What Is A Ukrainian Manicure? Here's What You Need To Know

All of us are fond of beautifying our nails. Some of us do this by giving ourselves the perfect French tip manicure at home, and some enjoy experimenting with popular trends like the aura manicure. So, perhaps you too have been curious to learn more about the Ukrainian manicure, currently doing the rounds on TikTok. We are here to help you decode everything you need to know about this trend.


Yana Galiyeva and Maria Sharova, who own a popular Ukrainian nail bar in London called so.shell, have made a name for themselves through the top-notch Ukrainian manicures they offer to their discerning clients. They explain why the concept has become as popular as it has in an interview with Refinery29, saying, "In Ukraine, we have very high standards when it comes to beauty services. The Ukrainian manicure is of the highest standard, and it involves precise cuticle work." Aside from the attention to detail, the Ukrainian manicure is known for using an electric drill to tend to the cuticles and opting for gel polish to finish the job.

The Ukrainian manicure is all about precision

The Ukrainian manicure relies mostly on an e-file manicure system featuring multiple electric drills, along with cuticle scissors, to prep and buff each nail to perfection. The technique is very similar to that of a Russian manicure, which cosmetic skincare chemist David Petrillo explains to Byrdie "involves using an electric drill bit to file down the cuticles and shape the nails without water." For this reason, it's also known as a "dry manicure or an electric file manicure."


In Russian and Ukrainian manicures, the eponychium (which separates your nail and your skin) is lifted so the cuticle beneath can be tended to. Celebrity manicurist Elle Gerstein further explains the benefits of this method to InStyle: "This allows the manicurist to go deep into that pocket in order to get the nail polish or gel polish underneath so your manicure is flawless without Photoshop and lasts longer."

Ukrainian manicures vs. Russian manicures

There is no denying that there are more similarities than differences between Ukrainian and Russian manicures. Unlike other types of manicures, they both avoid the use of water because it makes the nails softer and hampers the longevity of the product applied on them. They also tend to use electric drills to achieve the maximum effect. 


Yet, Russian manicures, in their pursuit of precision, require the application of a layer of nail polish under the cuticle, which is something that Ukrainian manicurists steer clear of. Instead, the gel polish is applied to the nail bed only (via Beauty Lab London).

Further, the team at so.shell ardently supports Ukrainian businesses by encouraging only the use of nail polish brands that have either emerged from their country or are more likely to be used there (via Refinery29). One of the most widely used in Ukraine is Komilfo.

The advantages of a Ukrainian manicure

Apart from the precision and better-looking nails that result from the fine work done by expert Ukrainian nail artists, there are other benefits to Ukrainian manicures as well. Typically based on the use of gel polish instead of regular nail polish, these manicures can last up to two weeks and possibly longer (via Yahoo! Life). The fact that so much attention to detail goes into preparing the nails before the polish is applied also means the polish is likely to last even longer. 


In a popular TikTok video extolling the virtues of this style of manicure, @reneesdays points to the fact that the removal of cuticles from around the nail bed promotes healthier-looking nails as all the dead skin is cleared away. She captioned the video: "If [you're] tired of having to get your acrylics redone every week and a half then this is the manicure for you."

Though the polish isn't applied under the cuticle the way it is with a Russian manicure, it is applied as close to the edges of the nail bed as possible, making for an extremely neat and professional-looking manicure. 

Should you get a Ukrainian manicure?

Even though some trendsetters swear by the Ukrainian manicure, there are a few important factors to be mindful of. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, the cuticles should not be removed during a manicure as they "protect the nail root." In other words, they provide a barrier that keeps infection-causing bacteria out of the area, and removing them makes you more vulnerable (even though the final result looks great).


Further, the use of electric drills comes with its own health hazards, as any tool that can puncture the skin and is shared publicly has the potential to spread infections. "As a beauty professional, anything that involves the risk of blood should require wearing gloves and disposing of contaminated tools properly, as well as proper sanitation protocols," aesthetician Alicia Lartey highlights to Refinery29. 

Hence, if you do decide to try a Ukrainian manicure, be sure to do your research beforehand and don't be afraid to ask about safety and the hygiene protocols of the nail tools.