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Something to Talk About: Missing Toenails

With the latest advances in technology, it’s possible to offer clients cosmetic solutions that were unavailable in the past — including toenail restoration. Now it’s your job to let them know the service is available.

Nail product manufacturers are constantly providing techs with new technology and tools to help them expand their professional repertoire. One big advancement comes from products that allow techs to create beautiful, functional, natural-looking nails on top of damaged nails — or really, even where there is no nail at all.

The benefits to the client are obvious, but the advantages to the tech are also significant. Mastering the skills to beautify nails through reconstruction is worth the investment. “It doesn’t happen overnight; it takes training,” says Athena Elliott, nail tech, salon owner, and industry educator, “I’ve been able to train techs how to charge $110 for one great toe nail — and it adds only 15 minutes to their appointment time.”

Once you’ve been trained properly and have the right tools for the job, set yourself up as the go-to guru in your area. Market the service extensively, and take the opportunity to educate clients when they are in for appointments. That conversation could go something like this:

Client: I want my sister to come in for a pedicure, but she’s too embarrassed. She’s a runner and a couple of her toenails are damaged — they might even be gone. Have you ever seen anything like that?

You: Oh, sure. I’ve seen plenty of clients who have damaged toenails. Sometimes the nail has been removed surgically; sometimes, like your sister, nails are lost as a result of trauma. Often I can build a nail where there is very little — or even no — natural nail left. It’s one of my favorite services to offer because clients are so grateful when their feet look beautiful again.

Client: How do you do that? Do you just use the product you’re using on me? Won’t it fall off or get infected if the nail underneath isn’t healthy?

You: No. It’s not the same product I’d use on you. I have products specifically formulated to adhere to the skin differently and that are more flexible than traditional products. It’s quite different from what I’m using on you. A lot goes into cosmetic restoration, actually, including educating the client about home care. It’s not something every nail tech can do, but after seeing how emotional and self-conscious some of my clients were when they lost a toenail, I knew it was something I wanted to offer. I’ve taken advanced training classes so I could offer my clients this specialized service.

Client: So, should I tell my sister to call and book a pedicure?

You: Have your sister call for a consultation. Not everyone is a candidate for restoration, though someone who has lost a toenail to trauma or surgery usually responds well. I’ll need to look to make sure there is no infection, redness, swelling, or sores on the surface of her toe. I’ll want to talk with her about the cost and maintenance to see if it’s something she would want to maintain or if she is looking for a temporary fix. Just make sure she knows it’s possible to have beautiful toenails again.



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