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Today the market presents many types of cutters for manicures. They differ in function, hardness, material from which they are made. It is difficult for a beginner to understand all this variety.

Sometimes devices are sold in a set with starter kit mills, the rest is purchased in the process. But how not make a mistake if you’re assembling your tool kit by yourself? How not to get confused when you come to the store, and not to buy unnecessary things?

In this article, we will consider in detail what kinds of cutters exist and which of them are necessary for a beginner.

The form of cutters for manicure: which one is needed for what?

You came to a manicure store and the first thing that catches your eye in the window with cutters is the variety of their shapes. Round, thin, spherical, cylindrical… For what and which one is needed?

Masters use cutters for two purposes:

  1. To work on the skin and nail plate;
  2. For removing material.

Some cutters are used at one stage of the manicure and perform only one function. They are called non-functional.

  • Powerful and Ease-of-use: variable speed control (0-30,000 RPM).
  • Multifunctional: Designed with 6 kinds of metal bits and 10pcs rainbow diamond bit
  • Foot Pedal and Two Rotation Direction: “Hand” mode and “Foot”
  • Professional Quality: approved by the safety certification

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But there are also functional cutters – those that cope with several functions and stages of manicure. Working with such cutters saves a great deal of the master’s time. And an experienced master can even perform a manicure with a single cutter.

Below we will look at the most popular cutters and their functionality.

Flame Nail Drill Bits

This is probably the most popular and functional cutter in the master kit. Its nose is used to process the sinuses, the flat part is used to clean the cuticle, and the “belly” is used to process the lateral rollers. Work with this cutter at an angle of 45 degrees.

Needle Nail Drill Bits

This cutter is great for removing pterygium, lifting and opening the cuticle. She also does the correction of artificial nails – cut inside a natural nail. While working, such a cutter should be kept almost parallel to the nail plate, as its sharp tip can injure the client.

Nail Drill Bits Cone

It is used to lift and open the cuticle. This cutter works at an angle of 90 degrees.

Ball or Sphere Nail Drill Bits

Such cutters are used to cut the cuticle, lateral rollers, and burrs. They are available in several diameters. For example, “Ball” of small diameter is used to clean the pterygium, and the medium diameter – to cut the cuticle.

Lentil or Bullet Nail Drill Bits

This cutter is used in work to remove the pterygium after lifting and opening the cuticle with a cone.

Corn Nail Drill Bits

This cutter removes gel polish and nail extension materials. Also, do her correction of the length of the nail plate. During use, the cutter must be kept parallel to the nail.

Nail Drill Bits Drum or Cylinder

This cutter is suitable for removing the length of the nail plate and artificial material. Due to the fact that the cutter has sharp edges, there is a risk of injury to the cuticle, so beginners should use it very carefully.

Roller or Cylinder Nail Drill Bits

They are used to cut the cuticle and lateral rollers safely.

colors of manicure cutters

The colors of manicure cutters: what do they mean and how do they differ?

Like a file, each cutter has a certain abrasiveness. Cutters can be hard, medium, soft, and very soft.

How can you tell if they are hard?

By the color of the notch at its base.

Black and purple notches

These colors are used to identify the hardest cutters. They work only for the processing and sawing artificial material (false nails). For manicure, these cutters are not suitable, because they are very rough.

Green notch

Cutters with a green notch are hard. They are used to remove artificial materials (acryl, gel, acrylic). They are also used in pedicures for blister treatment. But in manicure, they are quite rare.

Important: This type of cutters is not suitable for work with sensitive skin, hyperhidrosis.

On cutters for the removal of this color are indicated by a large and medium incision.

Blue notch

This color designates medium-hard cutters. They are used only for work on the outer areas of the skin. They are not suitable for work on the nail plate.

This color indicates medium cross and medium notches on cutters for removal.

Red notch

Red-cut cutters are soft. They are used to work both on the skin and on the surface of the nail plate. They are the most universal. Usually, they are used to clean the pterygium from the surface of the nail and in the lateral cavities.

Important: Have you met a diamond cutter with two red notches? This means that it has increased softness.

On the cutters for removal, the middle cross-cut is indicated by this color.

Yellow notch

This color indicates soft cutters. They are used when working on sensitive skin and on the natural nail plate. On the cutters for removal, this color indicates a fine, cross-shaped notch.

White notch

White-cut cutters are ultra-soft. They are designed for sensitive skin and minor nail work. Such cutters are not suitable for the daily work of the master, so they are used very rarely.

On the cutters for removal, a fine spiral notch is indicated by this color.

Manicure cutter material: which one is needed for what?

What else do cutters differ from each other? The material from which they are made.

Diamond Nail Drill Bits

Diamond cutters are designed to work on the surface of the nail and skin. Their peculiarity lies in the fact that they are sprayed with diamond crumbs and dust on a metal base. They come in different hardness, which is determined by the colored notch at the base of the cutter.

Diamond cuttersCarbide Nail Drill Bits

Carbide or metal cutters are indispensable when removing gel polish and artificial material. They are made of hard metals. They have notches (blades) of oblique, straight or cruciform shape. When working, they turn the material into a fine chip, not dust. As they rotate, they cut the material and leave an even surface.

Carbide cuttersCeramic Nail Drill Bits

Ceramic cutters are made from ceramics with a very complex composition. It includes special clay substances, feldspar, quartz, and bone ash. The result, after firing, is an incredibly durable material. Its wear resistance is much higher than that of carbide, so ceramic cutters last 3-4 times longer than metal cutters. Another advantage of ceramic is its high thermal resistance. Such cutters do not heat up during operation.

Ceramic cuttersDue to their high cutting power, ceramic cutters cut the material very gently, almost without vibration. They do not get clogged in the process of removing gel polish, as they do not turn it into shavings, but dust. But this advantage is also a disadvantage, as the dust hovers in the air and settles on the surface. To avoid the negative impact on health, you MUST use a machine with a built-in vacuum cleaner or a special manicure vacuum cleaner, an extractor.

Of course, all the advantages of ceramic cutters affect their cost – it is much higher than that of carbide cutters. But they also last much longer.

Corundum Nail Drill Bits

How are corundum milling cutters made? Electrical corundum powder is baked on a special resin bond. Such cutters do not strongly heat the processing surface, they are quite gentle on the skin and nail plate. But at the same time, corundum cutters are quite hard, so they cope with “rough” work: they can process calluses, make corrections of artificial material.

Corundum cutters

Silicon-carbide, Sand Caps

Caps are used in pedicures for the treatment of rough skin, corns. They are made of cardboard, which is applied an abrasive coating. To work, the caps are put on a special rubber base. After work, the base is sterilized and the cap is discarded (it is disposable).

sand caps

Grinding Nail Drill Bits

Grinding cutters are made of rubber, suede, or silicone. They can be used to resurface the skin of varying sensitivities. If the skin needs additional nourishment, oil or polishing cream can be used when working with these cutters.

Grinding Cutters

What is the difference between manicure cutters and pedicure cutters?

The treatment of the cuticle and nail plate for manicure and pedicure uses practically the same cutters. The only difference is the size and hardness of the nozzles. The skin on the feet is rougher, the treated surfaces are larger, so tougher cutters are used.

Also in pedicure, there is an additional step – treatment of feet. This stage requires nozzles to remove corns, cracks, grinding, polishing.

What cutters for manicure need a novice master?

So what cutters are included in the kit of the novice master manicurist?

  • For lifting, uncovering the cuticle, as well as side rollers, you will need a diamond cutter “Flame”, “Bullet” or “Cone” with a red notch;
  • For removing the cuticle and treating the lateral rollers, a small or medium diamond “Ball” is needed;
  • A diamond Cone is needed for cleaning the pterygium;
  • To remove gel nail polish, a ceramic “Corn” is needed;
  • A carbide “Cylinder” is needed to remove artificial material;
  • You’ll also need sanders of various softnesses and sizes.

A master providing pedicure services will also need:

  • Silicon-Carbide caps with a rubber base;
  • A diamond “Needle” for crack treatment.

cutters for manicures

How to insert a cutter into a manicure machine?

There are three types of cutter clamping:

  • manual;
  • semi-automatic;
  • automatic;

Information about the type of clamping is specified in the instructions to the machine.

When manual clamping, the button on the body is pressed, the washer is unscrewed, and the cutter is inserted. After that, the clamp closes as well by pressing the button.

In semi-automatic clamping, you must open the collet clamp by turning the handle. Then you insert the cutter and close the clamp.

With automatic clamping, you just have to insert the cutter into the clamp and it will lock it in position.

When storing, either the cutter or the plug must always be inserted into the machine. If the clamp is closed without a cutter, it cannot be opened by yourself, you will need the help of a craftsman.

Safety rules when working with a mill

If handled improperly, any cutter can injure the client. To prevent this from happening it is necessary to remember about:

  • The correct tilt;
  • the angle of the cutter;
  • The amount of pressure on the cutter;
  • The abrasiveness of the cutter.

How to use Nail Drill Bits?

Cutter: first use

The package includes the equipment, a set of nozzles, and a detailed manual containing data on the use of the router. Before you get to work, you need to perform a test run:

  1. Fix the cutter and turn on the maximum number of revolutions – the machine should work for at least 10-12 minutes.
  2. Stop the machine, put it into reverse. Repeat the procedure (start at maximum speed).
  3. Switch off the device, inserting either a clean cutter or a plug so as not to stretch the clamping springs of the 3-blade collet.

After a “test drive”, you can start processing your nails. The main thing is to follow the given technology, which will allow you to easily do the procedures at home by yourself or provide services to clients.

How to use the manicure machine?

It is important to install the machine in a convenient place so that the wire is not stretched. The device should not stand in a closed box, otherwise, it will quickly overheat and fail. It is necessary to install a new bag in the niche for dust collection and pour liquid into the container (for the model with a spray).

After completing the above steps, you can get to work, using the available functions:

  • On/Off. The switch is located on the back or side.
  • Setting the cutter. You can start the device only after the nozzle is securely attached.
  • “Reverse.” The function is designed to rotate the nozzle in the reverse direction (you can change the direction only when the device comes to a complete stop).
  • Pedal. Used to turn on/off the equipment, change the revolutions and modes.
  • Auto-cruise. Operation in automatic mode, which starts after pressing the pedal and gaining enough revolutions – pressing the pedal again will stop the rotation of the device.
  • Speed Setting. It is necessary to set the optimal speed and only after that start the cutters.

How to do manicure cutter? It is important to act according to the instructions and correctly hold the handle during the procedure – it should occupy the space between your index finger and thumb.

Tips for beginners

After carefully studying the instructions, you can get to work. Manicure is performed in a certain sequence:

  • For the treatment of the cuticle, diamond cutters of medium hardness are used. For dense, thick skin, harder tools are required.
  • Treatment of the nail plate is performed with a trapezoidal or cylindrical nozzle.
  • Polishing should be as fast and accurate as possible – even a slight delay can cause scratches on the nails.

Having completed the manicure or pedicure, it is necessary to remove the smallest particles – and you can proceed to further procedures. The nozzles are selected intuitively depending on the characteristics of the skin and the task to be performed: removal of gel varnish, correction of gel nails, treatment of cuticles.

Maintenance of the cutter

A quality device does not require special maintenance – it is enough to regularly clean the main unit, handle and wires with a napkin or cotton cloth. The main thing is not to use liquids containing alcohol for this purpose – it is bad for the plastic parts of the equipment. Even a beginner after a little training will be able to figure out how to work the manicure cutter.


To properly care for the nozzles, it is important to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations:

  • Regularly wash the drills under running water. A plastic brush comes in handy for this purpose (sometimes you have to clean the teeth with a toothpick or needle).
  • Cutters should be sterilized after each use. It is important to carefully calculate the strength of the solution and the duration of the procedure, otherwise the tool will spoil.
  • After completing the sterilization treatment, manicure and pedicure heads must be thoroughly rinsed and dried.
  • Until the moment of use, all parts for the cutter are stored in a special container with a lid.
  • Getting to the treatment of the nail plate, the master is sure to disinfect the drills – this is the basis of safe work. Disposable elements can not be reused. Every six months, the device must be cleaned and the parts that have failed must be replaced. Otherwise, the wear and tear of the mechanism will affect the power of the device, and soon it will fail altogether.

Hardware manicure and pedicure: important nuances

The quality of the procedure is influenced not only by the experience of the master but also by the characteristics of the equipment used. Buying an inexpensive device even for home use is always a risk because you can seriously damage the nail plate.

Jessica Clavits

Jessica Clavits

Hi! I'm Jessica! I keep this blog about personal care.

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