Nail Structure

Having a good understanding of how the nail is structured will make it easier for you to follow our nail tutorials.

Nail Structure

Nail Diagram

The Free Edge

The end of the nail plate that is shaped during Manicure & Pedicure

The Nail Plate

This is the visible part of the nail that sits on top of the nail bed. It is made by Keratinisation; the transformation of living cells to hard, dead cells, and it consists of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, sulfur and nitrogen.

The Lunula

The half moon shaped point where the matrix and nail bed meet.

The Cuticle

The overlapping skin surrounding the nail. Its job is to protect the matrix from being invaded by bacteria and physical damage.

The Mantle

The skin covering the matrix and the base of the nail plate.

The Hyponichium

This skin line where the nail plate separates from the nail bed.

The Nail Grooves

These are the grooves on the skin at the sides of the free edge, and the nail follows them as a guideline when it grows.

The Nail Walls

The skin on both sides of the nail plate.

The Nail Bed

This is the part of the finger underneath the nail plate.

The Matrix

This is where the nail is made. It is the only living part of the nail, and contains nerves and blood vessels so that cell reproduction can occur.