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How to Avoid a Bad Manicure: 10 Warning Signs to Watch Out For

Americans spent about $9 billion on nail salon services in 2018. Nothing is more frustrating than spending your money on a manicure, only to have it come out looking less than stellar.


There are some obvious and easy signs to look out for to help you avoid ending up with a bad manicure. If you aren't happy with your current manicure, use our checklist to evaluate your current salon.


If you're thinking about trying out a new salon, this checklist will help you too. Either way, use these ten tips to ensure you leave with great looking nails.


1. Cleanliness

You've heard this one before, and we are going to repeat it here because it is THAT important. Never get your manicure done at a salon that is not clean.


Take a look around the entire salon, then look at the individual workstations. If the salon looks cluttered and unorganized, that is a problem.


If the trash can doesn't have a lid, this is a problem. Just like at your doctor's office, the bacteria and mold and trash from other's manicures should get contained in a trash can with a lid.


Do you see the stations getting cleaned between each client? Good, again just like the doctor's office, a quality salon will clean everything before they start providing nail services to the next client.


2. Ignoring the Directions

Manufacturers put directions on their products for a reason. If your manicure tech regularly says, "I've found a better way," you should be concerned.


What the tech is actually telling you is they've found a Band-Aid to compensate for something they are doing wrong. This is going to have negative repercussions for your nails.


First, your manicure won't look as good or last as long as it should. Second, it could cause your nail damage. Third, if something happens and you take the tech to court, the manufacturers won't stand by the product because the tech used them incorrectly.


3. They Cure Wrong

If your manicurist cures your nails wrong, you risk an allergic reaction or damaged nail plates and beds. Under-cured product leaves the chemical products on your skin too long.


Over-curing seals the manicure to your nail really well, which initially sounds like a good thing. Except that it makes the manicure very difficult to remove on your next visit.


To avoid all of the problems, ensure that your salon doesn't commit the most common mistakes when curing. They need to use the right kind of bulb. Then they need to cure your nails the right amount of time.


4. They Get Forceful on You

No one likes to get pressured, and that includes your nails. If your gel nail polish isn't coming off easily, they shouldn't try to scrape it off.


This is only going to damage your nails. Think about it this way, your nails just soaked for 10 minutes.


If those last bits aren't coming off, they must be pretty stubbornly stuck. So forcefully scraping them off will only cause damage to your nail.


The proper thing to do is to have your nails soak again. This will break up the last bit so that they can get easily wiped off.


5. They Ignore Your Feedback

You notice that your nails are swollen, red, or suddenly peeling. This is a sign that something is wrong with your nails.


A quality professional tech will play detective to determine what is causing the symptoms. Then they will make the appropriate changes to address the problem.


The sign of a bad tech is one that wants to continue with regular service without resolving the problem. This will only cause you further problems.


6. The Wrong Files

Have you ever looked at sandpaper and noticed that some are a lot rougher than others? This is the same concept with nail files, they are not created equally.


If you have natural nails the nail file should be a finer grit. The coarse grit nail files are only appropriate if you have artificial nails.


You can tell by the sound if the manicurist is using the wrong grit. If the pitch is higher and pleasant to hear then it is probably a finer grit. If the pitch is lower and unpleasant then it is probably a coarser grit.


7. They Thin out the Polish

Even the best manicurists will sometimes mix a bit of acetone in a polish to thin out an old or too thick polish. However, this should be a quick fix in a pinch and not a standard daily practice.


This trick can happen at even the best salons, so check before you get painted. You could even bring your own to be completely sure that it's not tainted.


Mixing anything into the polish will change the chemistry of the polish. This will compromise the quality and finish. If you see bubbles in your polish, you've gotten a manicure tainted with acetone.


8. They Blame the Product on You

Under no circumstances should you get blamed for their poor work performance. If they follow the manufacturer directions and do a quality manicure, you should leave with great looking nails.


If your tech is blaming you by saying you have "dry nails" what they are really saying is that they damaged your nails. This usually happens when they do the fill or removal wrong.


9. They Try to Play Doctor

Your manicurist should not be trying to diagnose your nails. It is also against federal law for them to do it.


No cosmetic products are going to help prevent or treat an infection. If your manicurist suggests a moisturizer for dry skin, that's ok. If they are suggesting vinegar or tea tree oil to treat a rash, that's not.


10. Aggressive Callus Removal

This last tip is a bonus that pertains to your feet. We know you ladies like to get your fingers and toes done at the same time.


While everyone wants soft beautiful feet, there is such a thing as too much of a good thing. First, the entire callus shouldn't be removed, this would leave your skin too sensitive and vulnerable.


Second, callus removal is meant to only be put on your callus, not the rest of your skin. If your tech is putting your foot in plastic to make the product "work better" you risk the product getting on sensitive skin.


This will leave your skin raw and vulnerable which will cause you discomfort. You are paying for a service, so it should be done well and leave you happy.


Avoid the Bad Manicure

The easiest way to have a great looking manicure is to look for these signs in your salon. When you ignore the warning signs, you end up with a bad manicure.


Most importantly, the salon needs to be clean and sanitary. This is for your safety and health. Once you decide that the salon is clean, check to make sure that the manicurists use the right products in the right way.


Schedule your next manicure with a reputable salon today.

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