When a new client comes to you, it’s your job to determine which service will best meet her needs. She may have scheduled a gel-polish manicure because she saw her friend’s nails, but after talking with her, you realize she would get better results with a different service — such as acrylic nails.

You suspect you’ll face some hesitation: It’s a big jump from “natural” to “fake” nails. How you approach the topic could build rapport and trust as you explain the why of your recommendation. The conversation could sound something like this:

Client: I can’t wait for my nails to look like my friend’s — I just love that gel-polish! Who would have thought a manicure would last two weeks?

You: I’m so glad you’re here. I certainly can give you a manicure today, but looking at your nails, I would suggest something a little more corrective. When I apply gel-polish, or even a gel nail coating, I’m limited in the results. Gel products are an excellent option for some clients, but for you I would recommend acrylic.

Client: Acrylic?! Do people still do that? Isn’t it harmful to the nails?

You: Harmful? No, it’s not harmful at all, although I understand why you might think that. When artificial nails first became popular, we heard many stories of damage to the nails. There were two reasons for that. First, the acrylic used by some salons contained MMA, an ingredient that has since been banned. Second, many clients would get acrylic nails for an event — say a wedding, prom, or vacation — and then rip the nails off. That would definitely cause damage! Any type of enhancement needs to be professionally removed — even gel-polish.

Looking at your nails, I see a wide nail bed and nails that fan out and flare up as they reach the free edge. The benefit of acrylic over gel nails is I have more control when I apply it. Acrylic air-dries, so I can mold and build the nail more easily to compensate and correct where the nail widens. Acrylic is stronger than gel too, so it will help your natural nails retain a leaner shape rather than flattening out as they grow.

Client: Really? Well I guess we could try it. But what do you mean by “acrylic is stronger”? Does that mean I might have an allergic reaction to it because the chemicals are so strong?

You: No, I don’t mean stronger chemically. Both acrylics and gels have a similar chemical makeup — it’s in the application and final product where we see differences that make them unique. Acrylic is stronger, so it’s better to use on nails like yours, or, for example, on clients who are very rough on their hands. The good news is, both gel and acrylic are safe. The thing to remember is to never remove enhancements yourself and continue to come in for regular maintenance. If you were impressed how the nails looked after two weeks from a gel-polish manicure, just wait until you see how polish stays on acrylic!


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