Most of your clients rave about how well their nails last between visits. Everyone that is except Sally. And Joan. Oh, and Aimee. Then you put the pieces together: These women have their hands in water much more often than most people. One is a swimmer. One is a gardener. The other one cleans houses for a living. Ah, yes. Water — a manicure’s arch nemesis. Is there anything that can be done? Possibly. But only if the women are willing to work with you to extend the life of their manicure. Let’s ask.

Client: My polish never stays on.

You: Yes, your hands are often in water. It’s difficult to maintain a natural-nail manicure when the hands are in water so frequently.

Client: Well, is there anything we can do to make it better?

You: Possibly! Here’s the thing: When our hands are in water, the cells in the nails expand and contract as the moisture is absorbed. This expansion and contraction is what makes the polish split, chip, and peel. So, let’s find ways to keep your hands dry without you having to give up what you love. Make sure you wear gloves while you garden or clean. Start with a liner of cotton gloves and then wear rubber gloves over them. The cotton against your skin reduces the amount you sweat, which keeps your nails dry. You want to avoid your skin and nails steeping in a mini-sauna of moisture inside rubber gloves for hours while you’re working.

Client: OK, I’ll give it a shot. Is that the only thing we can do?

You: No, actually. I’d suggest we try a longer-lasting polish or a gel-polish. I’ve already tried adding a bonder to keep the traditional polish on longer and that doesn’t seem to be working. Let’s try these other products to see if they will hold up better. I’ll also send you home with a bottle of top coat and cuticle oil. Apply these every day. It often extends the life of a manicure. If none of these makes a big difference, let’s try an enhancement coating over your natural nails. If you come in for regular maintenance every two weeks, I think that would work well for you. You would still need to wear cotton gloves under your rubber gloves, but it’s likely the polish would stay on.

Client: Definitely. I’ll do whatever you say if it makes my manicure last longer.


When Gloves Aren’t an Option

If a client is in a lot of water where gloves aren’t an option, such as is the case for a swimmer, she is going to have an extraordinarily hard time maintaining a manicure. You might suggest she schedule her manicures on a day when she knows she isn’t swimming the next day, which would give her at least a couple days of chip-free nails. Suggest she come in every week for a manicure. Keep her nails short and recommend she apply a clear polish to cap the tips every night once her nails have hardened again after a swim. Enhancements would also likely hold up better on this client than natural nails. A gel-polish may work as well, but if she is in chlorine or saltwater every day, she’ll likely need to schedule her appointments closer to every 10 days rather than every two weeks.


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