Think your mani game is strong? We go back to basics with one of your most important services.
For most nail pros, the manicure is an essential service and one of the most important, whether you work in a salon, on celebrity clients or backstage for photo shoots and fashion week. We spoke with Elsa Barbi, OPI brand ambassador, and Alisha Botero, executive vice-president and creative director for Artistic Nail Design, on how to make this signature service better than ever.
Bring back the consultation
With regular clients, it’s easy to skip the consultation step, especially if they’re devout in their services or colour choices. But for Barbi, this is one of the most basic manicure steps and too often missed. “We always forget to ask our clients what they want and take for granted that their likes and dislikes change,” she explains, adding that part of a nail professional’s responsibility is “to open the conversation with their clients: asking them if they like the way their nails look or if there’s something they want to try or change.”
Don’t cut corners
When time is at a minimum, it’s easy to cut corners on even the most basic polish change. Botero explains that often, depending on scheduling, it’s difficult to avoid. “No one wants to cut corners, but sometimes you have to because of the booking schedule,” she explains, meaning that the salon owner needs to allow time for cleaning the service station, sterilizing the implements and setting up for the next client when timing appointments. Barbi explains that sanitation is one of the first things to go when time is short, especially when working backstage at a photo shoot or fashion week. “While you know you’ve washed your hands and sanitized your tools, it’s important to protect yourself and the person you’re working on,” reiterating that, especially when working outside of the salon, hand sanitizer is key.
Create an experience
While most nail pros learn basic massage skills in school, both Barbi and Botero agree that the hand and arm massage is an important facet of the service and that, in this case, basic isn’t always better. Barbi explains: “They can go to any nail salon for a manicure service, but a treatment massage [going beyond the elbow] is the difference between a service and an experience.” For Botero, it’s simple: “The massage always brings your clients back,” explaining that creating this relaxing environment is what breeds loyal, repeat clients.
Monitor quality control
One of the easiest ways to ensure that nail professionals are maintaining quality control when working outside of the salon is to keep it up within the salon. Both Barbi and Botero agree that the best way for salon owners to ensure that their staff members are upholding an even level of quality across the board is to watch them or have them do services on other staff members periodically. For technical aspects of a manicure service, often application or removal varies depending on the brand, so Barbi suggests bringing in brand educators so that the staff know protocols for each line the salon carrie. “Some nail pros think that the more they rough up the nail, the better the polish will stay on the client’s nails. But a client thinks that a products is ruining her nails when it’s actually the application or removal process.”
Brush up on your skills
Barbi believes that nail pros should be taking classes “once or twice a year to go back to basics and learn what’s trending now.” Botero agrees that education should be as frequently as possible, whether it’s bringing an educator into the salon to discuss new products or protocols, or seeking education outside of the workplace. Botero further explains that “You should review your menu each year and increase your pricing. But also review each service and ask yourself if you would pay the same.” The increase in value for your services often comes from nail professionals and artists staying on top of their skills and going above and beyond for their clients.