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Choosing The Right Nail Technician

Updated on June 21, 2017

Dream v nightmare

You've scoured your way through pinterest and found THE nails. Lovely long, perfectly shaped, nails. You just need them!

You'd expect that any salon you step into will be able to give you exactly what you've asked for but unfortunately this isn't that case. Stepping into the wrong one can permanently damage your nails and cause extreme pain. Hop over to my hub 'Gel nails should not hurt at all' and read the comments (and hub obviously) to realise this is happening a lot.

I'm gonna help to give you some information that will hopefully help you find THE salon that you will return to over and over again.

Have you ever had a terrible nail service?

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I know it's ideal to just step into a salon or ring the nearest technician but you need to put some thought into your choice.

I've personally completed courses to improve my knowledge which have been 1 or 2 days long. Their have been people on these courses that have not touched a nail before and leave with certificates allowing them to gain insurance and start charging for nails. Some couldn't correctly apply the acrylic and were still being qualified. Its a terrifying thought but these courses exist and are being used on mass!

How can I find a good tech?

1. Research!

Find out your local options and look through their websites or social media sites. Most salons or technicians will display pictures of their completed nails. Try and see what products they use and what qualifications they have. If you can't see anything listed call them! A good technician will be happy to tell you and not pressure you into an appointment. Make sure their qualifications aren't just 2/3 day courses - this is very important! Skills take time to develop.

2. Products

Find out what products they use. There are many well known brands and most only allow technicians to use their products if they are trained by them. If this is the case and the technician is using products without brand certification - do not use them. Make sure the brand used is a product that DOES NOT contain MMA (Methyl methacrylate). MMA is produce floors, resins and Plexiglas among other things. It is not designed to come in contact with skin and nails.

originated in the dental industry for making crowns and bridges. It is also used as bone cement by orthopedic surgeons during joint replacement procedures, in some flooring products, resins, and Plexiglas. This chemical was not designed to come in contact with skin or nails. This stuff is hard as rock and will tear your nail off if caught - that's if you don't have an allergic reaction.

3. Hygiene and smell

Go to the salon and have a look around. Does it look clean? A good nail service needs high levels of hygiene to prevent infection. Is the smell over powering and affecting you? If so, leave. Odors are to be expected with products like acrylic but it shouldn't make you feel poorly or affect your breathing. If it does its highly likely they are using MMA.

4. Insurance/license

Check our the salon or technicians insurance. Any reputable technician will show you this without question. If anything goes wrong this insurance will cover you and your technician. Some countries may also require a license to work so check this out too.

CND Solaroil, 0.5 fl. oz.
CND Solaroil, 0.5 fl. oz.

Oil your enhancements and natural nails to keep them in tip top condition.


OK, I'm in... what now?

Hygiene, hygiene, hygiene!! Both yours and the technician's hands should be sterilized before the service begins. You may be asked to wash your hands or a hand sanitiser rubbed in. If this doesn't happen alarm bells should ring. Likewise, all tools should be in sanitising fluid to keep them clean between clients to stop the spread of infection. All of this will stop germs being stuck under your new nails.

Nail tips should be as wide as your natural nail - never narrower. If its narrow it will nip and pinch your nail causing pain. Any pain or discomfort when nail tips are applied needs to be highlighted to your technician.

If your nail tips are being blended this should be done carefully and only on the nail tip. The technician will take frequent breaks to stop heat building on your nail. If it hurts - tell them. If you notice they are filing over your natural nail stop the service. This will cause damage to your nail bed and any enhancement will cause more damage.

The product applied should not hurt! Read 'Gel nails should not hurt at all' for more information on gels.

Nail enhancements will never be as thin as natural nails but they also shouldn't be an inch thick. They should be thinner at the tip and cuticle and arch in the middle for strength. If they are thick as a door stop ask your technician to file off more product. If the product is applied thickly this shows lack of experience and training. Do this before applying top coats/gel colour etc.

Finally all reputable technician's will give you thorough after care advice. This may include not soaking nails in water, stay away from acetone varnish, don't pick or pull your nails etc. You will also be advised to use cuticle oil. This is key if you want long strong nails! You moisturize your face and condition your nail - treat your nails to the same.


At any point if you are not happy SPEAK UP! Never assume the pain or discomfort will subside. Chances are it will get worse.

A good technician wants you to leave the salon and tell everyone how amazing the service was. Word of mouth promotion is invaluable. If you aren't happy they will do anything they can to meet your needs.


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