Q&A

How young is too young to get acrylics?

Q.

Sometimes parents bring 11- to 15- year-old kids into the salon to get a full set of acrylics. I really hate to put acrylics on them because they are so young. I refuse the service, but then my boss says to do it because they have the parents’ permission. Are three rules as to an age limit by the state boards? I fear the girls ripping one off while playing and then the parents coming back on me. Can I be held responsible for any damage that happens when they rip one off? Also how can I refuse the service in a nice way without upsetting my boss or the parent? Please help.

A.

Editor’s note: Sometimes we get questions from readers in need that aren’t exactly technical questions, but they’re not typical business questions, either. For those nail techs dealing with difficult issues involving self-esteem, office politics, work relationships, and the like, we aim to offer guidance and perspective.

For this month’s On the Couch, we turn to Linda Green, director of operations and education for the nail department at Seattle-based Gene Juarez Salons and salons and spas, two beauty schools, and an advanced training facility. Green has been with Gene Juarez for 19 years and supervises 63 nail technicians and 10 instructors.

Tech Has Girl Trouble

Sometimes parents bring 11- to 15- year-old kids into the salon to get a full set of acrylics. I really hate to put acrylics on them because they are so young. I refuse the service, but then my boss says to do it because they have the parents’ permission. Are three rules as to an age limit by the state boards? I fear the girls ripping one off while playing and then the parents coming back on me. Can I be held responsible for any damage that happens when they rip one off? Also how can I refuse the service in a nice way without upsetting my boss or the parent? Please help.

Dear Stuck in the Middle: I understand your dilemma. You’re caught between your professional integrity and the pressure of your employer to accommodate and please the client. Because there is no legal restriction on the age of a client who can receive nail enhancements, you should discuss you concerns with you employer and together draw up a release form for young clients’ parents to sign.

The length of the nail would be my biggest concern. You should educated both mother and daughter that the length of the nail should be no longer than one-third of the natural nail’s length.

You should also draft a client handout outlining the proper care required for nail enhancements and make sure it goes home with both parent and child. The handout should make it clear that the teen’s activity level may affect how long the nails last and in what condition. It should also explain that when enhancements break, the product can take layers of the natural nail with it. Additionally, it should stress the importance of biweekly fills.

You may still be uncomfortable putting enhancements on teens, but at least you can feel assured that everyone involved understands the risks involved and has acknowledged them in writing.      

You might read some articles we've done in NAILS about this topic as well:

Pedicures & Manicures for Young Cliients

How Young Is Too Young for Acrylics?

Are They There Yet?

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