Natural Nails

One Manicure Does Not Fit All

Because your clients differ your services should, too. Some clients need to get in and out of the salon quickly; others want the total salon indulgence. Make everybody happy by offering several types of manicures.

No two clients are alike, right? Some want to get on with their nails done, and get on with their busy lives. Others seem to have all the time in the world, lingering to chitchat even after their polish dries. Likewise, some budget-conscious clients want a basic nail service without the frills that takes you less time and cost them less money. For others, the manicure experience is as important as the final look – to them, the long massage and other extras are the reason they enjoy the service. Then there are those clients who are in-between: they want a relaxing service and great-looking nails, but they don’t have all day or an unlimited budget. How do you satisfy these three types of clients? Certainly not with the same service.

Jody Seagers, a Houston nail technician and former manufacturer’s educator, offers her clients three levels of manicures, one for every budget and schedule. Here, she describes her techniques for the mini-manicure, the basic manicure, and the deluxe manicure. She tells how to do each step and how long each step should take for the particular services, Seagers says it depends on your salon’s pricing structure. She chargers $10 for the mini-manicure, $18 for the basic manicure, and $28 for the deluxe. To set prices for your salon, Seagers recommends setting a base price for the mini-manicure, adding $8 for the basic, and $10 more for the deluxe.

The following three steps should be done in preparation for every manicure.

Have the client wash her hands and scrub her nails before taking a seat at your station. Then wash your own hands before you get started. Use a disinfectant cleaner on your hands and your client’s (2-3 minutes).

Remove the client’s polish (2-3 minutes).

Make sure the nails have a consistent shape and length. Clip nails that are too long, and shape all nails with a medium-coarse abrasive. Be sure the file is not too coarse, and file from the corners, and file from the corners to the center of the nail (4-5 minutes).


Step 1. Soak the client’s nail in warm water or use cuticle oil or solvent to often the cuticles so they can be easily pushed back with a metal pusher or a pterygium remover. Use gentle pressure to push back cuticles; never jam your implement under the cuticle or you may damage the “seal” between the cuticle and nail; this can sometimes lead to an infection. Use cuticle nippers to trim any hangnails. (10 minutes with a warm-water soak; 5 minutes with cuticle oil or solvent. To save time when doing a warm-water soak, soak one hand while you work on the other.)

Step 2. Once again have the client wash her hands and scrub her nails brush with nail scrub. You need to have her hands clean, dry, and oil-free for the best polish adhesion. (You’ll be surprised how much longer polish will stay on by following this steps; 2 minutes.)

Step 3. Ask the client to pay for the service now so they doesn’t have to dig for her checkbook with her wet nails.

Step 4. Polish the nails. Most nail technicians take 10-15 minutes to apply base coat, two coats of polish and a quick-dry top coat.

Total time: 30 Minutes


Step 1. Choose the cuticle softener that will work best on your client. I prefer an oil-based softener because it blends well with the lotion used during the massage. Rub the cuticle softener into all 10 cuticles (2 minutes0.

Step 2. Put the amount of lotion needed for one arm and hand in your palm. Cup your hands together to warm the lotion. (This is more relaxing to the client than applying cold lotion directly on her skin.) start the massage by spreading the lotion from the elbow down to the fingertips, which could scratch or feel uncomfortable to the client. Use moderate strength to do the massage the purpose of the massage is to get blood flowing all the way down to the fingertips, as well as to relax your client. Massage the wrist, the arm, the elbow, and then from the elbow down to the hand. Massage the hand down to each fingertip. Don’t forget to massage the cuticles. Then put client’s elbow on a soft cushion on the table and massage the palm of her hand. Relax that arm on the table and massage the other arm abd hand (6-8 minutes for each arm).

Step 3. The cuticles are soft enough to push back now. Remember, use a disinfectant implement. If it’s been a long time since your client’s last manicure and the cuticle need a lot of work, don’t try to do it all in this service. Clean that it will take a few appointments to get them looking their best. (This starts her thinking about pre-booking her appointments; 5 minutes.)

Step 4. Do steps 2-4 of the mini-manicure.

Total time: 45 minutes


Step 1. Rub a sloughing lotion or an exfoliating cream into the client’s arms, stopping just above the elbows. This step is to remove dead skin cells from the skin on the arms and hands (4 minutes).

Step 2. Have the client rinse her arms in warm water at the sink, or you can use a soft, damp sponge at the table to remove residual grit (2-3 minutes).

Step 3. Quickly massage a hydrating gel into the hands and arms (2 minutes).

Step 4. Do a paraffin dip on the client. (See “Heat Up Hands, Feet, & Profit With Paraffin” in the August 1994 issue of NAILS for a description of the paraffin dip technique.) have the client relax and enjoy the warmth of the paraffin for 10-15 minutes (20 minutes).

Step 5. Remove the paraffin from one hand and massage her hand and arms as described in Step 2 of the basic manicure, repeat on the other arm (6-8 minutes per arm).

Step 65. Gently push back the cuticles and trim if needed (3 minutes).

Step 7. Repeat steps 2-4 from the mini-manicure. A heat – or light-activated top coat that dries polish more quickly will add value to the service for the service for the customer.

Total time: 1 hour, 10 minutes

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