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Brazilian Manicures are The Messiest Way to Paint Your Nails

More often than not, at-home manicures mean ending up with nail polish everywhere but on your actual nails. We usually consider this a polish fail but if you’re getting a Brazilian manicure, a messy paint job is actually the sign of a manicure done well.

This practice is an integral part of how the pros in Brazil paint their clients’ nails. The surrounding skin around the nails is purposely coated with a clear base coat and then the polish shade of choice, followed by removing the excess polish with an orangewood stick and acetone-soaked cotton ball. This haphazard way of painting polish is done so that it sits under the cuticles, and makes for a longer-lasting mani,” explains Fernanda Lacerda, owner of Maria Bonita salon, a Brazilian gem in N.Y.C. It also eliminates the thin sliver of nail that is usually left unpainted during a manicure at your neighborhood nail salon that only gets larger as your manicure grows out.


What’s the difference between a standard mani and a Brazilian?

“It’s a more intense manicure. After soaking hands in a paraffin treatment and exfoliating, we remove the cuticles to make the surface of the nail completely flat. Then, instead of applying polish only to the nail, we also paint the surrounding skin to ensure that the polish coats the edge of the nail bed to make the manicure last longer. We wrap cotton dipped in nail-polish remover around an orange wood stick and wipe away the excess polish on the cuticle area.”

Are there any special tools a needed for a Brazilian mani?

“Since Brazilian manicures focus on the cuticles, we use special clippers that come straight from Brazil. They are much sharper so we can easily remove the inner and exposed cuticles and not just hangnails.”


Why do you paint outside the nail area?

“The whole point of the Brazilian manicure is to get right to the edges of the nail. It’s more precise, so it lasts longer—especially as the nails begin to grow out.”

What tips would you give to someone doing a Brazilian manicure at home?

“I wouldn’t recommend cutting your own cuticles at home, because using the sharp Brazilian clipper right at the nail bed could be dangerous if done incorrectly, so just push the cuticles back with an orange wood stick. Try dipping a pointed cotton bud in nail-polish remover to quickly clean up the polish on skin.”


Why are manicures so important in Brazil?

“In Brazil, manicures are a weekly regimen—people consider it part to be part of their normal routine more than a lifestyle choice. When girls turn 13 in Brazil, they start this regimen that carries on with them through life.”

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