time this manicure is performed it is accompanied with gel nail polish to finish. The result is beautiful clean cuticles and long lasting gel polish.

If you are interested in learning how to get the perfect Russian manicure, then read on! This article will provide a step-by-step guide on how to achieve this look, as well as some tips and tricks to help you get the best results possible. It is very important to mention that you need professional training or you should go seek professional training to perform a Russian Manicure. This is a guide to help make your manicures better, not to teach you how to perform them.

A little history:

Though a Russian manicure is somewhat new to a lot of places around the world it has been being performed for years. The reason nail drills are called drills is because the origins of this manicure come from dentist drills. Same thing with the nail bits that are used to perform a dry manicure. If you search the internet for dental drills and dental drill bits you will find products that look very similar to what is used for manicures today.

Somewhere along the way some nail techs in Russia figured out that you could use these tools to remove gel polish instead of soaking it off. In addition, they found that they were able to perform cuticle removal using these bits as well and the Russian manicure was born. Russian nail techs have been using this process for well over 15 years at this point and it hasn’t been until the last 5 years that the rest of the world has realized the benefits to this process.

The Nail Tools You Will Need:

Before starting your Russian Manicure, you will also need a few additional tools not used in traditional manicures. These tools are necessary for creating the clean and beautiful cuticles. Here is a list of the tools you will need:


  1. Nail drill – The quality of the nail drill you work with will make all the world of difference for cuticle removal and pain
  2. Nail drill bits – More important to the drill is the quality of your nail bits. Using low quality bits can cause pain, damage cuticles, or result in an undesirable look.
  • Recommended shapes and types of nail drill bits you will need:
    • Carbide bits – Used for gel polish removal.
    • Diamond bits – Used for cuticle removal.
      • Shape types
        • Flame – Used to clean the cuticle from the nail, lift the cuticle similar to how a cuticle pusher is used.
        • Ball – Used to remove cuticle.
        • The two above shapes are the most popular but as with any preference of nail techs differs. There are many different shapes and sizes of nail drill bits.


The following nail tools are recommended but not necessary to perform the Russian manicure component of cuticle removal.


  1. Cuticle nippers or scissors, whatever your preference to work with is.
  2. Cuticle pusher or orange sticks
  3. Gel nail polish – Builder gel, base coat, top coat and gel colors you want
  4. Nail art supplies – Nail decals, stamping plates, foils etc..
  5. Nail brushes – For any style you wish to create.


These tools are essential for creating a Russian Manicure. Make sure to have them all on hand before starting your manicure, or else you won't be able to have the clean cuticle work or create the beautiful designs that are part of this unique style of manicure.


The Steps to a Perfect Russian Manicure:

Now that you have gathered all the necessary tools, it’s time to start the process of creating a perfect Russian Manicure. This process includes several steps that need to be followed for the best results.


  1. Preparing Your Nails: Begin by removing any gel nail polish from your previous manicure. You should remove the top, color and base. If your builder gel for your extensions is still in good condition you can leave that. Be careful in this process to not come into contact with your actual nail. This can cause damage and be extremely painful.
  2. Once your previous gel has been removed it is time to start cleaning your cuticle and preparing the nails. Use your flame nail bit to begin removing any cuticle or dried skin on the actual nail. In addition, lightly lift the cuticle with the flame bit. Be gentle and go slowly. This should not be painful. This step will help your next gel polish application last longer. Don’t be afraid to use a cuticle pusher or orange stick if that cuticle is being difficult.
  3. Using your ball drill bit or desired shape, you will then remove the cuticle by gently running your around the edge of the cuticle where you have just slightly lifted it with the flame bit. You can also use your cuticle nippers or cuticle scissors during this process.
  4. Trim your nails to desired shape and begin backfilling any of the previous gap that is left where the nail has grown out. Make sure you use quality builder gel to ensure maximum strength and to have your manicure last four weeks or more!
  5. Apply your base coat, cure, then apply your desired gel nail polish color.
  6. Use any of your nail art supplies to create the desired look that you are going for!
  7. Finish with top coat.


That’s it!

Now that you have completed your perfect Russian Manicure, there are a few tips and tricks you should follow to ensure that your manicure lasts as long as possible.


  1. Use Cuticle Oil: Cuticle oil helps keep the nails and cuticles hydrated while providing protection against premature chipping.
  2. Pay Attention to Your Hands: Protect your hands from impacts and high intensity work when possible.
  3. Avoid High Heat: Heat can cause your manicure to chip and peel.
  4. Moisturize: Keeping your hands hydrated is important for your nails and skin. Make sure to moisturize your hands regularly to keep them healthy and protected.

Getting the perfect Russian manicure requires patience, skill, and attention to detail. Following these simple steps will help ensure you have the perfect manicure that will last for weeks and look amazing. Maintaining a regular manicure routine will help to keep your nails healthy, hydrated and protected. Be sure to use cuticle oil and moisturizer your hands regularly. All of these small steps will help to keep your nails looking perfect and keep your manicure lasting for weeks to come.