Beyond The Basics: Advanced Nail Tools For Expert Manicures

Having beautiful and professional looking nails is something that many strive for. While basic nail tools like clippers, files, and polish can take you pretty far, there are more advanced tools that can take your manicures to the next level.

In this guide, we will cover some of the top advanced nail tools used by professionals and nail enthusiasts including specialty nippers, cuticle care tools, advanced nail files and buffers, nail dehydrators, and more. Whether you are looking to recreate salon quality manicures at home or take your craft as a nail technician up a notch, exploring and using advanced nail tools is key.

These tools are ideal for those who want to perfect their nail care regimen, take precision and care with the health of their cuticles, nails, and hands, and achieve stunning, intricate nail art. With some practice and the right advanced tools, professional level manicures are within your grasp.

Cuticle Nippers

Cuticle nippers are an essential tool for any professional manicure. High-quality nippers feature ultra-sharp, precision-aligned blades made from stainless steel or surgical steel. The blades should be hand-sharpened for a precise cut. Look for nippers with a tension spring for control andsmooth cutting action.Professional Cuticle Nippers are available in straight or curved angles to suit different nail shapes.

Recommended brands include Tweezerman, Gellen, and Blu Ply. The opove X7 mini is a top choice for precision cutting around the nails. For salon-quality nippers, Germanikure offers durable surgical steel blades.

To properly use nippers, sterilize the tips first. Gently push back the cuticles, then hold the nipper perpendicular to the nail and snip off any excess dead skin. Avoid cutting into live tissue. Make small, precise cuts and discard any lifted skin. Frequent sharpening will maintain a clean cut and prevent tearing.

Cuticle Pushers

Cuticle pushers are a common nail tool used to gently push back and clean around the cuticle area. They come in a variety of materials and shapes for different uses. Some key benefits of using cuticle pushers include:

  • Removing dead cuticle skin – Pushers scrape off and push back any dead or excess skin.
  • using precision tools for neat cuticles

  • Cleaning nail beds – They enable cleaning of debris from underneath and around the nails.
  • Preventing hangnails – By keeping cuticles tidy, hangnails are minimized.
  • Improving manicure appearance – Pushing back cuticles creates a neat, tidy nail bed.

The main types of cuticle pushers based on shape include:

  • Flat-end pushers – These have a flat, straight edge and are used for gently pushing back the cuticles in straight motions. They provide control and precision (source).
  • Angled or spoon pushers – Featuring an angled tip, these are ideal for cleaning around and underneath the nail and cuticle area. The shape allows accessing awkward areas (source).

Pushers are commonly made from metal like stainless steel. Silicon and plastic pushers are also available for those that prefer non-metal. To maintain pushers, clean them regularly and replace when worn out.

Nail Files

Nail files are essential tools for shaping and smoothing nails. The grit of a nail file refers to how coarse or fine it is. Coarser grits like 100 are used for heavy filing and shaping, while finer grits like 240 give a smoother finish. Common grits for nail files include:

  • 100/150 grit – coarse, for shortening and shaping
  • 180 grit – medium, for general filing
  • 240 grit – fine, for smoothing ridges

Nail files come in a variety of shapes like oval, round, square and barrel. Oval and barrel shaped files are best for filing the length of the nail. Round and square files are good for corners and cuticles. It’s important to use the file in one direction and avoid sawing back and forth.

To clean nail files, wash with soap and water. Disinfect regularly with alcohol or a file disinfectant to prevent spreading infections. Replace files every few months when they lose their grit. Using damaged files can damage nails.

Nail Buffers

Nail buffers come in various grits, with lower grit buffers being more abrasive while higher grit buffers give a finer finish. Common grits for nail buffers include 80, 100, 180, 240, and 400. Knowing the right buffers and techniques for each step of the process is key.

For acrylic nails, start with a lower grit like 80 or 100 to coarsely shape the nail if needed. According to Byrdie, higher grit buffers around 240 are ideal for smoothing and shining the nail surface without being too abrasive on acrylics. Finish with a buffer 400 grit or higher for an ultra-smooth finish.

When buffing natural nails, stick to gentler grits of 240 or above, as advised by Universal Companies. Harsher grits can damage the natural nail. Use a medium grit in circular motions to smooth ridges, then a fine grit buffer to polish.

For the best results, follow a multi-step buffing process. Shape and smooth the nail with a medium grit buffer, erase surface scratches with a fine buffer, then use an extra-fine shine buffer to create a glossy finish. Take care not to overbuff natural nails, and avoid rubbing too hard or generating excess heat.

Cuticle Oil

Cuticle oil is an essential nail care product for any professional manicure. It contains natural oils that moisturize and nourish the cuticles and nails. Using cuticle oil regularly helps prevent hangnails, dryness, and cracking (

Cuticle oils are formulated with ingredients like jojoba oil, vitamin E, and essential oils. These hydrating ingredients soften the cuticles and stimulate healthy nail growth. Look for cuticle oils that contain shea butter or coconut oil for extra moisturizing power (

When applying cuticle oil, use the brush or pen applicator to paint a small amount on each nail and cuticle. Gently massage in using circular motions. Apply cuticle oil 1-2 times per day or as needed. For best results, apply after washing hands and filing nails (

Some top recommended cuticle oil brands by manicure professionals are:

  • L’Occitane Shea Nail and Cuticle Oil – contains 20% shea butter (
  • CND SolarOil – includes jojoba, sweet almond, and vitamin E (
  • Deborah Lippman It’s a Miracle Pen – shea butter and essential oils (

Using a high-quality cuticle oil daily provides intense hydration to renew dry, damaged cuticles for a flawless manicure.

Nail Dehydrator

A nail dehydrator is an important product used during manicures and pedicures to prepare the nail plate before polish application. Nail dehydrators work by removing excess moisture and oils from the nail surface so that nail products like gel polish, acrylics, and dip powders can properly adhere.

Most nail dehydrators contain ingredients like acetone, ethyl acetate, and isopropyl alcohol to dry out the nail bed (source: Amazon). These help break down the natural oils on the nails. Some also include additional ingredients like glycerin for added nail conditioning.

To use a nail dehydrator, first push back and clean under free edges with a cuticle pusher. Then use a lint-free wipe or nail wipe soaked in dehydrator and wipe over the entire nail plate. Wait 30 seconds to 1 minute for the dehydrator to fully evaporate before moving on to the next step of your manicure. This helps create a blank canvas for even polish application.

Nail Tip Cutter

A nail tip cutter is a specialized tool used to precisely trim the free edge of acrylic or gel nail enhancements. Unlike regular nail clippers, a nail tip cutter has a straight, ultra-sharp blade designed to cut through the thickness of artificial nails without cracking or splintering them. There are several benefits to using a professional nail tip cutter over regular clippers:

Nail tip cutters provide more control and accuracy when trimming artificial nail tips. The straight blade allows you to see exactly where you are cutting for a precise, clean-cut edge. Clippers can crush and potentially crack enhanced nails. The sharp, fine blade of a nail tip cutter prevents cracking or splitting.

There are two main types of nail tip cutters:

– Standard nail tip cutters: These have a single straight fixed blade similar to a razor. You simply slide the nail tip through the open end to trim it.
– Guillotine nail tip cutters: The blade is enclosed and you squeeze the handles together in a “guillotine” action to cut the nail.

High-quality nail tip cutters will have blades made from stainless steel or carbide steel for durability and long-lasting sharpness. Most also have a safety catch to keep the blade safely closed when not in use.

To properly use a nail tip cutter:

– File the nail first to shape it and get rid of any roughness on the edge.

– Open the nail tip cutter and slide the nail into the opening, keeping it flat.

– In one quick, straight motion, close the blade down through the nail tip for a clean cut.

– Avoid cutting too much off at once, trim small sections at a time.

With their specialized design and sharp, sturdy blades, nail tip cutters are an essential tool for expert manicures using enhancements. Using proper technique, they allow for precise, clean cuts without damaging or cracking artificial nails.

Advanced Polish Removers

When it comes to removing nail polish, using an advanced polish remover can make the process easier and more effective. Advanced removers often contain acetone, which helps break down the polish quickly. Some popular options include one+other Advanced Nail Polish Remover and Walgreens Advanced Nail Polish Remover.

The main benefit of advanced removers is that they dissolve polish much faster than regular removers. This makes removing gel manicures or dark polishes easier. Advanced removers can also be used with foil wraps to help break down polish even quicker.

When using an advanced polish remover, be sure to follow the instructions. Apply a generous amount to a cotton ball or pad and hold it against the nail for up to 30 seconds before wiping away. The polish should slide right off with little scrubbing needed. It’s important not to let the remover sit on the skin too long, as the acetone can cause dryness. With an advanced remover, you can remove polish quickly and efficiently.


In summary, there are a variety of advanced nail tools that can take your manicure skills to the next level. Cuticle nippers, cuticle pushers, nail files, nail buffers, cuticle oil, nail dehydrator, and nail tip cutters are essential for detailed cuticle and nail work. Advanced polish removers speed up removal while being gentle on the nails. While a basic manicure kit may include nippers and a file, investing in specialized tools allows for meticulous cuticle care and nail shaping.

For those getting started with more advanced manicure techniques, begin with high-quality nippers, a crystal nail file, cuticle oil, and nail buffer. Learn proper techniques before moving on to more specialized tools. Well-made tools from reputable brands may cost more upfront but last much longer with proper maintenance. Store tools in a roll-up case and wipe down after each use. Replace heavily used items annually to maintain performance.

With the right tools and practice, advanced manicure techniques can be mastered. Taking the time to properly care for cuticles and shape nails leads to beautiful, healthy nails that look professionally done.

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