Folks, I don't care what you call it. It is what it is.
I don't care if you "paint" nails or "polish" nails. I don't care if you're a "nail technician," a "manicurist," a "nail lady, " "nail girl, " or an "onychological enhancement specialist." I don't care if you do "nail enhancements" or "fake nails." And I don't care if you use a "drill" or an "electric file."
What it all boils down to is: Do people know what the heck you're talking about? And are you building a clientele, making money, and lovin' your work?
A while back, I found a comment on the blog at my salon website from someone who seemed pretty intent on letting me know that "nail enhancements" sounds more professional than "fake nails."
Part of me wants to shout back at those people, "Do you know who I am?!" And not in a way that suggests I think I'm sort of celebrity, more like, "HEY! I've been using the MOTHER-*&!#!-ING Internet to network with industry colleagues and other professionals since last century! I WAS THERE when we started saying "nail enhancements" and I WAS THERE when we started saying "non standard salons" (in fact, I put in quite my own two cents on that decision), and I WAS THERE when we started saying "electric file." Don't lecture ME on industry euphemisms and don't tell ME what "sounds professional."
I have been there and I have done that and in the long run, I have come to the conclusion that it's much more important to me to speak the same language as my target market — and they say "fake nails." They don't care if I call it a "drill," and they call me "nail-lady" with awe and respect — well, most of the time, anyway.
Don't believe it? Ask Google Trends. You can keep callin’ ’em "nail enhancements," but people are searching for "fake nails." So that's why I use the term "fake nails" in my salon blog posts. The traffic results are worth it.
What's really important is to be sure to wield the tools of our trade with skill, knowledge, and care... no matter what words we use to describe them. Your clients need to understand you, and if you insist on using vocabulary that makes them feel inferior, don't be surprised if they wander off to someone who's more "real" to them.
That's not to say that you won't build a clientele of people who love that you use fancy terminology and sound all hifalutin. But those people who weren't a good fit for you? Do you really think they don't deserve a safe service from a skilled professional? Even if that professional uses a "drill" to do "fake nails?"
There's more than one desirable demographic to target, and we would do better as an industry if we stop bickering about semantics and focus on real issues.