If you love having beautiful nails but you’re hesitant to get a traditional manicure every other week because it can damage your nails, you’re going to love Japanese manicures.
Japanese manicures have been around for centuries and are still very popular today in Japan. They are starting to gain popularity in the West as well because they’re a totally different way of viewing manicures.
For those who want to minimize chemical exposure and otherwise harsh practices surrounding their nails, there’s nothing better than a Japanese manicure.
With a regular manicure, you’re exposing your nails to chemicals, damaging UV light, and rough treatments with metal tools. Well, a Japanese manicure has none of that.
Instead, it nourishes your nails and uses gentle and relaxing techniques to give your nails a gorgeous healthy sheen.
So what is a Japanese manicure? It’s a technique that enhances the health and beauty of your natural nails using a special vitamin paste and buffing process. It doesn’t involve any nail polish or other treatments, instead, it makes your nails shiny and pink naturally.
The best part is that a Japanese manicure can be done at home if you have the right tools! Whether you’re thinking about getting it done at a salon or at home, this guide will show you how it works and what to expect!
What Is A Japanese Manicure?
A Japanese manicure is an old tradition that’s been around for at least 400 years. Women in Japan discovered a great technique that made their nails strong, healthy, and beautiful.
In addition to all the benefits to their nails, this technique is also very relaxing and enjoyable, making it a perfect act of self-care.
A Japanese manicure involves using a special paste and buffing it into the surface of the nails. This gives the nails all the vitamins and minerals they need to become strong and healthy.
You might hear the term “P.shine Paste” – this is just one of the major Japanese brands that manufacture this paste, so this term is often used interchangeably with Japanese manicures.
These days, there are several other brands that produce this product.
This special paste and its accompanying powder are made of all-natural ingredients, including vitamin A, vitamin E, keratin, bee pollen, and silica from the Sea of Japan.
During this process, no metal tools or chemical solvents are used at all, which makes it a totally different experience from traditional western manicures.
Instead, a ceramic nail file and a deer skin polishing cloth are the only tools used to treat the nails and give them a healthy shine.
A Japanese manicure is typically concluded with a lovely hand massage using essential oils which help increase circulation and relax the nervous system.
Here’s a video of the whole process from CrystalNailsTv on YouTube.
Benefits Of A Japanese Manicure
There are many benefits of getting a Japanese manicure. Here are some of the most popular reasons that women prefer this type of nail treatment over others:
- Makes the nails naturally stronger
- Adds flexibility to nails which prevents them from breaking
- Allows you to grow your nails longer
- Adds a natural and long-lasting shine to the nails without the use of polish
- Nourishes the nails with all the vitamins and minerals that they lack
- Acts as a relaxing and pleasant experience
- Can be done easily at home
- Does not use any harsh chemicals
- Does not damage the nails or the skin around them
- Does not need to be removed using acetone or other solvents
- Painless experience
- Lasts up to 2 weeks
- Takes less than 30 minutes to do
- Makes nails look pink and shiny
- Keeps the cuticles healthy and intact
- Gentle on your nails, skin, and senses
- Can still be used with nail polish if you prefer to add color
- Less expensive than most traditional manicures
As you can see, there are many benefits to a Japanese manicure. One of the most important differences between Japanese manicures and other manicures (gel, acrylic, etc) is that Japanese manicures won’t harm your nails or expose you to any dangerous chemicals.
On the contrary, a Japanese manicure will enhance the health and appearance of your natural nails.
With beauty trends stubbornly going in the direction of minimalism, we anticipate that Japanese manicures are going to blow up very soon. And we’re here for that!
More and more women want to heal their nails and find ways to keep them looking good without subjecting them to regular salon visits where they get filed, buffed, soaked in acetone, and covered in chemicals. Japanese manicures are a great alternative to all of that.
Japanese Manicures Vs Regular Manicures
If you’ve only ever done “regular” manicures like getting your nails painted with polish or gel polish, or getting extensions such as acrylics, a Japanese manicure may seem foreign to you at first.
With a Japanese manicure, you’re not getting any extensions or colored lacquer.
Instead, you’ll be working with your natural nail to shape it, nourish it, and buff it so that it looks shiny. The nutrients in the special paste will give your nails a healthy pink color. In the process, you’ll also be strengthening and nourishing your nails.
The final result? Natural-looking nails that are nicely shaped, pink, and shiny. For those who really want to add a pop of color to their nails, nail polish can be applied over your Japanese manicure, however, we don’t recommend doing that on the same day.
Japanese manicures leave your nails covered with massage oils so a regular polish likely won’t “stick” until a few days later.
If you’re not used to going out with your “bare” nails, it can be jarring at first. But don’t worry; a Japanese manicure will quickly change your mind, as it makes your nails strong and pretty enough that you won’t want to cover them up ever again.
Unlike traditional manicures that can leave your nails brittle and yellow after removal, each Japanese manicure application actually makes your nails healthier, stronger, and longer. So, the more you do it, the more you’ll want to show off your nails au naturel.
How Long Does A Japanese Manicure Last?
The lovely pink glow and shine of a Japanese manicure typically last for two weeks. The manicure can last less or more time depending on how often you wash your hands, do the dishes, etc.
Exposing your nails to water or other liquids makes the manicure fade away faster, but if you take good care of your nails and wear gloves while cleaning and washing the dishes, it can last you a lot longer.
The best part about a Japanese manicure is that it doesn’t need to be removed. There will be no chipping nail polish or cracked extensions to deal with. Phew!
Instead, the shine and vibrant color might start to fade and look more muted with time, at which point you can decide to re-do the manicure or wait a little while before you do it again.
Your nails will continue to reap the benefits of all the vitamins and nutrients long after the shine fades, so you never have to feel like you have to run to the salon and get your nails “filled” as you do with regular manicures.
If your nails start to look faded and you’re noticing that they’re not as strong or healthy anymore, you can simply repeat the process to enhance them again. The more you do it, the longer the effects of the manicure will last.
How To Do A Japanese Manicure At Home
One thing we love about Japanese manicures is how easy they are to do at home, as long as you have the right tools.
You don’t need to be an expertly trained nail technician to get it right – it’s super easy. Let’s go over everything you need to know to do a Japanese manicure yourself.
What You’ll Need
Every Japanese manicure requires a few essential items:
- Ceramic nail file
- Cuticle oil
- Wooden cuticle pusher/orange stick
- Polishing vitamin and mineral-infused paste (aka green paste)
- Polishing powder or cream
- Polishing cloths
- Massage oil or hand cream
These are the usual tools that are used during a Japanese manicure at a salon. You can purchase them separately or buy a kit online.
Japanese Manicure Kits
There are many brands online that are selling Japanese manicure kits for you to use at home. Some of them have similar tools to a salon-level Japanese manicure, while others differ slightly. For the most part, they all work similarly.
- This Onsen kit includes nail files, buffering pads, a nourishing mineral serum (instead of the traditional green paste), and a hand cream.
- This Joligel polishing kit also has everything you need to achieve the Japanese manicure effect without too many tools. The cream in this kit replaces the traditional green paste and polishing powder by combining them into one product. It comes with a convenient leather buffer tool instead of deerskin cloths.
- You can purchase the OG Japanese manicure kit from sellers such as e-cosmetorium. This manicure kit contains the most authentic Japanese manicure ingredients, including the famous green paste and deerskin cloth.
Whether you decide to go with a kit or purchase the tools separately, the process of the Japanese manicure itself is easy once you have all the tools and ingredients!
DIY Japanese Manicure Tutorial
Once you have all your tools, you’re ready to begin!
We recommend doing your Japanese manicure in a relaxing environment. Soothing music, comfortable clothes, and pleasant scents are a must. This should feel like self-care or a home spa day.
Follow these steps for an authentic Japanese manicure:
- Start with clean nails. If you have old nail polish or other nail treatments, remove them with acetone or nail polish remover. If your previous nail treatment was a Japanese manicure, you do not need to remove anything – just wash your hands with soap to prep them for a new application.
- File and shape your nails to your desired length and shape using the ceramic nail file.
- Rub cuticle oil over your nails and the skin that surrounds them. Do this for a minute or so to allow your cuticles to soften.
- Gently push back cuticles using the wooden cuticle pusher.
- Pick up a quarter-sized amount of the nourishing paste and start massaging it into your nails. Depending on the brand the paste may have a different consistency, such as cream or serum. Follow the instructions on the package to rub the product into your nails.
- Once the paste is all over your nails, use a deerskin cloth to buff it into the nail beds.
- Next, buff the polishing powder or cream on top of your nails. Use the other deerskin cloth for this step. This is the step that gives your nails a shiny and pink appearance. Note: some nail kits don’t come with a polishing powder or cream, so you’ll need to use a nail buffer instead.
- Finish the manicure off with a relaxing hand massage. You can use massage oil or hand cream. This will add more hydration to your hands and nails and will increase blood circulation which enhances the strength of your nails.
- If you choose to paint your nails after a Japanese manicure, make sure to wait at least a day before doing that.
- For best results, repeat these steps every 2-3 weeks.
That’s it! As you can see, the process is very straightforward. Depending on the kit you have, some of the steps might be different. Follow the instruction on your kit for the best results.
The steps above are for a traditional Japanese manicure using the P.Shine brand and are similar to how the process would go if you’d gone to a salon.
If you want to experience the right atmosphere while you’re doing your Japanese manicure at home, we recommend wearing cozy clothes, diffusing some essential oils, and playing some relaxing music.
Remember: the Japanese manicure is more than just a manicure. It’s the whole experience.
How Much Is A Japanese Manicure?
Wondering how much a Japanese manicure will cost you? If you go to a salon, the costs may vary. First of all, not every nail salon offers Japanese manicures. You might have to call around to find one that does.
Salon prices vary by location and skill level, but in general, Japanese manicure goes for $30 – $50.
If you decide to do it yourself, you can find all the tools for around $20 or pick up a kit that’s between $20 and $30 which will last you for months.
It’s more affordable to do a Japanese manicure at home, but if you’re looking for an authentic experience within a calming and relaxing atmosphere, going to a salon or spa might be worth it!
If you are comparing the cost of a Japanese manicure to the cost of traditional manicures, you should consider the fact that a Japanese manicure does not need to be redone as often as a traditional manicure.
With a Japanese manicure, it’s not very noticeable that your nails have grown out, so there is less of a need to get them “filled” as soon as possible. Even if you get your Japanese manicure done at a salon, you’ll be going less frequently than you would for a regular manicure, which will save you money in the long run.
Is Japanese Manicure Good For Your Nails?
Absolutely! Japanese manicures are ideal for someone who wants to enhance the health and strength of their nails.
The paste that is used during a Japanese manicure consists of many nourishing vitamins and minerals that our nails need, such as:
- Vitamins A, E, B5
- Zinc and silica from the Sea of Japan
- Bee pollen
All of these ingredients help strengthen your nails from the inside.
Another reason Japanese manicure is so good for your nails is that you’re not using any harsh chemicals or techniques that can damage your nails and stunt their growth.
All in all, Japanese manicures are great for your nails and are, in fact, often recommended to people who want to heal weak, brittle, and damaged nails.
While the jury is still out on how damaging western manicures are, there’s no denying that they can make your nails thinner and less healthy the more you do them. The opposite is true for a Japanese manicure – the more you do it, the healthier your nails will be.
If you haven’t tried a Japanese manicure before, now is the time to try. You’ll love how this method makes your nails look amazing without covering up their natural beauty.
You will also notice that your nails are getting better and stronger over time. And the best part? It’s super easy to do at home, so you won’t have to spend a lot of money on frequent salon trips.
Try one of the kits we listed above or buy the tools separately.
If you’ve been looking for a way to treat your nails with more kindness and help them flourish naturally, a Japanese manicure is a perfect solution!
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