When dry manicures first came on the scene, many techs held back on offering them because we realized clients enjoyed the warm soak. But as this waterless service gained popularity, its benefits became evident. The service isn’t for everyone, and there’s no voice in the industry that can make an authoritative decree that dry is always superior to the traditional manicure. In fact, some techs argue they prefer working on cuticles that have been water-softened, and that’s OK. Nonetheless, there’s enough evidence for one benefit that’s hard to dispute: Polish does last longer on most people when the nails aren’t soaked first.
If you’re ready to move into offering a waterless manicure — or even if you’ve been doing it for years — you may find yourself defending your decision to clients. Explain not only the benefits of a waterless service, but also the steps you’ve taken to ensure the pampering doesn’t get lost along the way. That conversation may sound something like this:
You (to new client): I’m so glad you were referred to us and have come in for a manicure. Did you know we don’t soak your nails first, but instead provide a waterless manicure?
Client: No, I didn’t know that. What does that even mean?
You: That means we soften your cuticles with oils and cuticle remover, rather than soaking the nails in water.
Client: Oh! That doesn’t sound like very much fun. I wanted to feel pampered with a soak and massage. Why do you do it? Is it so you can fit in more people?
You: Oh, you’ll definitely get a massage and feel pampered. I’ll wrap your hands in a warm towel while I’m working on your nails. It will help you relax, both from the therapy of the heat and because it’s infused with essential oils. The oil and cuticle remover I use moisturizes and softens your skin, so you’ll leave here with gorgeous, healthy, moisturized nails and skin. Plus — and here’s the advantage to the waterless manicure that I think clients like best — your polish will actually last longer without the soak.
Client: Really? Why is that?
You: When we soak our nails, the water makes them expand, and they don’t have time to fully dry by the time we apply polish. Over the next 24 hours, as the nail plate dries fully, it contracts back to its natural curve. That contraction affects the seal of the polish, making it more likely to pull away, crack, and chip. That’s the real reason we prefer not to soak the nails.
Client: That’s interesting. Well, I’m all for making my mani last longer!
You: There are other benefits, too. Since your skin won’t be water-soaked, it will be easier to notice any dry skin around your cuticles that needs to be trimmed. This is what I like best as a tech: My clients leave with their cuticles in better shape than I can achieve when I let the skin soak. You’ll leave with your nails looking more natural since they aren’t puffed from being waterlogged. I think you’re going to really like the result, and I’m looking forward to your feedback at your next appointment.
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