Sunday, May 14, 2017

Russian Manicure Part 1 - Video reviews


If a nail trend has ever given me the willies, its the Russian Manicure (a.k.a combined manicure, Korean manicure, machine manicure). The effect is clean and stunning....and almost always not something that is within scope of a nail tech's license. Having said that, I will say that there are certain parts of the technique that are useful and can be done by a well trained nail tech without damage to the client. But there are other parts of the procedure that literally amount to minor surgery. Lets break this down.


First, a side note. Lets remember throughout this that the eponychium is living tissue and should never be cut. From the book "Nanotechnology in Dermatology":
"The skin bordering the proximal nail plate is called the eponychium. It does not end at the nail plate, but instead folds back underneath to create a tight seal which prevents pathogens or contaminants form gaining access to the matrix area... [It] serves to help protect and cushion the matrix. This tissue is often mistakenly confused with the cuticle... The cuticle is a vital part of the seal that protects the matrix from pathogenic invasion, which explains why this area should be treated with care when manicuring."
Back to our regularly scheduled post:


In the first video, they are using a variety of bits to "clean" the cuticle and eponychium.
  • First, a fine small diamond cylinder bit is used to remove visible cuticle stuck the nail plate. This could be okay, as long as the bit is very fine and care is taken to not over file. There is quite a bit of "dust" on the nail when they do this which is nail plate dust. I don't think that bit is very fine.
  • Second, a needle bit with a blunt edge is used and they instruct you to go "as deep as possible" into the nail grooves. My problem here is that they start pushing under the eponychium to "clean" the cuticle - and in the process are breaking the seal that the eponychium gives to the nail matrix.
  • The third bit is a corundum (stone) bit - which is porous and not disinfectable. You would need to use a new bit for every client. They are using it to smooth the nail plate. This is the third time they have gone over the same area around the sidewalls and eponychium of the nail with a rapidly spinning bit. I don't care how soft the bit is, at this point you are starting to take layers of the nail off.
  • Fourth they use a tiny diamond football (or bullet) to go over again to go even more deeply into the nail folds.
  • A round diamond bit is used to clean raised skin (they keep calling it cuticle but its really living tissue). They also use it to file down the hard, dry skin at the corner of the nails. That makes sense to me, its the same as filing calluses on the feet .

Even worse is the video where they do the same manicure but add scissors. They say that there are 2 instances that you need to use scissors - the first is when your client has "damp cuticle" and is too elastic to get with the machine and the second is for new techs who are not comfortable using the round bit.
  • In this video they show a client with healthy eponychium that is a bit overgrown. They first dry out the moist eponychium with baby powder and then push back the stuck eponychium, (again they keep calling it cuticle, which is wrong)
  • They then use the diamond bit to remove cuticle on the nail plate (which they keep calling pterygium, which is also wrong) and to push up under the eponychum that they pushed back in the first step. Their goal is to raise that eponychium off the nail plate in order to be able to grab it with scissors later. They use the same bit along the sidewalls
  • They powder the skin again to dry it and then use a scissors to cut off the raised eponychium., This is the part where I can't help but cringe.
  • Next they are using a corundum (stone) bit to remove the cuticle that is leftover on the nail plate and smooth the nail plate. Again these bits are porous and not disinfectable.
  • They next use the round diamond bit along the edge where they just cut off the eponychium to further raise the skin "for later cleaning" and then file any raised skin off using the same bit as well as filing down any hard skin on the sides of the nail.
  • They use another corundum (stone) bit to smooth the skin around the nail. 
  • Then they push back the eponychium with a pusher again. How much trauma can this finger withstand??
What are your thoughts on these procedures??

Part 2 of Russian Manicures -  the Consequences and Experts Weigh In coming soon!