Tending to the Natural Nail

by Sree Roy | April 19, 2011


1. Wash your hands. Have the client wash her hands.





Perform a waterless manicure.
Shown: Gehwol Disinfectant Lotion Spray





2. Soak the client’s hands in warm water and manicure soak.
Shown: SpaRitual Harmonizing Soak Tonic




Customize the soak, such as by adding fresh fruit slices, flower petals, or essential oils.
Shown: Bella Luccè Madi Lular Petal Bath





3. Remove existing nail polish.
Shown: Zoya Remove+


4. Apply cuticle remover to the client’s nails. Remove cuticle and complete nail prep. File nails to desired length and shape.
Shown: Dr. G’s 2-in-1 Antimicrobial Callus and Cuticle Remover




Exfoliate the client’s hands and lower arms with either a hand scrub or a hand peel. Rinse the scrub or remove with moist warm towels.
Shown: OPI Lemon Tonic Scrub





Infuse the client’s hands with extra moisture with a hand mask and/or paraffin application. Cover the client’s hands with plastic wrap and/or warm towels or mitts. Remove the mask or paraffin after designated amount of time (according to product instructions).
Shown: Cuccio Naturalé Deep Dermal Transforming Wrap



5. Massage the client’s hands and lower arms with lotion, massage cream, or massage oil.
Shown: Bio Sculpture Hand Cream


Perform a hot-stone massage, reflexology, or add more time to the standard massage.
Shown: Universal Companies Small Stone Set





6. Remove oils from the client’s nail plates. Apply base coat to the client’s nails.
Shown: Seche Clear Base



Apply a nail treatment or specialized base coat to the client’s nails.
Shown: Duri Rejuvacote




7. Apply two coats of nail polish to the client’s nails.
Shown: Essie Blushing Bride





Buff the client’s nails to a high shine.
Shown: CND Girlfriend Buffer






Add nail art to all or some of the client’s nails, or create a French manicure.
Shown: Orly Instant Artist





8. Apply top coat.
Shown: Nubar Diamont Top Coat





Apply quick-drying drops or spray.
Shown: China Glaze Fast Freeze





Non-Technical Add-Ons
Keep in mind that upgrades can also be non-technical add-ons, like offering the client a beverage and/or snack, a warmed neck pillow, an aromatherapy room spray, or even a themed music soundtrack that matches the vibe of her service.

Pricing Pros and Cons

• The salon’s (base) manicure price may be affordable to a larger client base.
• Clients can customize the service so it meets their exact needs.

• Nail techs have trouble estimating the amount of time to allot to a client.
• Nail techs may put pressure on clients to upgrade, making the clients uncomfortable.
• Clients may be turned off by a higher-than-expected bill, depending on how many add-ons they choose.

• Nail techs can better estimate the amount of time to allot for each client.
• It’s easier to train nail techs with having consistent service options.
• Clients know the final price up front — no surprises.

• Some of the salon’s potential clients may hear the top-tier manicure price and think the salon is too expensive.
• Clients may be getting (and paying for) add-ons that they don’t want or need.
• Clients may not understand the difference between the different all-inclusive manicures, especially if the service names are unclear.
• There’s a time and financial investment in figuring out which product line to use with each level of manicure.   


We’ve showcased a myriad of manufacturers’ products so you can get a feel for the variety of natural nail products out there — but in your salon, you’ll likely want to stick to only a few of your favorite brands for any given service. Most manufacturers have systems that go together. Visit for examples.

Nail tech Melba Mosley demonstrates reflexology techniques on colleague Apryl Moore, while...


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