Many clients want instant results and this is sometimes the problem and why enhancements are applied onto nails that simply should not have product applied. Quite often the products are incorrectly applied, or is just not the product the client thought they were getting. I have had so many clients come to me with a soak off gel manicure, when actually they have acrylic enhancements!
The best way to avoid problems is to educate yourself on what you are asking for. The internet is a minefield, however in general there is some great information. If you have been recommended a brand, look them up, or contact the manufacturer. Some even have a salon finder where you can look up salons that are authorised therapists.
A few things to look out for when using a new therapist are:
Insurance - all services offered should be covered by the therapists insurance. The certificate should be displayed in their salon. If mobile, the therapist should be willing to show you a copy/Image - this is the digital age after all!!
Hygiene - therapists should wash and sanitise hands between each client. Sanitising hand gel at the very least should be used! Tools should also be sanitised and disinfected, tools should be soaked in barbicide (or equivalent) where possible, and where not (ie a mobile therapist), IPA should be used before disinfecting at the end of their day.
Trade Certificates - There are many training courses around, and most are perfectly good. Look up where the training certificates are from if you are unsure. Many big brands only use certain training providers. Although training for qualified nail techs is not required for all products, those that have trained with individual products will have a greater knowledge about the products they are using.
Products - how can you tell if the product being used is authentic? This is a little trickier, but a few pointers can help. This is how you spell 'Shellac', it is manufactured by CND (Creative Nail Design) and is one of the original Power Polishes. Anything that says 'blue sky shellac' or 'shellak' is not real! Do not use this, it was not purchased from an authorised stockist and will therefore not be insured should anything go wrong. SweetSquared and Ellisons are the only authorised distributors in the UK. This is similar for OPI, professional products are supplied through Lena White. If you are unsure about the origin of a products, question them! Some products, for example Gelish, is more widely available, however certificates need to be produced for a trained therapist to purchase products.
The problem with using products that have not been purchased through the authorised channels is that you and your therapist has no idea what is in the bottle!!
Cost - this is a tricky subject. Sometimes there are very good therapists that charge cheap prices, or have offers on and introductory rates. In general though, too cheap is too good to be true. If someone is charging £10 for a mobile gel service, the therapist is losing money, by the time product, consumables, insurance, laundry, travel and the original cost of equipment are factored in, let alone what a therapists time is worth! They are making no money - why are they charging so little, and what sort of service are you expecting?
Acrylic Enhancements - acrylic in its traditional form is called Liquid & Powder, this application is where powder is mixed with monomer (the smelly stuff), and applied in a bead to the nail. You should always ask to see the container for both the liquid & powder. I have seen many salons that remove products from original containers - this is staying on your nails - what are they using?!?! Most clients I have will have l&p applied that is almost impossible to remove. Using correct application and products, the nails will remove easily and leave very little, hopefully no, damage to the nail plate. Ridges in your nails are caused from over filing! Do not let your therapist do this!!
Gel Enhancements - Gel nails are an acrylate and are similar to the traditional l&p described above. This products is applied from a pot that looks like thick paint and is painted on the nail with a flat brush and then cured in a light. Enhancements are created by building a shape to the nail to add strength. These nails are shinier. There are a number of brands that offer traditional hard gels. Again, ask for the brand and look at the pots, they should all be labelled.
Soak Off Gels - these are the most popular services, 3 weeks of colour on to natural nails with 15 minute removal time. There are numerous versions of these gels, from Biosculpture and OPI Axxium SOG, to Shellac, Gelish & OPI GelColor. The more recent versions of soak off gels tend to come in nail polish style bottles, with the exception of Biosculpture, OPI Axxium SOG and CND Brisa Lite. Look up the brands being used, ensure they are not an eBay only product!!
Manicures - when incorrect or unauthorised creams are used, clients can have reactions and skin problems, why risk damaging your skin when using something unlabelled.
Pedicures - when was the foot spa last cleaned, sanitised and disinfected? This should happen between every client, mobile or not! A way round is is to use liners for the foot spa such as the Footsie bath spa and liners. Make sure it is clean!!
Nail wraps - there are so many wraps available it is impossible to know where to start with this! Minx is probably the most popular and common nail wrap when looking for a reputable service. These come in packaging clearly marked Minx, if another name is on the wrapper, you are not getting the product you want!
This is not a complete list of products or services, but I hope that this post has given you a little insight and confidence to talk to you therapist about products, to ensure that you are getting the product you want, in a safe and protected way.
Thanks for taking the time to read this.