Five essential tips for nail technicians
1. Never Forget The Theory
A good nail technician knows so much more than how to do a neat, long lasting manicure. Always remember that we are experts in our field; we have studied and practiced for many months or even years to perfect our craft. Nail technology courses usually cover the following: contra-indications, contra-actions, health and safety, consultation, anatomy/structure of the nail and hand, troubleshooting and documentation. This information is invaluable and should be remembered in every day practice regardless of how long ago you qualified. Acknowledging contra-indications to treatments will protect your clients from potential complications and will also show that you work safely and professionally. Not all clients are suitable candidates for the nail services we provide and it’s important that you are aware of this and are able to tell the client in a sensitive and professional manner. Furthermore, understanding and appreciating the anatomy of the nail is fundamental in providing an excellent service. Some of this nail theory can be passed onto your client to help them get the best out of their treatment e.g. the importance of nail cuticles and how to look after them properly. This leads us to the next point.
2. Never Remove Cuticles
It has long been a bad habit of many nail technicians to cut away the cuticle. Whilst dry, ragged and overgrown cuticles are unsightly we have to remember that the nail cuticle is an essential and protective structure of the nail. ‘Cuticle work’ has always been seen as an important part of a full manicure by both the nail tech and the client, but we must question whether it is indeed necessary for all clients. You will find that for most people, a little cuticle oil is all that is needed for ‘cuticle work’. If they are overgrown, use a quality cuticle softener and gently push them back. Only trim excessive dead skin on the nail and never cut it away entirely. If you’re not confident doing this, then avoid trimming the cuticle altogether as you may do more harm than good. Cutting away too much can cause bleeding, pain and possibly infection or permanent nail damage.
Prevention is better than cure – encourage your client to have a good daily regime including a hand cream, oil and protecting the hands during housework and also in the winter. This will improve the appearance of cuticles in the long term. If you cut away the cuticle, it will certainly grow back with a vengeance!
3. Never Underestimate Preparation
The fun part of a nail service is enhancing the nails with new products and techniques or getting creative with nail art. The not-so-fun part is the filing and preparation, yet this is a really important step in what we do. Sometimes preparation can take a little longer than we would like it to, but often cutting corners can compromise the end result. Make sure that both you and your client are happy with the nail shape and length before moving onto the fun stuff. Keep the nail clean and free from dust and oils to ensure your product adheres properly. It will take you much longer to soak off a gel nail that is lumpy due to
dust particles than the few minutes it would take you to clean the nail plate properly. Having good preparation techniques prolongs the life of nail treatments and will keep clients coming back to you.
4. Never Compromise on Product
There are many different brands and products on the market and often finding the right product for you and your client can be a time consuming process. There are leading brands in the nail industry, but it is hard to say which brand is best. You will probably find that you like a particular company for gels and a different company for polishes. There is nothing wrong with using a variety of beauty products but it is important to stick to using the same brands within a system. For example, the acrylic liquid and powder that you use should be from the same brand. Not only will this achieve optimum results, the products are manufactured to work together on a chemical level and so mixing systems is not advised.
Generally, cheap products tend to be of a lower quality and this should be kept in mind. Although searching for couch roll and cotton wool based on price can be savvy, certain products should be chosen on the basis of quality and performance over price.
5. Never Stop Learning
We are working in a growing industry that is heavily influenced by ever-changing fashion. Update yourself on trends and new products or treatments by following blogs, reading trade magazines and navigating social media. The nail industry is improving and expanding year after year and is recognised as a profession more than ever. This has opened up opportunities to work in salon environments on land and sea, luxury spas and hotels, media, fashion and education. Career progression is not necessarily about changing your job environment, it is about improving and developing your existing skills and being open to gaining new ones. It may interest you to complete short courses and many beauty courses available are now accredited and provide you with CPD (Continuing Professional Development) points. It is important to keep your knowledge up to date. If all nail technicians make a conscious effort to be responsible for their own learning and participate in CPD then our industry as a whole will not only be more exciting and diverse, but it will be safer. Although we are yet to see a strict governing body, it is possible that in the near future insurance providers will require evidence of CPD in order to issue insurance.
The changing nature of our industry keeps it fun and interesting; staying in the loop will certainly impress your clients and create new business opportunities.