Manicure and Pedicure Products are designed to cleanse, exfoliate and moisturize hands and feet. They may contain a large variety of ingredients. Many products have multiple functions and may fall into more than one category. The major categories are as follows: Soaks are designed to cleanse and soften skin nails in preparation for the rest of the manicure or pedicure service. Soaks may be sold as liquid concentrates or as crystals, both of which are added to water to make the soak solution. In either case, some sort of surfactant (= soap) is usually present to clean the skin.
Nail Products are products that are used to color the nails, to protect them against damage, to soften and condition cuticles, and to supplement the nails. They include nail polish and enamels and nail polish and enamel removers.
Artificial nail extensions are nail coatings applied over natural nails. They provide a protective coating for the nail plate and may extend beyond the free edge of the natural nail to add length. These are broadly classified into three categories: (1) liquid/powder systems, commonly referred to as acrylics; (2) light-cured systems, commonly referred to as gels; and (3) wraps. These systems should be applied by properly trained nail professionals who know how to prepare the nail plate, maintain the artificial nail and understand proper and safe removal techniques.
Nail polishes (also called lacquers or enamels), base coats, top coats, nail hardeners, and nail treatments are coatings applied to the nail plate to provide a pleasing look and to address specific nail plate conditions, such as soft, peeling or brittle nails. Upon application of the polish, treatment, or hardener, the solvents in the product quickly evaporate, leaving a coating of film behind. Nail treatments are coatings applied to the nail plate for a specific purpose and include 1) base coats to increase polish wear, 2) ridge fillers to make the nail smooth, and 3) top coats designed to increase polish longevity and gloss. Nail hardeners or strengtheners, as their name imply, are designed to harden or strengthen the nail. Polish removers are designed to soften polishes, treatments, or hardeners so that the coating on the nail can be easily removed.
Cuticle oils, creams and lotions are designed to moisturize, exfoliate and address a variety of cosmetic conditions of the skin in the finger nail area (i.e. dry skin or hangnails). These products serve one or more of three main functions: 1) to exfoliate living skin, 2) to remove dead skin from the nail plate, and/or 3) to condition and moisturize living skin in the finger nail area. The ingredients typically used in this category have a long history of safe use. The difference between products lies in their unique combination of these well known and understood substances. Exfoliators Cuticle area exfoliators generally contain common chemical exfoliating ingredients such as alpha hydroxy acids ("AHAs") (i.e. lactic, glycolic, maleic, and citric acids), in a quantity sufficient to gently exfoliate the skin in the finger nail area.