Q&A

How do I handle a client who refuses to wash her hands before a service?

Q.

I have a client who has always given me grief because I make her wash her hands before beginning her service. She insists that every other salon she has ever been to (a lot) has told her NOT to wash her hands before her fill because the water will make her nails lift or give her fungus. She’s big gardener (no gloves) and now she has some lifting and embedded dirt. She’s had a few minor bacterial infections, which she thinks are fungus, and she insinuates that it’s she hand washing that’s the problem. How should I handle her? She drives me nuts.

A.

Total Wash Out

I have a client who has always given me grief because I make her wash her hands before beginning her service. She insists that every other salon she has ever been to (a lot) has told her NOT to wash her hands before her fill because the water will make her nails lift or give her fungus. She’s big gardener (no gloves) and now she has some lifting and embedded dirt. She’s had a few minor bacterial infections, which she thinks are fungus, and she insinuates that it’s she hand washing that’s the problem. How should I handle her? She drives me nuts.

Dear Down and Dirty: First off, the practice of washing your hands and having your customer wash hers is a health issue. It has nothing to do with lifting or fungus. In my salon, if you don’t wash your hands, you don’t receive your service.

In order to combat the misinformation you client received in other salons, you’ll need to be able to explain what does cause lifting. I have a list of the top 10 reasons below and you’ll see that hand washing is nowhere on it:

1. Cuticle or skin that has grown yup on the nail.

2. Product that is applied improperly and is touching the skin.

3. Nails that are too long.

4. Primer that has not been applied to the entire nail.

5. Nails that have not been sanitized properly and natural oil removed.

6. Acrylic product that is applied too dry.

7. Enhancements that are too thick.

8. On a fill, if lifting has already stated, it needs to be filed off, or the nail should be removed and re-applied.

9. A nail that is abused by a customer.

10. Failure to use quality products. With regard to the question of infection (you’re right, it’s probably bacteria, not fungus), it’s simple. If you stop the lifting, you’ll stop the infection. Without a separation between the natural nail and the enhancement, there won’t be a place for the dirt and moisture to get trapped and fester.

It sounds like you’ve got a difficult client and addressing the situation with her may not be so easy. I recommend making her a deal. Tell her to do her job be washing her hands and wearing gloves in the garden. In return promise her nails that never lift. If she doesn’t respond, replace her with a customer who respects your health, knowledge, and professionalism. --Shari Finger

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