Natural Nails

Manicure Dilemma: Wet or Dry?

Some nail technicians have abandoned their soaking bowls in favor of heating pads and mitts used in conjunction with warmed lotions, oils, or other “treatment” products. They claim that these types of products do not alter the shape of the nails and offer more moisturizing benefits.

Water also helps other products, such as lotions, condition the nails and cuticles. “Molecules attract like molecules, so after soaking the nails in water to prepare for the manicure, use a heated, water-based lotion to treat the cuticles,” Bannister says.

Technicians who prefer water soak manicures to start their service may still use lotions or paraffin, but Hirsch says that soaking the nails to get circulation going and then removing dead skin is a very important first step of any manicure. “Other moisturizing products are OK to use on the nails, but first perform a regular manicure,” Hirsch says. “Then you can pamper the client.”

Dry, But Not Boring

Some nail technicians have abandoned their soaking bowls in favor of heating pads and mitts used in conjunction with warmed lotions, oils, or other “treatment” products. They claim that these types of products do not alter the shape of the nails and offer more moisturizing benefits.

Many nail technicians use lotions and oils during a manicure but do not soak the nails in them for any period of time. Instead, they liberally apply the product on the nails and hands and then use heated pads or mitts to concentrate the moisturizing efforts of the product. “To soften cuticles I like to use an alpha hydroxy product to remove excess skin, which makes it easier to push back the cuticles,” says Batliner.

With spa services as popular as they are, this type of service may seem more deluxe to the client. “It is something different for my clients, since most of the technicians in my area still do a water manicure. They really prefer this type of service,” says Kitsko. “It is also less sloppy and I don’t have to worry about the water cooling off or moving the bowl one way or another as we progress through the service.”

“I apply different essential oils, like ylang ylang or lavender, to the towels to enhance the experience,” says Reynolds. “Most tell me that they have never had a manicure like this and it seems more pampering and professional than the water manicures I used to do.”

If polish adhesion is your main complaint about wet manicures but your clients seem to enjoy the service, it may be time to take a look at how you perform your manicure. You may not be able to blame short-lived polish on the soaking technique alone. Is your polish of good quality? Do you use a base and top coat? And most important, are you properly preparing the nail polishing? No matter what ingredients or methods you decide to use when performing a manicure for clients, remember that polish adhesion is also directly related to how you prepare the nail plate.

“Always cleanse and dehydrate the nail plate before applying a base coat and polish,” stresses Bannister. You may also want to prescribe home maintenance to clients with adhesion problems. Suggest reapplying top coat (making sure to show the client how to seal the free edge with the brush) daily or gloves while performing certain activities, like painting or gardening.

Select the type of manicure service you perform on a client-by-client basis instead of just offering one specific service each time. Just like every client doesn’t have the same skin type they don’t have the same nail type either. Therefore, diagnose each client’s (especially new clients) nail condition before setting on a wet or dry manicure. Customization may be the key to providing the best service possible to your clients.

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Keywords:   dry manicure  

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