You’ve made the right choice to buy a manicure and pedicure set, but before you make the final decision, you should first consider what exactly all those tools, gizmos and gadgets in the sets actually do, and most importantly, why YOU need them.
10 Essential Manicure and Pedicure Kit Components
- Nail Clippers AKA Nail Cutters
- Ingrown Toenail Cutters
- Cuticle Nipper
- V-Shaped Cuticle Trimmer
- Cuticle and Nail Polish Pusher
- Nail File
- Ear Pick and Ear Spoons
- Blackhead and Pimple Remover
- Nail clippers and Nail cutters
Nail clippers, also known as Nail cutters, are arguably the most important component of any manicure and pedicure kit.
Most kits come with fingernail and toenail clippers. So, what’s the difference?
The smaller sized clippers in your set are for your fingernails and have rounded cutting blades for getting into the corners of your nails and offering a more detailed and accurate cut – on the first try.
The larger size clippers, AKA cutters, are for your toenails and can be flat across the top or also have curved cutting blades. They are usually sturdier and have a wider jaw to accommodate the larger and thicker nails on your feet. The larger handle provides more leverage and mitigates the chances of a miss-snip, cutting your skin or leaving behind jagged edges.
Both should come with a thumb indentation for an easy grip, be comfortable to hold and have an ergonomic design.
Parts and Accessories
Typical nail clippers usually consist of 4 parts. The blades, which do the cutting, the pin which holds the lever to the blades and allows it to rotate from the cutting position to the storage position and finally, but not always, the file.
As mentioned they sometimes come with a small nail file attached, however, most kits come with more sturdy and durable larger sized files.
Nail catchers can be purchased separately and are a cleaner and necessary buy to trap clippings for hygienic and no mess grooming. Great for when traveling!
2. Ingrown Toenail Cutters
Ingrown toenails are usually caused by wearing poor-fitting shoes, rounding the edge of your nails when you cut them – particularly on your feet- or from subbing your toe or other injury’s.
Most good quality manicure and pedicure kits will come with an ingrown toenail cutter. These can sometimes be mistaken for a Cuticle Nipper but will have a heavier duty and plier type appearance. They generally have longer, slenderer and very sharp blades for sliding underneath the problem nail.
Parts and Accessories
On most occasions the cutters in your set will be sufficient, however, if you have thicker or more problematic nails, or you set does not contain an ingrown toenail tool, I recommend you separately purchase a specialist pair of Ingrown toenail pliers. In addition, a “Blacks File” is a fantastic, small but robust rasp that is used to file and contour the edges of your nail plate. This is ordinarily used AFTER you have used your ingrown toenail tool.
These are high-quality stainless steel products and sure to last a lifetime!
3. Cuticle Nipper
Cuticles nippers, as the name implies are used for nipping away skin from the cuticle on your finger and toenails. The cuticle is the clear area between your skin and the nail and serves to protect your nails from bacteria or infection as they grow out from the nail root.
They come in a variety of sizes, with smaller 1/8 and 1/4 inch jaw sizes allowing more control and precession and the larger 1/2 inch allowing you to trim at a faster pace and offering more leverage.
Alternatively, cuticle nippers can also be used for trimming thin nails or getting into tight places for more precision cutting and cleaning. They are also perfect for “hangnails” which are they incredibly annoying stiff bits of skin that stick out between the edge of your skin and fingernails.
Hangnails are predominately caused by dry skin, so I highly recommend you purchase some cuticle softening and nail strengthing conditioning cream.
Hard as hoof is a best seller and has a sweet and aromatic coconut fragrance.
4. V-Shaped Cuticle Trimmer
V-shaped cuticle pushers and trimmers, also known as a “dead skin fork”, as the name implies, have a “V-shaped” head and are a specialized tool for removing excess cuticles and hangnails. Almost always included in a good quality pedicure and manicure kits they have sharp internal blades and are perfect for quickly removing dead skin.
5. Cuticle and Nail polish Pusher
Cuticle pushers are a basic manicure and pedicure tool used to push the clear cuticle skin away from your nails towards your nail roots. This makes your nails appear longer and smother as well as assisting them to grow healthier and stronger.
They come in a variety of shapes and sizes and are often doubled ended. The heads are usually spoon-shaped but have an Arrowhead shape on the other end for cleaning down the sides and under your nails.
I recommend you always soften your nails before using these types of tools. After a shower or bath is best.
Cuticle nail polish pushers and cleaners are used to peel and remove gel nail polish from your finger and toenails.
Something you are unlikely to find in your set is an orangewood stick. These are inexpensive and disposable cuticle pushers that have a flattened curved end for cuticles and an opposite sharpened end, with a point, for cleaning under your nails. They are widely considered to be a more gentle implement for those with more tender fingers and toes.
A bulk pack of 50 will only set you back a few dollars.
6. Nail Files
Nail files are used to gently file down the edges of your nails after you’ve cut them. Often they will have two sides, one rough and one fine.
Your kit will almost certainly come with at least one good quality stainless steel file. Usually, files are metal, which is perfect for thicker nails and abrasive enough to file through plastics, like acrylic or nail gels.
Tweezers are not necessarily an important component of a good manicure and pedicure set, but more of a universal optional extra that kit makers like to throw in. But who’s complaining? Plucking out pesky ingrown hairs, removing splinters or picking up smaller items that are in an awkward or difficult position. There really are a million and one uses for tweezers.
A pair of multi-purpose manicure scissors will almost surely be included in your set, and some will also include a pair of “Safety scissors”. Safety scissors have small rounded tips and the end of their blades. But why do you need a pair of safety scissors and what are they used for? Well, for safely cutting in sensitive areas such as the hairs in your nose and ears – particularly when grooming babies and young children.
9. Ear Pick and Ear Spoons
Yes, I know, what does an ear pick have to do with a manicure and pedicure kit I hear you ask? Well, much like the Tweezers they are included as a complimentary item, and some would argue an important one. There is nothing more annoying then built up wax and debris in your ears, and ear pick and/or an ear spoon is the perfect tool for the job. An ear spoon, as the name implies, has a small spoon-shaped head. An ear pick, AKA Ear Care Curette, normally has a larger head, which sometimes can be spiral in shape, for removing ear junk and wax.
A Q-tip or cotton earbud is often not up to the task, particularly if you have very dry ear wax, so using a specialized stainless steel tool is often a more preferable option.
WARNING: Use these tools with caution to avoid damaging your eardrum or ear canal.
Irrigation sets, Ear washing kits, Ear wax removal drops – A variety of names for liquids that generally either contain natural ingredients or a peroxide solution to soften and flush out the ear wax from your ear canal.
Herb Pharm Mullein Garlic Herbal Oil comes in a one fluid ounce bottle and is made from a blend of natural ingredients including flower and garlic bulb extracts. The application is by ear drops.
Squip Kyrosol-All Natural Ear Wax Removal Kit Is applied with a syringe and uses glycerin to first soften and then loosen excessive and dry ear wax. Alternatively, it can be applied using the included ear drop bottle. A fantastic alternative to Ear Pick and Ear Spoons for around 10 bucks.
My third choice and a more serious and professional option is the Elephant Ear Washer Bottle System by Doctor Easy YES! It really was invented by a doctor! The kit contains a large spray bottle, a tube applicator, and three disposable ear tips.
10. Blackhead and Pimple Remover
Although not as frequent, your chosen set may contain a tool for removing blackheads and pimples. It may have a tip (which often is very sharp!) This needle end is used to break and loosen the surface of the skin or pore. The opposing end, or sperate provided implement, will have a ring shape for subsequently squeezing blackheads and whiteheads and pressing out the targeted pimple.