When it comes to getting the most out of a manicure, trusting your nail salon is important. Getting your nails done isn’t cheap, and for most of us, going DIY is simply not an option. So, when you go in for a new set of nails, you need to know your salon is doing it right.
First of all, proper and professional manicure techniques protect your health and make your nails last longer. But it’s also important to have the peace of mind knowing you will be happy with your nails when you walk out of the salon. There’s nothing worse than paying for a service that doesn’t satisfy your expectations. But, how do you know if a salon is trustworthy? Here are the top things to pay attention to when checking out a local salon:
Services and Pricing
The first thing to check out when you walk into a salon is the services. Does the salon offer the services you need? This may seem obvious, but some salons will offer a different array of spa and beauty services, such as:
- Hot stone manicure
- Paraffin or hot oil treatment
- Face and body waxing
- Rhinestone treatment
- Specialized nail art
Any good salon should be able to offer all of the standard manicure types (acrylic, gel, dip powder, etc.) as well as some type of spa treatment. Typically, a well-developed salon will have the ability to offer more varied services. However, it can be a red flag if a salon is offering a wide array of services without the resources or expertise to make them top-notch. It’s much better to go to a salon that can do one thing really well than a salon that is spreading itself thin trying to offer too many services. Here are some good ways to tell if a salon is trying too hard to do everything:
- The list of services doesn’t seem to match the size of the salon: A large, more established business will be able to have specialized departments for different kinds of services. A small salon with not many employees or departments would be expected to just specialize in a few things, and not try to be the jack-of-all-trades.
- The same employees are doing many different things: If the nail techs are also the ones doing non-nail related beauty treatments like body waxing, this can be a sign that they are not even properly trained, let alone experts in their craft.
Additionally, is the salon clear and upfront with pricing? Some salons charge per item, while others have package prices for service bundles. Is it always clear to you what you will be paying for? If a salon doesn’t explain their prices to you or charges you more for services afterwards without informing you of additional charges upfront, that’s a big red flag. A salon shouldn’t have to trick or mislead customers to be a successful business.
Of course, you want to feel welcome and comfortable at your salon. Going to a salon is more than just buying a product – it’s paying for an experience. Does someone greet you when you walk in? Are they friendly? Do they seem like they value you as a customer?
Notice if there are enough employees available to give you timely and thorough attention. Is there someone ready to help you within a few minutes, or do you always have to wait a long time? If a salon is understaffed, then the employees will be overburdened and likely rush through their work.
In a setting where many different people are touching the same items every day, cleanliness is key. Less than top-notch cleaning practices in a salon can be a risk to your health. This applies to everything from the air you breathe and the chair you sit in to the nail products themselves.
Do you see nail techs sanitizing all products, tools, and workstations? Do they wash their hands or put on gloves before they start the manicure? Do they ask you to wash your hands? Is there ventilation or air circulation in the building? There are a variety of chemicals involved in manicures and pedicures, so it’s important that a salon has some air circulation system. If the salon smells strongly of chemicals, you’re probably breathing unsafe amounts of those chemicals.
This also applies to the actual manicure techniques, especially when it comes to long-lasting mani styles like gel and dip powder. For example, if you’re getting a dip powder manicure, the nail tech shouldn’t dip your nails into a reused container of dip powder. Having many customers dip into the same powder, while originally a common practice, actually spreads bacteria and can cause an infection. The salon should use safe techniques and pour the powder over the nail, discarding any leftover product.
Attention to Detail and Expertise
Do the nail techs actually take their time to make you feel pampered, give you their full attention, and make sure you walk out with a manicure you’re happy with? Your nail tech should go above and beyond, and they should be experienced and knowledgeable enough to offer advice, walk you through the aftercare process, tell you about the products they use, and answer any of your questions.
Product quality can make or break your mani, so it’s important to know what products your salon is using. Your nail tech should be happy to tell you about the products they use, the active ingredients, and explain why they use those products. Cheap salons will take shortcuts like adding water to liquid products to make them last longer, but this obviously has detrimental effects on the longevity and sturdiness of your manicure. Look for clues that the salon isn’t taking shortcuts, such as a nail tech opening a new container of polish, or red flags like unlabeled product containers. The products used should always be labeled. Trusted big name brands like SNS are best, but if you don’t know the brand, make sure the products don’t contain a bunch of unnecessary, unnatural ingredients.