In an era where convenience is King, it is more important now than ever that clients put more thought into choosing the right nail technician/salon.

Unfortunately for us in the UK, the industry is not regulated. Unlike the USA and Australia, the UK at present does not require nail technicians to hold licences, this means no exams, no minimum standard of knowledge of what they do or a minimum standard of hygiene practices. The burden lies on clients to do their research.

Here’s why quickest and cheapest isn’t always the best option:

1. Products

Many non-standard salons (NSS) operate with profits as their top priority. They rush clients in and out because the more people they can get in and out of their doors, the larger their profits. What this means for you the client – it is likely they will use the cheapest products out there to maximise their profit margins. This could mean mixing acrylic monomer with Methyl Methacrylate (MMA/dental acrylic), buying £1 a bottle gel polish off the internet with no care as to the contents, etc.

Aside from the finish look which will undoubtedly be inferior to quality products, products that don’t meet regulation standards can cause severe allergic reactions and leave clients with permanent damage and lifelong allergies.

2. Selection

I will start this off openly admitting I am biased as a hoarder or colour, glitter and all manner of nail adornments. This is only so because we are not all cut from the same mould, we have different likes and dislikes, different perceptions of what we find attractive. My personal excuse for having such a selection of products is so that my clients can go away with exactly what they came in for and not be disappointed with a meagre selection of the primary colours. Your nails are a personal expression, they really should be everything you want them to be. After all, it is virtually impossible to hide your hands and an enhancement which isn’t to your liking will only grind on you as the weeks pass.

3. Qualifications

You wouldn’t let someone operate on you without being a qualified surgeon and the same should apply to your nail technician or any one performing a treatment on your body.

Your nail technician should be qualified in all the services they offer. For instance a nail tech might be qualified in Acrylics but not qualified to use an electronic file (nail drill), so whilst your acrylics might look great, improper and untrained use of an e-file will still mean damage your natural nails.

A qualified nail tech will also know how to get the best out of the services they offer, this means longer lasting and more beautiful enhancements for clients.

Education also means your nail tech will be in the best possible position to advise you on what nails would suit your lifestyle so you get the best out of your enhancements. For instance, extreme length nails might not be ideal for someone who works on a supermarket till.

4. Atmosphere & Location

Part of an enjoyable service for many is the atmosphere of the salon. Some clients prefer a quiet salon whilst others prefer busy and vibrant, it really is a matter of personal preference. Do you want a chat or do you want to be passed around in a “conveyor belt” type “production line”? In my experience, most clients unconsciously use their appointments as therapy sessions. Choose atmospheres that will enhance your experience.

Location is also key, choose a nail technician who works from a location that is easily accessible. If you choose to maintain your enhancements, you don’t want to be dreading the trek to the nail salon. It takes away from your positive experience.

5. Cost

It is so important that you choose a nail technician who is honest with you. Whilst your patronage will be contributing to your wage, you do not want to feel pressured to spend more than you have budgeted because of constant up-selling. Again, this takes away from a positive treatment experience and indicates the technician prioritises profits over their client’s needs.

On a final note, clients should also ask themselves, how places like NSS and some techs can offer rock bottom prices. Are they cutting corners with your safety and/or the overall finish of the enhancement? Higher prices may be an indicator of investment into their skills, knowledge, hygiene processes, products, location, demand, etc.