So, you’re sitting at a manicure station having your nails done, and your nail tech picks up the electric file (or drill, as some people think of the ubiquitous nail salon tool) and goes to work on your fill. Everything’s peachy until suddenly– IT BURNS, PRECIOUSSSS! IT BURNS! Fire shoots through your hand and up your arm from your abused nail plate, and your immediate reaction is pure reflex: you pull your hand away.
Right? You don’t just sit there and let that “nail tech” keep hurting you, do you?
Unfortunately, too many women are allowing exactly that. I see the proof every time I work on a new client, a refugee from a non-standard salon, and see three, four, or more “rings of fire” on the nail plate—you know, those red, half-circle lines that show through your pretty pink and white enhancements? Each one of those lines marks the 30 minutes or so that you sat, willingly, while an unskilled “nail tech” inflicted burning pain on your poor digits. And I have to ask, WHY?
Why do you keep going back? Have you fallen for the “beauty equals pain” fallacy? Is it because those rock-bottom prices are worth a little nail damage? Or are you simply shamed back into your seat because your “nail tech” swats your hand and tells you “don’t be such a baby”?
Here’s a newsflash: Nail services aren’t supposed to hurt. You should be melting into a puddle of goo in your chair, or at the very least, having a nice, relaxing break. If your nails are burning while your operator files on them carelessly with her e-file (or hand file!), it’s your right—and your responsibility–to stop the service.
Let me be clear: you could be sitting in a discount salon, or lounging in the lap of luxury at a fancy day spa, or anywhere in between, and experience this issue. Operators who are poorly trained (or not trained at all) in the use of the electric file work in every level of the nail care industry. And it’s not just e-file users who damage nail plates. A non-skilled tech can do some serious damage with a hand file, so you’re not necessarily safe by asking for “no drills.” So how do you get out of this vicious circle (if you’ll pardon the pun), and find a nail tech who can take care of your nails without inflicting pain and damage?
Start by checking out your girlfriends’ nails. Get referrals from the ones who rave about their techs, and have clear nail plates with no red rings etched in. When you visit the salon for the first time, look around. Does your nail tech have her operator’s license posted in view? That’s a rule in most states, and it’s some proof at least that she’s been to school to learn enough about nail care to get licensed. Also check to see if she has any certificates of participation in continuing education posted. That’s not a rule, but it gives you more information. Feel free to ask—a good tech gets plenty of education and is happy to let you know about it. A really good certificate to see is from an electric file training course. The tech with that piece of paper has been to one or more days of e-file training, and is aware of the safe use of this important salon tool. He or she will know, among other things, that there are bits made especially for use on the natural nail, and will be able to avoid overfiling and leaving those painful rings of fire.
Other things to look for are a clean, well-kept nail station, and evidence that high standards of safety and cleanliness are in effect—all implements and abrasives are properly sanitized and disinfected, for example—which is a whole ‘nuther blog post, but worth mentioning if you’re looking for a well-trained nail tech.
Which is what you’re going to do now, right? Say it with me now so you don’t forget:
Nail services are not supposed to hurt! And I’m not a big baby if I stop the service when it does!
Now get out there and find a nail tech that can turn you into a puddle of goo!