Do you know what your client really needs when it comes to nail enhancements? For many nail techs, we often we give them what they want, without giving a thought to what might be best. Though we should always strive to provide our clients with the very best advice when it comes to choosing the right nail enhancement for the right situation, many nail techs don’t know what is good, better or best for their clients and what they should be recommending.
Nail enhancements range from acrylic to gels to fiberglass and silk wraps. The application, strength, and longevity of each enhancement vary and it's up to you to advise your client about which one is best based on their lifestyle, the condition of their nails, their occupations, an occasion/event or what you feel is a reasonable upkeep for them.
Additionally, each service requires different care and maintenance in which you should be able to educate your clients when choosing an enhancement. In short, whether they want it or not, everything ain’t good for everybody!
So, what should you do?
In short, know your stuff! Being able to recommend certain nail services to clients based on your knowledge makes you the expert and it instills trust in the relationship. Nail enhancements are premium services, and knowing what services to suggest could mean a pricey upgrade and an eventual bump in your bottom line.
Take a look at the chart below to choose what nail enhancement is best for your client.
Type of Enhancement
How to Sell It
Strong, durable, lasts a long time with minimal maintenance.
Repetitive application can cause damage to your nail over time.
Dusty and strong odor when applying.
Acrylic nails are a combination of a liquid monomer and a powder polymer. Together they create a hard substance that is applied over the natural nail or a tip.
Great for clients who are hard on their nails or don’t have time for every two weeks (though it is recommended.) They can go longer if necessary.
Thin, but strong and durable.
Easy to maintain and has a high gloss finish.
Easier to soak off than acrylic.
Not necessary to remove all product to apply new.
Can be messy to apply for an unskilled tech.
Lighter weight and not as heavy on the nail as acrylic.
The gel doesn't harden under normal lighting or cooling conditions and requires a UV or LED lamp to cure. UV rays trigger photoinitiators in gels that initiates a chemical reaction called photoreaction. This reaction then causes the gel to harden or cure. Gels are flexible and not as hard as acrylics but are not as flexible as the natural nail.
Can be easily applied over your natural nail for a thin natural looking nail.
Flexible and lightweight.
Easy to maintain.
Long lasting, easy to apply, minimal damage and easy to maintain.
Can cause light damage and dry out the nail plate with prolonged use.
Gels polishes are half regular polish, half gel that is brushed onto the nails. When applying gel polish, apply like a regular application – base, polish color, and topcoat. The only difference is that each coat must be cured or hardened under a UV or LED light for up to two minutes.
Fast, easy to apply and long-lasting.
Ultra high gloss and minimal damage to the nails.
Easy and quick to apply, strong and no need to use a polish after the application because the powder is colored.
More flexible and doesn’t require the same skill needed to apply acrylics.
Softer than regular acrylic and depending on the client's lifestyle may not work well especially on longer nails.
Can be unsanitary if used incorrectly – dipping finger in powder.
The acrylic dip system doesn’t require a monomer, brushes, lamps etc. The nail is coated with finely grated acrylic over adhesive that is then sealed with an activator that dries the glue. The nail is then shaped and buffed to a shine.
Quick application and can last up to three weeks.
Doesn't require the client to sit under UV or LED lamp (in case that’s a concern.)
Adds strength to natural nails, thin and is an all-natural (silk) fiber.
Fiberglass and silk are most popular.
Can peel off if not properly applied and must have weekly/bi-weekly maintenance.
The application process is long.
Nail wraps are thin strips of various fabrics like paper, silk, linen, fiberglass, or mesh that’s applied to the nail with adhesive and set with resin for added strength. They can be used with acrylics or gels, and over the natural nails or nail tips.
A very natural-looking enhancement that easily adds strength and durability to natural nails.
Wraps are a high dollar service. Not everyone can do them well, and clients will pay top dollar for a great set of wraps. Focus on technique and finish.
Whatever your client chooses, make sure to explain each of the pros and cons, and most importantly, don't be afraid to ask questions and make suggestions. The client is paying for your expertise, so let your suggestions be known.
Photo: Sergey Tay
We just talked about how listening to your client's needs and recommending the appropriate services creates the best possible experience for both you and your clientele. Use the tools below to focus on these skills:
Active Listening Online ClassIn order to recommend the right services for our clients, we need to understand their needs. In order to do that, we need to be great active listeners. This online class can help.
Make More Money with Nail Services Online ClassImprove your overall client experience using the retail and pricing tricks outlined in this online class.
Tiffani Douglas is an author, speaker, beauty-marketing consultant and licensed nail technician with over 20 years experience in the beauty industry.
A graduate of the University of Kentucky, Tiffani worked her way through college as a manicurist to obtain a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism, with a concentration in strategic marketing. After college, she went on to work in corporate America as a marketing and media maven, but ever passionate about the beauty industry, she founded her own mobile spa.
During that time she also began consulting other beauty professionals in the areas of marketing and branding, which sparked an idea to write two e-books, Social Media Marketing: A Guide for Beauty Professionals and Are You a True Beauty Professional– 7 Practical Steps to Being More Professional, Upgrading Your Business and Increasing Your Revenue. She recently released her first published book, Straight Outta Beauty School - 10 Things You Need to Know and Do After You Graduate.
Tiffani resides in Dallas, Texas where she continues to inspire beauty pros young and old by offering them the tools they need to grow personally and professionally.
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