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What Is a Russian Manicure? We Asked a Professional

How Russian Manicures Make Your Nails Look Photoshopped

What Is a Russian Manicure? We Asked a Professional

When Kendall Jenner's manicurist Lisa Kon posted a picture of the model's tortoiseshell nails on Instagram, one thing stood out even more than her design of choice: the incredibly clean and neat look of her cuticle area.

While a clean cuticle line is a prerequisite for any decent manicure, Jenner's in particular stood out because it looked like she had almost no cuticle at all, and the effect made her nails look incredibly natural. The secret behind this look, it turns out, is a technique called a russian manicure, and the style is quickly gaining traction in the US.

Not only has there been an increase in TikTok videos documenting people's experiences with getting russian manicures, but searches for the nail trend have increased 110 percent over the last week, and experts are predicting that the look will take over this year. That said, people are questioning the manicure's safety because of what it takes to get that "photoshop" nail look. For one, many dermatologists and manicurists will advise against cutting your cuticles completely (after all, they are there "to protect the new nail from bacterial and fungal infections as they grow out from the nail root," dermatologist Corey L. Hartman, MD, previously told POPSUGAR).

Still, to better understand the popularity of this growing nail trend, we asked celebrity manicurist Elle Gerstein to explain the ins and outs of a russian manicure, as well as what you can expect should you decide to get one. Read ahead for her best tips.

What is a Russian Manicure?

This manicure technique actually has very little to do with nail art and everything to do with the nail prep. "A russian manicure is a technique, not a design," Gerstein says. "The technique involves very extreme and extensive cuticle care [and requires a manicurist] to have almost surgeon-like precision."

The attention to detail and cuticle cleanup are what differentiate this manicure from others, along with the fact that there is "no hand filing whatsoever. [All cuticle cleanup] is done with an e-file." While russian manicures use both normal and gel polishes, if using a gel, manicurists take extra time to make sure that they properly structure the gel polish on the nail so that it best strengthens the nail bed.

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