What causes some nails to be long and strong and others to be short and soft? Many things can be the cause and each has a different solution. Your job as a nail tech is to discover your clients’ goals and then problem-solve toward a workable solution. Some clients may want to grow their own nails, while others would be open to gel or acrylic. It would benefit you to have multiple retail products on hand for those clients who opt for the maintenance of natural nails.

Ask good questions so you can offer appropriate suggestions. The conversation may go something like this:

Client: My nails are so soft! Why do they bend and split? I can’t stand them!

You: You’re not alone. It’s a common problem. It could be from medications you’re taking, or because of your lifestyle — for example if you use a lot of cleaning agents, or swim, or if your hands are often in water. It could even be because your body lacks certain nutrients.

Client: What do you mean from medications? Is this a medical problem?

You: Well, people with a thyroid problem or heart condition often take medicine that can have a negative impact on their nails. People with skin problems, such as eczema or psoriasis, also may notice their nails are brittle and peel. If none of this sounds like you, it could be you have a zinc, iron, or calcium deficiency. What we put into our bodies — or what our bodies lack — shows up in our nails. One thing that has been shown to help is taking a biotin supplement. The only negative is that it takes about six months to really notice a difference.

Client: That’s really interesting, but I don’t think that describes me. Could anything else cause it?

You: Oh yes. It may be because your hands are in a lot of water or are exposed to chemicals. Water and cleaning agents will dry out your nails, and they will become brittle. That will make them soft and cause them to peel. Do you use gloves when you clean and do dishes?

Client: No, and I don’t really want to. Am I out of luck?

You: Not necessarily. If you’re willing to add cuticle oil to your nails regularly and keep polish on them to protect them, I’m sure we could get your nails strong enough to stay beautiful at an active length. I can recommend products I think would help you.

Client: I’ll try that! But to be honest, I’m not great with remembering stuff like that.

You: That’s OK. Most of us aren’t great at maintenance, so here’s the best news. Your nails can still look gorgeous. I can cover your nails with a thin layer of protection in the form of gel-polish, or a gel or acrylic overlay. Your nails will always look gorgeous and the only maintenance you will have is to come see me every couple of weeks.

Client: That sounds great.

Five Retail Products to Keep in Stock

Your favorite brand of:
> Cuticle oil
> Cuticle cream
> Hydrating base coat
> Strengthening top coat to protect the nails from chemicals and water
> Moisturizing hand cream. In a salon setting, clients may expect luxurious and lovely scents, but creams that contain lanolin or comfrey work well to moisturize the skin surrounding the cuticles.


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