Nail art is a creative way to paint, decorate, enhance, and embellish the nails. It is a type of artwork that can be done on fingernails and toenails, usually after manicures or pedicures. Manicures and pedicures are beauty treatments that trim, shape, and polish the nails. Often, these procedures remove the cuticles and soften the skin around the nails. Types of manicures can vary from polish on natural nails to dipping powder and acrylic nails.
Manicurists start with the same techniques as for the manicure or pedicure:
Acrylics: a chemical mixture of monomer liquid and polymer powder that can be directly applied on the nails or on artificial nails also called nails extensions or enhancements.
Nail gel: a chemical combination similar to acrylics, also known as shellac nails. Manicurist applies several layers on the fingernails or/and toenails and lets it cure under a UV or LED light. When the gel is cured it hardens the nails. Gel is also common in a polish form known as gel polish, and, like other forms of gel, also requires a UV or LED light to cure. The difference between acrylic and gel is that acrylic dries naturally but gel needs UV light to cure. Similarly, where regular nail polish will dry naturally, gel polish will remain tacky until cured by a UV light.
Nail polish/nail varnish: a lacquer applied to finger and toe nails to protect or as a base color. Nail manicurists also use a base coat to protect and strengthen nails, as well as preventing the natural nail from yellowing or staining.
Several options are available for decorating nails.