Unas Finas is one of the few nails-only salon chains in Mexico. The chain offers a range of services, including natural nails and artificial enhancements.
Ah, Mexico. The name alone conjures up images of beautiful beaches and balmy, tropical jungles. In fact, the entire country is a traveler’s paradise, offering desert landscapes, snow-capped volcanoes, ancient ruins, big cities, colonial towns, and glitzy resorts.
The country’s capital, Mexico City, has a population of 20 million people and is the largest city in the world. Besides being the capital of the country, it’s also the seat of government and the center of commerce, finance, and the arts.
Mexico is also home to a burgeoning professional beauty industry. Head to most major cities and you’ll find an assortment of salons offering hair, skin, and nail services. Nail technicians in Mexico do not need licenses to work in a salon. However, many schools offer training and certification programs and manufacturers also offer certification programs for their product lines.
“Some salons do require nail techs to obtain certificates showing they went to school,” says Landi Sabido Cool, a representative with D’marin International, a distributor based in the northern border town of Tijuana.
Some salons, such as Uñas Finas (Fine Nails), even train their own employees and hire them without any prior experience or schooling.
“Women from all types of economic and social backgrounds like getting their nails done,” says Sabido Cool. “And it seems like women care more about the quality of the nails than the price.”
“We have clients from all walks of life,” adds Ricardo Salgado, owner of the 40-chain Uñas Finas, based in Mexico City. “Middle-class clients are the ones who seem to come in more regularly though. Lower-income clients won’t get their nails done all the time, only on special occasions.”
Most clients tend to be women, although Sabido Cool says that some professional men can also be found getting manicures and pedicures.
You also won’t find many men doing nails, although Salgado and his brothers were all nail techs before they opened their salon chain.
One thing all clients do seem to have in common is the type of nails they prefer. Salgado says acrylic nails with a gel overlay are all the rage at his salons.
Sabido Cool says other types of artificial enhancements, including pink-and-whites and gels, are also popular. And more and more clients are discovering the benefits of spa-style manicures and pedicures, although artificial enhancements are still the norm.
Most salons in Mexico tend to be full service, but there has been a surge in nails-only salons in the last few years. “When we opened our first salon nine years ago nail services weren’t that popular. Not everyone knew about them or were interested in them,” says Salgado.
Lourdes Desfassiaux, owner of seven Beauty Nails locations in several cities including Puebla, recently opened her first nail spa, a concept that is rarely seen in Mexico. “We have wooden manicure tables and the spa has a more elegant look,” she says.
Although there may be plenty of salons throughout the country, everyone we spoke with seems to agree there is still room for growth. “We’re still a fairly young industry in Mexico,” says Salgado. “We still can do much more.”