We'll start with the basic manicure, the one that isn't fancy or with extra things. The one I usually go after since it only involves trimming your nails, shaping and buffing your nails. In addition, cuticle oil is applied to the cuticles and they are massaged. To finish it off, regular nail polish is applied and it leaves you with nice glossy nails. The type of nail polish is easy to remove but it does dull or chip.
The next possibility is the French manicure. In a French manicure, the main part of the nails are done in a sheer tone and the tips are a nice white. The French manicure is done with either gel or regular nail polish and it goes with anything you wear. This style also makes your fingers look longer. If you choose to have regular nail polish used, the polish is prone to chipping. Some places offer a reverse French manicure where a crescent moon is painted at the base of the nail in a slightly darker shade so it looks like the base matches the tips. You might also find an American manicure which is similar to the French manicure but the colors are more blended and it looks more natural.
Then there is the gel also known as the shellac manicure. Shellac is the name of the original gel polish. This type of polish is much tougher and more flexible than regular polish. After the basic part is done, they apply the gel and then us a special heat lamp to cure it. The advantage to this polish is that it does not chip and the color doesn't fade but it is much harder to remove. It is recommended you have a professional remove the gel polish so you don't damage your nails. A variation of this type of manicure is the mirror look. A dark nail polish is applied as the base with a chrome pigment is brushed over the nails to create the mirror look. This also requires the polish be dried under a UV lamp.
Of course, there is the acrylic manicure where the nail technician mixes a liquid and a powder together to create a solid nail overlay. These may end up in the traditional shape or may be made in a more creative shape depending on the ability of the nail technician. These are the ones that are applied, polished, and often have nail art applied to them. This type of nail can be bought at the store and is often referred to as fake nails. They can add length to your nails but they also can pop off due to daily activities and they become noticeable as your nails grow out.
The last manicure is a dip powder. After the basic manicure, an adhesive is applied to your nails and they are dipped into a colored powder. There is no drying or curing time to worry about. This type of finish can last as long as gel polish but the finish may not be as smooth and it can effect your nails if used for long periods of time.
Be aware though that there is a chance of nail injury or infection during the process. Always make sure you go to an experienced professional who uses sterile equipment. In addition, check out their overall cleanliness procedures to cut down on the possibility of infections. Always insist the nail technician clean and sterilize the equipment before being used on you. Finally, make sure they clean their hands before beginning. You do not want an infection or injury.
So although each is listed as a type of manicure, the name refers to the finish. The basic manicure of trimming, shaping, and buffing is the same. Even fixing cuticles, oiling and massaging them is the same for all. So let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.