The new Brazilian
What it is and why you should try it
There is no doubt that Brazilian women are connoisseurs of beauty (see: hair straightening treatments, bikini waxing). So I was super psyched to visit the Maria Bonita Salon & Spa in Soho to experience a cultural first: the Brazilian manicure—a service that promises impossibly glossy, impeccably polished nails, and the solution to my biggest manicure pet peeve (bare, unpolished nail edges). Here, owner Fernanda Lacerda explains the service.
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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 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."
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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 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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