Never gotten a mani-pedi before? Here's what to expect.
When painting someone's nails, you have to be steady-handed, laser-focused, and sociable—all at the same time. It sounds like a tough gig, but according to Barb Shea, a nail artist at Team Blonde outside Chicago, it's easy if you have great clients. We chatted with Barb about what makes an awesome mani-pedi customer, and she helped us put together this handy guide to nail salon etiquette.
For a manicure or a pedicure or any nail service, you should tip what you would at a restaurant: 20% is an indicator of great service. "Sometimes we even get 25% tips," Barb said.
So altogether, how much does it cost to get your nails done? On average, a basic manicure will cost you about $25, which includes a standard tip. Acrylics, gels, and dips range from about $25 to $50 in price, with tips of $5-$10.
And just how often should you get your nails done? Expect to go weekly to maintain a basic mani, every two weeks for a gel, and every three weeks for a dip or arylics.
Getting more than one service? Check out our complete guide to tipping at the salon and spa.
Nope! "We don't mind," Barb said. In fact, showing up with polish is pretty much a requirement if you previously got a no-chip.
"Don't pick off your no-chip!" Barb said. "People say, 'I want my polish off because my nails need to breathe.' The actual nail is dead cells. It can't breathe!"
So there you have it. When in doubt, just leave that old color on there.
To avoid polish chips between appointments, learn how to make a manicure last longer.
Nail artists and massage therapists agree: a little leg fuzz is no big deal. "Frankly, we don't even notice. It doesn't bother us."
"If you're doing a pedicure, then no, don't trim them," Barb said. The reason? "The majority of people don't know how to trim their toenails. ... [They] like to trim the sides, and they clip too far in. When the nail comes back in, it'll be an ingrown. You should trim them straight across, not rounded."
For hands, though, Barb said it doesn't matter—trim or don't trim to your liking.
According to Barb, reading is fine, and falling asleep is a compliment—sometimes that's even her goal. "I do reflexology ... [and when] I hit the central nerve that relaxes you, more than likely you'll fall asleep."
However, know that you may not get a lengthy nap in. Just how long does it take to get your nails done? A basic manicure takes about 30 minutes (more complicated acrylics and dips are closer to 45–60 minutes.)
You can tell your nail technician that you're ticklish, but Barb said that it's rarely a problem. However, if you're truly, uncontrollably giggly, nail artists have an ace up their sleeves.
"There's a part in your foot that nail technicians are trained to pinpoint ... that can prevent you from being ticklish. If you're looking at the bottom of your foot and you grab your pinkie and your big toe and flex them inward, it's where the indentation is."
In reflexology, this is the part of the foot that corresponds to your solar plexus. Barb said that once she presses on this area, even the most skittishly ticklish clients have been surprised by how relaxing their treatments became.
"Oh, we've seen it all," Barb said. "We'd rather educate our clients than be grossed out. So if we see a built-up callus, we'll reduce it as much as we can and then give the client recommendations [to keep it from coming back]. As far as yellow toenails, that's usually from polish, [and] we'll tell them how to take care of it."
Fungus doesn't phase Barb, either. "If someone were to have a foot fungus, we'll ask them, 'Have you noticed your toenails looking different?' Nine times out of 10, they already know what they have. We can't diagnose them, but we can refer them to a podiatrist."
For more pedicure advice from Barb and other nail artists, check out our guide to getting a pedicure with gross feet.
So you're expecting—can you get your nails done when pregnant? Yes, you can. That's because you won't be exposed to any of the nail-salon products for an extended period of time. If you're still nervous, talk to your doctor about any potential risks.
Usually, yes. But to minimize the chances of that happening, Barb said, "we advise clients to hang out for a little bit, 15 minutes or so, while their nails dry."
Don't forget to follow Barb's advice and pay and tip just before the polish goes on. That way, you don't mess up your fresh nails digging out money.
If you still manage to chip your polish in the salon, your technician should be able to patch it up—just don't come in days later complaining that your polish flaked when you were biting your nails.
Switching out your color early on isn't a big deal. Usually, clients realize they'd prefer a different shade after just one nail has been painted. Certain salons, including Team Blonde, also have what's called a nail wheel to help clients preview different colors.
"There are individual fake nails with all the colors, so [clients] can actually put in on their finger to see if it matches their skin tone," Barb said.
For color and nail-art inspiration, explore our top 5 favorite summer nail looks.
According to Barb, talking on your cell phone when there are other clients in the salon is a big nail salon etiquette no-no.
"If you're alone in the room it doesn't bother me ... [but otherwise] it's disruptive to the other people getting a service done."