A Guide to Choosing Professional nail tools
When deciding what nail tools to choose, the most important thing is quality. Starting with professional tools will help you achieve a polished and beautiful outcome. Choosing which types of tools you like is personal preference. The variety of items on the market feels endless. At the end of the day it always comes down to the types of tools you prefer most.
What’s better? Cuticle nippers vs scissors or both?
There is no right answer to this because this general comes down to preference. A lot of nail techs find cuticle nippers to be more stable in their hand. The position at which you can grab the handle can provide more control when you are cutting the cuticle. Cuticle scissors on the other hand tend to allow longer cuts for removal which can speed up the process. This is achieved by specially designed blades that have a curve in them that allow the blade to cut more of the cuticle at once. The drawback? Your hand is further from the blades, and it is only controlled by two fingers.
The differences between these two types of tools is very subtle but the skill to use each type of cuticle cutter is very different. As of recent many nail techs have expressed the interest of moving away from nippers to go towards scissors. Often while they are making this transition, they continue using the nippers and start integrating cuticle scissors throughout the process. This allows them to maintain the comfort of knowing they can perform the required cutting without feeling that they have to be committed to one or the other.
The types of tools used are always a personal preference so go with what makes you the most comfortable to work with.
Choosing a cuticle nipper
Now that you have decided to work with a cuticle nipper how do you choose the right one? Here is a list of bullet points to help you narrow down some characteristics
Is this handle size right for me?
Handles are all about hand size. The larger the hand, the larger the handle and the same goes for smaller hands.
Single spring or dual spring?
Springs on nippers is all about bounce back. The bounce back is less with the single spring and more with a double. There are also nippers with an accordion spring.
Now that you have your handle size and spring size chosen it is time to choose blades. When it comes to differences in blades for nippers it is length, inclination and sharpness that matter most. Length is generally found in 3mm, 5mm and 7mm, respectively quarter jaw, half jaw and full jaw. The most common blade length is 5mm and this is based on versatility and how much cuticle can be removed at once. 3mm blades are excellent for tiny hard to reach areas but take longer to remove all of the cuticle. 7mm blades allow you to remove more cuticle at once but you lose out on some precision.
Inclination is the angle of the blade. This is an often overlooked component to cuticle nippers. The inclination ranges somewhere between 0 and 90 degrees. STALEKS PRO has 4 different blade inclinations available depending on which product you choose from.
The last is sharpness, this all comes down to quality which is why when we first started writing here we said quality is the way to go. Professional cuticle nippers will not only come extremely sharp but are also designed to be sharpened for many uses.
Choosing your cuticle scissors
Deciding on the perfect cuticle scissors is very much like choosing a nipper. You have the handle, total length, blade length and blade angles. Narrowing down on each one of these components will lead you to the type of scissors that will work best for you.
When it comes to the handle first you have to ask yourself am I right-handed or left-handed? Just like regular scissors, cuticle scissors are also designed for which hand is dominate. Then you have to thing about the size of your fingers. Again, simple logic here applies, larger fingers equal scissors with larger holes. If your fingers are smaller, using scissors with large holes can become downright painful. In addition there are now scissors that have silicone lined finger wholes. This provides more comfort to a nail tech while working extended periods of time with the same tool being used in a repetitive manner.
Next you need to find what total length do you want in your cuticle scissors. The longer the total length the more control you need. We generally recommend that if you are new to cuticle scissors you start with a shorter length. It provides more control to the movement of the blades so you do not unintentionally cut in the wrong place.
Following the total length of your cuticle scissor you now must decide what you would attributes you would like the blades to have. The main choice being the blade length, the blade curve and blade width. All three of these are preference however shorter blades are easier to work with as are straighter blades. When you start making the blade longer with curves the cuticle cutter becomes harder to control. For blade width we generally prefer a skinny narrow blade as this allows for sliding underneath the cuticle, if you have performed a Russian manicure prior to cutting the cuticle.
Nail drill bits for a Russian manicure…
Things have changed significantly in the nail industry over the last 15 or so years. It used to be when you were heading to your local nail supply store you had a few options of cuticle nippers or scissors to choose from. However Russian manicure has become so popular some people have almost done away with the two entirely. We always believe a combi manicure or option to perform one is best however we will sometimes perform an entire manicure with out using our nippers or scissors.
A Russian manicure is the process of removing gel nail polish and performing the nail prep using a nail drill, also known as an electric nail file. The process is fairly simple in concept however performed but someone untrained can be dangerous. Please see our blog post how to perform a Russian manicure or what is a Russian manicure? We will assume you already have some basics if you are looking at bits. Your carbide nail drill bits are of course used to remove polish and the same goes for ceramics. Diamond nail drill bits are used for nail prep. The main components of all three of these bit types are shape, size and grit. We do not recommend these tools for beginners’ and always encourage everyone to receive professional training.
Every shape has a purpose but the two classic shapes are a ball and a flame bit. The flame drill bits are used to clean the nail plate and lift the cuticle as you often would do with a cuticle pusher. The ball nail bits are then used as a cuticle cutter in place of nippers or scissors to remove the cuticle. For people that have just started out we often recommend you start with these two shapes. It takes time and patience to find the sizes that work best for you. Another shape that is becoming increasingly popular is the flat top cone nail bits. These allow you to use to corner of the cone to remove the cuticle in clean smooth strokes. This is definitely advised for nail techs who know the beauty supply they like to have on hand.
Size is all about skill, the smaller the or more pointed the bits are the more skill that is required to work safely and efficiently with them. For example a very small ball bit requires precision to remove the cuticle where as a larger ball is more forgiving and allows you to cover more area. It takes less skill to use a diamond ball bit but you inevitably end up having contact with skin surrounding the cuticle you do not wish to remove. This can cause pain and irritation for yourself or clients.
When it comes to grit it has two components, for diamond drill bits it is skin type and skillset or product type and bulkiness for carbide bits. Some skin types require a coarser nail drill bit. This is also true to the product you will remove with a carbide nail drill bit from a previous set. Acrylics and gel have a different firmness of the bulk which will change the grit type you want to use. For thick bulky product on nails from a previous service you want to use something that is med-coarse. For natural nails with gel base and top you want to use a carbide or ceramic bit that is soft grit.
Regardless if you are using orange sticks or a professional cuticle pusher they are useful in every manicure. Orange sticks are straight forward but if you skimp on quality you can end up with splintering wood. There is no replacement in a nail tool set to a high quality cuticle nipper. You will find most of them double sided nail tools. Some of them specialize in one task or are versatile with two different shaped tips. For example a double sided pedicure curette tool can be specifical designed to clean under the nails and lift ingrown nails. There are also ingrown pedicure files that look like a cuticle pusher but are specifically designed to file down those pesky nails that don’t grown in how you want.
The main component of this section of nail tools is the pusher and the blade. The pusher is designed to push and lift the cuticle and the blade is designed to remove cuticle and skin from the nail plate. The most common pusher and the one we recommend normally is a long curved pusher that will sit flush to the nail plate. Allowing you to push the cuticle uniformly. The blade we recommend curves down so the blade is parallel with the handle but the blade it’s self is actually flat. We like our blades to be sharp as this helps with ease of use while performing the required task. STALEKS pro has over thirty different cuticle pushers with different uses and shapes. Again this comes to preference but we normally recommend using the basics to learn as they are often the most forgiving.