The Science of Nails

Extreme Nailing

Depending on conditions, clients’ hands and feet may be puffy, moist, and sweaty or cold, dry, and numb. A tech needs to know how to compensate for these changes so she can apply product to a consistent, stable nail surface each time.

WORKING IN THE ELEMENTS

Biting Cold

Karissa Olstad, manager of The Nail Bar Downtown in Fargo, N.D., says the salon offers clients warm neck wraps and blankets.
<p>Karissa Olstad, manager of The Nail Bar Downtown in Fargo, N.D., says the salon offers clients warm neck wraps and blankets.</p>

Techs who have been in the business  for a while will remember the days when crystallization was a concern. Today, acrylic formulas aren’t as sensitive to cold; nonetheless, cold temperatures do change the way the product handles, so techs have developed clever ways to keep clients’ hands warm so product isn’t applied to a cold surface. In Fargo, N.D., which appears on the Top 10 list of cold cities, clients can come in from freezing temperatures with uncomfortably cold hands — even if they wear gloves. Karissa Olstad, manager of The Nail Bar Downtown in Fargo, says the salon offers clients warm neck wraps and blankets to keep them warm. 

Changes must be made for natural nails as well. “Nails in general are more brittle in the winter, which can increase breakage,” says Olstad. “Our answer is cuticle oil, cuticle oil, cuticle oil.” During pedicures, says Olstad, techs need to keep the water at a low temperature and then add warmer water gradually once the feet are soaking. Though it might seem odd to put cold feet in water that is only lukewarm, the truth is when the water is too warm on cold toes, it creates an unpleasant burning sensation.

 

Stifling Humidity

Ana Braun says in Florida clients’ heels are cracked because everyone is in open shoes.
<p>Ana Braun says in Florida clients&rsquo; heels are cracked because everyone is in open shoes.</p>

In addition to bitter cold, Fargo experiences extreme heat in the summer. Climate control keeps product problems in check, but clammy hands can be an issue. “We wrap hands and feet in warm towels,” says Olstad. “You’d be surprised at how quickly that removes the clammy feeling.”

“I see the biggest factor of temperature change being less about product application and more about the wear and tear of the elements between appointments,” says seasoned nail tech Ana Braun, owner of Ana Braun at Embody Wellness and Fitness Studio in Sarasota, Fla. Braun says when she did nails for 12 years in Rhode Island, clients had dry cuticles and brittle nails because of the cold weather, but their feet were usually in good condition because they were always covered. Now, a resident of Sarasota, Fla., where August temperatures hover in the 90s with 90% humidity, Braun says clients have healthy cuticles because of the warm, moist air, but their heels are cracked because everyone is in open shoes. Pedicures don’t last as long with pool and beach activities. “Up north, I would give clients cuticle treatments to apply every night; here I ask my clients to exfoliate their heels with a pumice stone and apply lotion,” says Braun.

 

Scorching Heat

Air-conditioning leaves Amanda Lenher’s clients with cold hands so she rests them on warming mats during nail services.
<p>Air-conditioning leaves Amanda Lenher&rsquo;s clients with cold hands so she rests them on warming mats during nail services.</p>

Amanda Lenher is a Nubar educator and nail tech at Posare Salon in Las Vegas. Temperatures in her town can often break 100°, sweltering by anyone’s standards. She says most of the time the temperature is controlled by air conditioning, but still, there are ways she needs to compensate for the heat. “Clients come in and their hands are cold because they have been in air conditioning all day, plus they have an iced coffee in their hands,” explains Lenher. “I rest my clients’ hands on warming mats during nail services to raise the temperatures in their fingers.”     

Keywords:   acrylics     cold weather promotions     effect of weather on nails     Gels     polish  

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