The Russian Manicure Obsession – Everything You Need To Know

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I fell in love with having my nails done at a young age. Dip nails. Acrylic. Gel nails. And now Russian Manicures (aka European Manicures/E-File manicures/Dry Manicures). I’ve tried them all. And my poor nails have taken the beating from all my experimenting. 

But thankfully, 2 years ago I converted to what has become an obsession as well as a monthly essential – my Russian Manicures. So today we’re diving into details of everything you need to know about my ultimate manicure and why it’s a game for your nail game going forward. Healthy long nails? Yes, please! Let’s dive in.

russian manicure

Russian Manicures

I was easily the girl who fell in love with getting her nails done early in life. The french tips. The regular nail salon trips. There was just something about having my nails done that made me feel put together. And it’s an essential that’s lasted well into adulthood. But when my love affair with gorgeous nails felt impossible to maintain with constantly breaking or over drilling, I knew I needed a change. The Russian Manicure was the answer I didn’t know I needed.

What Is A Russian Manicure?

Not surprisingly, it’s a manicure style that originated overseas. Rather than the traditional water soaking method and cuticle pushing, an e-file drill is used to clean the nail bed. Think tiny drill that allows for precision and small drilling over the larger bits that tend to drill a bit too much. After drilling, the excess skin is trimmed. Your nails are filed to perfection and then coated with a base gel coat along with the additional color. But more on that in a minute. 

I’ve also seen it described as a dry manicure which is rather accurate. Each set of nails is removed (to a point) with a drill. No acetone soaking or hand washing as a part of the process. 

Everything You Need To Know About The Russian Manicure #whatsavvysaid #drymanicure #nailspcb
Everything You Need To Know About The Russian Manicure #whatsavvysaid #drymanicure #nailspcb


The traditional salon experience normally starts with either soaking your hands or an acetone cotton round to remove previous polish. Neither of these occurs with the Russian Manicure. Instead, your nails will be filed, shaped, and prepped to apply the base coat (what gives strength to the manicure).

There are no dips or acrylics used. There is a method for adding length to the nails but it’s not something I often see done. Additionally, I find that my nails are significantly healthier and can be saved more easily if they should tear which has happened only once in two years.


After the filing is done, a base gel is applied. This is what gives your nails the strength that you’d get with dip but the flexibility you’d get with gel. Each nail is done one at a time to ensure that the nails are even and beautifully shaped. You’re pretty much at the mercy of your nail artist at this point with one hand in the lamp and the other being shaped. So it’s the perfect time for an audio book.

Once the base is applied, from there it’s more like your traditional manicure. If you’re opting for a design, there might be a difference in technique as well as how long it takes. But the process is similar to a traditional manicure after the base is laid down.

Everything You Need To Know About The Russian Manicure #whatsavvysaid


I have friends who can easily go 5 weeks with one set or longer. I prefer 3 -4 weeks max simply because I keep mine longer and like them fresh for photo purposes. But I’ve put mine through the wringer doing house projects (pulling sheetrock, painting, building shelves) and they’ve lasted beautifully.


This will depend on your nail artist as well as the design you’ve chosen. My average salon appointment is around 3ish hours depending on my chosen design. But if I go more simple (which is rare), it’s around 2-2 1/2. 


There’s a bit of burning that can occur when they first lay down the base gel. Hopefully, your artist will warn you and suggest that you pull your hand from the lamp, flip it over and lightly wave it until the burning passes. It doesn’t happen every time for me and having a base coat helps. But it can very much sting the first time you get it done.

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There are a few ways to do this. If a salon specializes in it, they will often list e-file manicure, European manicure, or Russian manicure in their Instagram bio. So a quick search there helps. I’ve also done a bit of googling and found that some places do pop up. If you’re local to the 30A or Panama City Beach area, I’d highly recommend my girls at Nails PCB.

If you want to see more of the nail designs we do (as well as the final nails from today’s look), be sure to come follow me on Instagram! And if you’re a luxury life and style lover, don’t forget to sign up for the weekly newsletter so you never miss a thing. I hope wherever you are this week, you’re having the best week ever! Xoxo, Savvy

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