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What does a Manicurist do?

A manicurist is a beauty professional who specializes in the care and beautification of nails. They clean, shape, polish, and decorate nails, while also advising on nail health and care. They create a relaxing environment for clients, enhancing their overall beauty experience. Ever wondered how to choose the perfect nail shape?
D. Jeffress
D. Jeffress

A manicurist cleans, cuts, files, paints, and polishes fingernails. He or she performs very delicate tasks that require steady hands and careful attention to detail. A professional uses specialized tools to buff nails, trim cuticles, apply paint and designs, and attach artificial nail extensions. Manicurists frequently specialize in other beauty services, such as hair removal and skin treatments.

Manicurists promote the beauty and health of fingernails by keeping them clean, trimmed, and strong. He or she might use nail clippers, cuticle knives, files, and electric buffers to perfect a job. A client may ask a manicurist to reinforce or lengthen their fingernails by applying hard acrylic nails or artificial extensions.

A woman with false nails.
A woman with false nails.

The entire manicure experience is often considered to be very relaxing and refreshing to clients. In addition to nail care, a manicurist routinely massages and moisturizes a client's hands with various lotions and oils. Manicurists generally engage in friendly conversation with clients during the process and make sure that they are happy with the work. Depending on the services rendered, a professional manicure can take anywhere from about half an hour to two hours.

A person getting a manicure.
A person getting a manicure.

Many professionals are trained to perform other aesthetic services for clients. They routinely give pedicures, which are procedures very similar to manicures, to clients who want to pamper their feet. A manicurist may also specialize in removing unwanted hair from various places on the body with the aid of razors, hot wax, and plucking tools. Professionals often provide various skin treatments, such as deep tissue massages, facials, and exfoliation procedures.

Nail clippers.
Nail clippers.

To become a manicurist, a person must typically hold at least a high school diploma and complete an apprenticeship, which may take up to one year. Apprentices learn the trade firsthand by observing and assisting established professionals. Upon the successful completion of an apprenticeship, a new manicurist becomes eligible for licensing in his or her state or country. Licensed professionals can practice independently in manicure shops, beauty parlors, and occasionally out of their own homes or private offices. Some manicurists choose to enroll in cosmetology courses to gain additional training in nail care and other beauty services.

Most experienced manicurists can also do matching pedicures for their clients.
Most experienced manicurists can also do matching pedicures for their clients.

The hours manicurists work vary between places of employment. Many professionals in beauty parlors and manicure shops work standard, 40 hour weeks. Evening and weekend shifts are common to meet the needs of working men and women who pursue nail care in their spare time. Self-employed manicurists are able to set appointment times that are convenient for themselves and their clients.

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Discussion Comments


@Latte31 - I actually think it would be fun to have a manicurist job because you get to talk to the customers as you fix their nails. It is like talking to an old girlfriend.

You also get to know your clientele and if you do a good job you will get a lot of repeat business which is also a rewarding aspect of this job. I think that some of the manicurist schools even offer job placement help once you graduate. So it may not be that hard to get started.


Whenever I go to a nail salon, I always get a French manicure. I love the look of the French manicure because is it so classy and clean looking. It also looks great if you have a nice tan because the white tips really bring out rich color of the tan.

I think that a manicurist job is demanding because people are not always happy with the way that their nails look and the process can be time consuming and a little demanding.

I also think that they have to also have to have very hygienic stations and use a mask when they are doing manicures because they can get an infection.

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    • A woman with false nails.
      By: a1ex76
      A woman with false nails.
    • A person getting a manicure.
      By: Antonio Gravante
      A person getting a manicure.
    • Nail clippers.
      By: ibphoto
      Nail clippers.
    • Most experienced manicurists can also do matching pedicures for their clients.
      By: Valua Vitaly
      Most experienced manicurists can also do matching pedicures for their clients.
    • A full manicure involves cleaning, exfoliating, shaping, and painting the fingernails.
      By: Sandra Gligorijevic
      A full manicure involves cleaning, exfoliating, shaping, and painting the fingernails.