Cutting down your service times doesn’t mean you have to cut back on the quality of your work. These tips will help you perform your nail prep quickly and effectively.

1. Make sure your clients wash their hands as soon as they enter the salon.

If they wash while you are finishing up or checking out the client ahead of them, then they will be ready to sit right down as soon as the chair is vacated.

2. Talk to the hands!

If you were raised with the notion that it’s rude to talk to someone without looking into their eyes, then this is actually more difficult than you would think. Focusing on the nails with both your eyes and hands through the entire service will improve your salon speed significantly.

3. Be sure to use your cuticle pusher at the angle the manufacturer suggests.

You should see a thin layer of tissue lift away from the nail plate when you use a cuticle pusher. If you don’t see tissue coming up, it may be time to evaluate if your pusher is effective. Some inexpensive pushers are very dull and do not help lift the cuticle.

4. If you use a curette, make sure that the more open side of the scoop face is as flat to the nail as possible. 

The curette is only an amazing power tool if used properly. You should see the cuticle coming up from the sidewalls and corners of the nail while moving the curette in small circles, which should give you a clean working surface and prevent lifting.

5. Use a cuticle remover product.

A cuticle remover product can speed up removal time. If you use a cuticle removal product that requires deactivation by water, keep a spray bottle filled with plain water or slightly soapy water at the table to quickly wash the nails without the client getting up.

6. When removing surface shine, file in whatever direction you find most comfortable.

According to industry chemist Doug Schoon, the direction of filing on the natural nail does not disrupt the nail plate. Removing the shine should be a very brief part of the service.

7. Make sure you are pulling back the lateral folds to remove shine from the entire surface.

This will make sure you do not have to come back and catch it later or spend time on repairs due to remaining shine.

These tips were adapted from a longer piece by NAILS contributing editor Holly Schippers. Read Speed Up Your Services — Part 1: Work Habits, Prep, and Natural Nails for more.

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