Job Description (What the job involves)
A nail technician specialises in looking after client's fingernails and toenails. They are able to give advice on nail care and product selection. And they help improve the appearance of our hands and feet by offering nail treatments; manicures, pedicures, nail extensions and nail art applications. Typically a nail technician fulfils the following;
- Manicure. A manicure can be solely for the fingernails or a combined treatment for both hands and fingernails. A full manicure often involves cleansing, forearm and hands massage, filing, polishing and shaping of nails, cuticle care and the application of polish.
- Pedicure. A pedicure improves the condition and appearance of your feet and toenails. As well as tending to the toenails, the nail technician would be expected to massage the lower legs and feet to relax the client and remove rough skin from the feet.
- Nail Extension/Overlays. Nail technicians often apply false nail extensions either over the whole natural nail or to the tip. Most common are gel nails or acrylics
- Nail Art. Nail art is becoming an increasingly popular requirement. Nails can be polished in two colours; based on the French manicure a client can request that the traditional white and light pink be replaced with two colours of their choice. There are also a large range of stickers (flowers, stars) that can be combined with a bright or translucent polish and nail jewelry "rhinestones". It's not called nail art for nothing though, more artistic nail techs specialise in freehand, airbrush or fantasy nail art.
- Nail Care Advice. Nail technicians should have the ability to recognise nail conditions (ie fungal nail infection) that should be referred for treatment and give advice for ongoing nail care and maintenance.
Hours and Working Environment
Nail technicians can work in nail salons, within department stores, hair salons, day spas, beauty salons and on cruise liners. Increasingly, there are opportunities for nail technicians to work on fashion shows and fashion magazine shoots.
Skills and Personal Qualities
- Steady hand. Good nail technicians need to have a steady hand especially when applying polish, nail art designs & applications and extensions.
- Good Concentration Skills. Clients will want to chat about their problems, the weather etc and nail technicians must be able to listen, converse and maintain their concentration on the task in hand.
- Creativity. A high degree of creativity is especially important when painting designs on clients nails. It's also important to have good colour sense.
- Patience. Nail technicians have to deal with a minimum of ten nails in any one sitting, that means performing the same procedures a minimum of ten times and of course we all know the importance of waiting for polish to dry in between applications.
- Customer Service. Nail technicians work on a one to one basis with clients therefore excellent customer service skills are crucial, they should be polite, sociable, friendly, caring and a good listener.
- Quick and Efficient. Especially in a busy nail salon it's essential that the nail technician works quickly whilst still managing to deliver an excellent service.
- Professional & Immaculately Presented. As with any customer facing positions it's essential the customer is treated well and that you are well groomed and presentable. In this case especially your nails!
An increasing number of reputable nail companies and salons are requesting a minimum of NVQ level 2 or equivalent as their criteria for application. The following are worth looking at;
- VTCT (Vocational Training Charitable Trust) offers level 2 certificate in nail treatments, incl nail art and nail technology
- City & Guilds offers NVQ/SVQ levels 2 & 3 in nail services
To further your success you could obtain qualifications in acrylics, gels and fibre glass techniques.
Opportunities and Progression
Opportunities for nail technicians are growing rapidly. Nail treatments should no longer be viewed as a secondary service but in a growing number of cases are now offered as the primary service in nail bars up and down British high streets.
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Potential Salary and Benefits
New nail techs earn approx £9,500 per annum. Experienced nail techs earn up to £17K or more