When kids are younger it seems like they can’t grow up soon enough. They spend days dreaming about what adulthood will be like (I dreamt that I would be a nun who smoked cigarettes), and they mimic the adults they see in their lives — parents, teachers… Jessica Simpson.
As nail care grows in popularity among these adults, it’s also becoming one of the cool kids on the playground. As a tech or owner you can’t keep putting the age topic in time out. Decide now when kids can come out to play in your salon.
Science Is My Favorite Subject
Nails of the young aren’t just miniature adult nails. There are a few key differences: growth rate and the amount of oil in the nail plate.
You probably know that each fingernail grows at a different rate (and those rates differ from our toenails), but nail growth rates also vary by age. According to Nail
Structure and Product Chemistry: Second Edition by Doug Schoon, nail growth rate peaks between the ages of 10 and 14 and begins a slow decline after age 20. Speeding up nail growth even more is nail biting — which is often a nasty habit of kids and teens.
The human body’s oil production in nail plates also varies with age. “When you’re younger, nails are much more filled with oil,” says Jan Arnold, co-founder of Creative Nail Design. You should remember both of these differences as you decide if, and what, you’ll serve younger clients.
But Everyone Else is Getting Enhancements!
With famous actresses and song-stresses playing dress up every weekend, nail enhancements are everywhere in celebrity coverage. It’s no wonder kids and teens want them too. Should you give them what they want?
Playing by the Rules
The fine print in the nail world doesn’t really give much guidance. Three of the manufacturers we talked to had no printed recommendations regarding a minimum age for nail enhancements. “We leave it to the professional to decide,” says Elaine Watson, Star Nail global education director.
Creative Nail Design’s policy is similar. “We don’t have any age minimum,” says Arnold. Suzi Weiss-Fischmann, OPI Products’ executive vice president, also said her company has no printed recommendations. “I would recommend that it’s up to the parents,” she says.
Insurance companies are also open in their acceptance of enhancements on younger clients. Allen Financial Group, Bell-Anderson Insurance, and Palomar Insurance Corp., all offer coverage for beauty industry professionals, and representatives from each company all say they generally have no exclusions regarding age. One, however, did say that an exclusion like that would be up to the policy’s underwriter; so although age exclusions are not common practice, you should still check your policy (or a potential policy) for exclusions.
Is It Really Alright? Check Yes or No
Although the manufacturers have no written recommendations, each person still had a personal opinion on applying enhancements.
Weiss-Fischmann sticks by the parents-are-the-litmus-test rule. “It should be up to the parents,” she says.
Arnold thinks working on teenagers is generally an acceptable practice. “There is no down side if you do it right and get them on a regular maintenance schedule and if the tech handles it with good responsibility,” she says.