Dry Manicure

Posted by Cary Gannon on

Dry Manicures: What You Need To Know

Woman applying nail polish using a dry manicure method

There is nothing quite like having your nails pampered after subjecting your hand to work all week - from tapping screens to tending your garden. Thanks to manicure treatments, there’s a way to soften your hand’s dry skin and the dead skin cells around your cuticles while making your nails look pretty.

A traditional manicure involves soaking the hands in warm water before trimming and polishing to hydrate and plump the nails and surrounding skin. While this kind of manicure is a luxurious experience and makes polish absorption neat, it can take some time. 

For busy clients who want maximum manicure benefits in a fraction of the time, a dry manicure can be the perfect fix.


What is a Dry Manicure?

Dry manicure, also called waterless manicure, has been around for some years, but the idea may still not be widely known because people have been so used to ‘wet manicures’ all their lives. Lately, though, many women are opting for dry manicures. But what exactly is a dry manicure?

A dry manicure skips the water-soaking process and uses alternative hydrating and plumping materials like oil, cream, and lotion. This takes less time compared to water soaking but delivers the same effects. Dermatology experts recommend moisturization to avoid dry nails and skin, so going waterless with a dry manicure should be substituted by other hydrating elements.  

You can still use different nail polish materials like the basic nail polish or polymer dissolved in a solvent, lacquer, Shellac, gel, or acrylic and experience all the elements of a complete manicure treatment - trimming, buffing, filing, and polishing. The difference is that there’s no manicure bowl of water to dip your hands in.


Benefits of Having a Dry Manicure

Here are some reasons why a dry manicure is the choice of many beauty insiders.

Saves Time

Squeezing some pampering time in our hectic schedules can be challenging. Every minute matters and some ten minutes saved during a dry manicure makes it more convenient and practical. The nail salon also saves staff effort because there’s no need to fetch and wash water bowls.

Polish Stays on Longer

When drenched in water, the nail, or technically nail plate, expands and loses its natural C-shape. It is also yet to fully dry when the polish is applied. When the nail plate dries post-polish, it returns to its original contour, causing the polish to flake off. With a dry manicure, the polish lays flat on the nail plate, so there is less chipping and peeling. 

It makes the Nails Stronger

Notice how your nails become fragile, pale, and easy to bend and break after being immersed in the pool or bathtub? The same thing happens when you soak your nails during a wet manicure treatment. When done often, it could affect nail health and beauty. A dry manicure simply hydrates the nails and does not cause any weakening of the nail bed.

More Hygienic

The water used in the conventional, wet manicure treatment may be clean, but you can’t be too sure if the water bowl is sanitized enough. When used by other clients with skin issues, some debris may stick to the bowl and, if not properly washed and disinfected, may touch your skin and expose it to risks.


How to Have a Dry Manicure at Home

A dry manicure may or may not involve applying polish. It is more about pampering your digits by using hydrating, softening, and warming agents to prepare the nails for the rest of the process.

It’s quite simple, and you can do it at home with just a few materials. Here are the steps:

  1. Sanitize your hands, including your nails, with a gel sanitizer
  2. Clip, file, and shape the nails
  3. Apply cuticle softener
  4. Gently push back cuticles and trim dry, rough skin around the cuticles
  5. Apply cuticle oil to hydrate and clean the area. Massage gently to enjoy therapeutic benefits. We recommend AILA 'Nourish' Natural Cuticle Oil for its nourishing, healing, and protective properties as it combines different organic oils: Safflower, Cottonseed, Jojoba, Camellia seed, Argan, and Tea tree oil
  6. Gently wipe off the oil, along with the cuticle and nail plate buff debris
  7. Apply the base coat and your nail color and polish
  8. Air dry
  9. Pro tip: Apply hand cream after nails have dried

Repeat the process and apply foot cream to soften and eliminate dead skin and calluses when doing a dry pedicure. We recommend the AILA Eucalyptus Foot Cream with its nourishing, moisturizing, antiseptic, and therapeutic properties. Massage your foot, heels, and calf using this powerhouse product. 

These cruelty-free products from AILA are the ideal tools to make your DIY dry manicure and pedicure at home at par with professional nail salon services.


Dry Manicure Drawbacks

We’ve discussed the pros of dry manicures; now let’s talk about the cons.

Hydrating Agents May Not Be as Easily Available as Water

If you don’t store or have run out of hydrating oils and creams at home, you won’t be able to do DIY dry manicures. These hydrating agents are essential to it. 

Nail Salons May Charge More 

Because of specialty oil or cream is used for dry manicures, some salons may charge a bit more than they usually do with wet manicures. However, many clients are now appreciating the luxurious richness of nourishing and aromatherapy oils applied on their nails and hands and the soothing massage that comes with it, so they don’t mind paying extra. 


Dry Manicure is Actually a Moisturizing and Nourishing Treat!

Now you know that a dry manicure actually moisturizes your nails and hands even more than water does. And with the extra perks you get from it, making the switch can upgrade your whole nail game. 

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