Nails 101: A Student Blog

Weel 3: Manicures and Pedicures

by NAILS Magazine | January 21, 2011

This week has been fast-paced because of missing some school last week due to my wedding. But now that the dust has settled, I am a full-time student. I have posted a lot of photos and I think I will be from now on so that you can see the work as I become more experienced. It feels like there is never enough time to do anything else when you are in school full-time and all that you think about is doing nails. I even dream about nails now!


(Funny story, the day before my wedding I was driving around and I saw a nail supply store — keep in mind I am supposed to be getting ready for my wedding — and I stopped by the store and started shopping. I got more excited about the new implements and supplies I bought then going out with all my friends to celebrate.)


I started back to school on Tuesday and we studied pedicures. It seems so easy at first, but it is some work once you start doing it. In the afternoon class, we went back and reviewed manicures since I had not gone over it in lecture. The interesting thing about lecture is that you learn more about real-life situations that are not mentioned in the book. I learned different ways to make my work stand out. I learned that the polish and massage are two of the most important aspects in a manicure/pedicure because the client will walk out and look at the polish and base it on whether it was a good service.


We ended up getting our official nail kits on Tuesday, and we had to go through and label all our supplies and implements. I decided to design mine with nail polish. I enclosed a picture because I am pretty proud of how cute it is!


Wednesday, was by far the best day I have had at school. I could tell you some stories about the way people treat their feet. I was able to start working on my quotas and work on the floor. I was so nervous on the first person I gave a pedicure to. She was, thank goodness, a student. My instructor watched us, step-by-step to make sure we were doing the procedures correctly. At first, I thought this would be really hard because I do not like feet and working with someone else’s feet would be “super gross.” It turned out that I love doing pedicures. I love using the nippers and metal pusher to see that what I am doing is really working. (Shhhh…I like to place the dead cuticle on the towel next to the client’s feet so she can see how bad she ignores her feet.) By the afternoon, my back was hurting and my fingers were sore because I was not used to doing massages. I know I am doing something wrong with my posture because my back was hurting. I will have to try it out again and figure out a way to sit properly.


These are a few tips I have picked up that I came across that I am having trouble adapting to:


  • You must dress fashionable, but you have to keep in mind that you are bending over and you don’t want the client to see your cleavage.  

  • Your feet must also be comfortable and fashionable. I had to go out last night and buy a pair of semi-flat shoes with a grip sole (that still look cute). I am used to wearing five-inch heels all the time.  

  • Your nails have to look good too. After my first day on the floor, my nails were beat up. I went out and purchased a gel-type nail polish and UV light to at least keep my nails in decent shape while I am working.  

  • I just got married and wearing a ring is not a good idea. My heart sank after promising to wear that ring as a symbol of love and then two days later I had to take it off to work. I would suggest buying a sturdy chain so you can wear it around your neck.

  • Your hair also has to be groomed. While I was trying to polish the client’s toes my hair kept flying into my face and into the client’s toes. So I bought some pins to push my hair back so I can still wear it down. 

  • And finally, wearing skirts to work is pretty much long gone. Think about it, how are you going to do a pedicure with a skirt on? So, there are some changes that I have to make to get ready for my new career.


The end of the week was something I was looking forward to. I took two tests this week for manicures and pedicures. I got an A on both, so I am pretty happy about that. We were given our requirements too. On top of studying and learning in the classroom, we also have to be on the floor and perform three services a day. As I am getting more in-depth with the program, I am starting to feel the pressure. There are some students who work and get through the program. There are some students who want to sweet talk their way through. And there are some students who complain about everything behind our instructor’s back. My advice is to stay out of it, simply pick up your book and do not pay attention to it. If you get involved all it will do is cause problems for you in the future.


Have a great week and have happy feet!


— Susan

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