Things your nail tech won’t tell you?

The other day I ran across a post on, similar to posts we’ve seen before, discussing things your nail tech secretly wants you to know.  This one is entitled “16 Things Your Manicurist Is Secretly Thinking About You” Let’s review some of those, in preparation for the time when salons re-open and we can get our nails done again!

But first, the #1 thing I’d like to remind you of – just before you sit down for your manicure: wash your hands!

Good hygiene - a great habit
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I have had many clients that want to come in just before their appointment and immediately sit down for a manicure. Please, arrive a couple minutes early to allow time for this very important step!

Wash all parts of your hand, your wrist, and the lower part of your arm with antibacterial soap and hot water.  Use a nail brush or nails on the opposite hand to get soap under your nails if they’re long. It should take you 20 – 30 seconds of well-spent time to ensure that you’ve thoroughly lathered all these areas.

Some salons don’t have a sink near the manicure stations. But that’s OK! There is a restroom in the salon, so go there and wash your hands prior to sitting down at the nail table.

Now, on to the helpful nail salon tips… and some not-so-helpful ones:

  1. nail-anatomy1

    You can exfoliate your own cuticles—in the shower – OK, this is a weird way of saying (I think) that you should push back your eponychium in the shower.

    Honestly, I wouldn’t even bother with this, especially if you are wearing enhancements.

  2. Wash your hands. Twice. – Yep. See above!

  3. Unclench, please – This one makes your nail tech’s job so much easier. Please, relax your hand. Let it go limp. We do not need you holding your fingers stiff or straight for us!

  4. Skip the soak – Years ago, the standard first step prior to any manicure service was to soak the nails in warm, soapy water.  Over the last couple decades, however, we’ve figured out that this actually decreases the life of your manicure, and most nail techs have switched to the dry manicure. The water actually softens the nail, causing it to expand and widen. Then, we put polish or an enhancement on the nail as it is drying and returning to it’s prior shape. This can lead to service breakdown because the bond between your natural nail and the product is compromised. It’s best to simply wash and dry your hands prior to the service.

  5. Don’t clip your own nails – I disagree. They’re your nails. Clip them if you want.

  6. Drugstore ointment is just as good as the fancy stuff – Yes and no.  If you don’t have specific skin needs, any drugstore lotion or cream is better than none. On the other hand, there are some nice products out there that your nail tech can suggest for your particular situation of preference.

  7. Don’t go to the new manicurist – Again, I disagree. New nail techs can be amazing and passionate! Find a nail tech you love and stay loyal.

  8. Don’t expect Insta-perfect nails in an instant – True. Nail artistry takes a long time.  Please, plan your appointments when you can give your nail tech time to do her best work… and treat yo’self at the same time!
  9. Trendy patterns and colors can make hands look older – This may be something to keep in mind… but does it matter? You’re paying for a manicure, so get whatever color or pattern you want!

  10. Pick polish shades you look good wearing – same as #9 above!

  11. We’re not your therapist – OK, I know some nail techs pride themselves on creating relationships with their clients, but I believe we need to draw the line somewhere. Friendly conversation is excellent, but let’s keep religion, politics, drugs, foul language, and sex out of it. Nail techs should remember to be professional when it comes to this!

  12. Come with an idea – Yes, please! If you don’t have an idea of the color or nail art design you want, please come early and pick something. We nail techs DO NOT have time during your actual appointment for this process.

  13. Fillers aren’t just for faces anymore – This is not within the bounds of a nail tech’s jurisdiction. Talk to your doctor or dermatologist about any issues or improvements you would like to see in your hands, feet, or skin.

  14. Clean under your nails too – Please do this! At least clean what you can see when you are in the shower or washing your hands at home. I recommend keeping a nail brush in the shower or at the sink so you can occasionally scrub under your nails with soap.  According to the CDC, “longer fingernails can harbor more dirt and bacteria“. So please clean under there regularly!

  15. Be open to other ideas – Your nail tech might advise you on nail length, color, or design choices, especially if you ask for advice. Please listen to her suggestions, realizing that she has lots of experience with people and their nail needs.

  16. In between manicures always use a nail file, never clippers – I see what the author of the article is getting at here, and I would say for sure you can use a nail file. But also, see #5 above…

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