Clients call everything either gel or acrylic. I have to ask probing questions to figure out what nail enhancement they’re trying to describe. I’m constantly reminding my clients that Shellac is a brand, and gel-polish is what they’re asking for. I use precise descriptions in my marketing and all my verbal communication to avoid confusion. I like to properly educate my clients; it helps me build trust.
Crystal Clark, Nail Yeah!, Raleigh, N.C.

I find that some clients are very confused about gel-polish and gel. I always try to educate them so they are making an informed decision before they decide what they want on their nails. I have noticed that the manufacturers are changing their terminology to hard gel and soft gel, which seems to clarify it for clients. When gel-polish first came out, I don’t think people realized it was a gel product and not just a really long-lasting lacquer. Now that they have been out for a while, more clients know what to expect, but there are still many out there who don’t know the difference.
Kathy Dent, Salon Glow, Reno, Nev.

At my salon we are constantly getting women calling in claiming they have gel nails or asking for gel nails. My question to them is always, “Acrylics with gel-polish over them?” Or to the ones who claim they have gel I ask, “Were liquid and powder used to create your nail or a thick goopy substance?” And “How many times were your nails in and out of the lamp?” Hard gels aren’t very popular in my area and many of the cheaper nail salons mislead clients by telling them they’re getting gel (and that it’s better for them), when in reality they’re getting acrylics with gel-polish and being charged the price of gel nails. I try my hardest to educate my customers so that they know the difference between hard gels and acrylics.
Kelly Prokop, Island Nails Salon & Boutique, Niles,Ohio

I am a big advocate of educating my clients about the product I am using on them and how it differs from other services I offer. When explaining the difference in products to clients, I tell them that a gel- polish is similar to a hybrid nail polish — although it may add a little strength to natural nails, this product is not structurally strong enough to create an extension. I have a few clients who have beautiful nail plates, and a soft gel is a perfect option for them, as these ladies are not looking for an extension. For clients who ask for extended nails, once I have consulted with them about what options are best for their nails and style, I choose between a hard gel or acrylic for structural strength of the nail. Some clients prefer hard gel to acrylic because of reactions from an acrylic allergy or because it provides a more natural-looking nail compared to acrylic.
Sheera Gersh, Addicted to Nails,Tempe, Ariz.

Next question:
Do you have a set price list for nail art? Why or why not? [Answers will be printed in the August 2016 issue.] Share your opinion on the topic by e-mailing your response by May 15 to Please include your name, salon, city and state, and a high-resolution headshot with your response.

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