How To Tell The Nail Tech What You Want

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Ever had the experience of leaving a nail salon disappointed with the result of your manicure? Maybe you were expecting the shape, length, or design to be different. 

Yes, you can try to have it redone. But that would take time to do once again, not to mention the additional chemicals and nail abuse. Let’s prevent that from ever happening again by going over how to tell your nail tech what you want

By being able to express yourself clearly using the common industry terms, you can get the results you are expecting to get! You’ll end up going home happy with the great job that they did on your nails. 


How To Tell The Nail Tech What You Want

To make sure that you get what you want out of your manicure or pedicure, you should be able to tell your nail tech exactly what you want. Precise explanation leaves no room for guesswork, and you will be satisfied with the results. 

You’ll need to pick a nail service, choose a color, determine the length and shape, and inform the nail tech about any designs or nail art.

You’ll need to pick a nail service, choose a color, determine the length and shape, and inform the nail tech about any designs or nail art.

Although there may be limitations in what you want, there are still a few things you can decide on. Some of the different things to decide on when having your nails done by a nail technician are as follows:

1. Type Of Manicure: Acrylic Nails, Gel Nails, Dip Nails, etc.

One of the first things that you should talk about with your nail technician is the type of manicure that you want to get. There are many different types of manicures to choose from. Before you select one, it would be best to know what they are so you’ll know what to expect. 

The most common types of nail services that nail salons offer are:

Gel nails: Uses a hard gel to form the nail, and can be applied directly to the natural nail or to nail extensions. Need UV light to cure, and involves three coats: a base coat, a color coat, and a top coat. Lasts around 2 weeks

Acrylic Nails: uses acrylic forms and tips, and can also be applied directly to the natural nail or (more commonly) as artificial extensions. Acrylic finishes are a blend of a monomer liquid and various powders which color the nail. Acrylics can last 2+ months.

Polygel Nails: Polygels are a blend of acrylic and gel nails. They consist of gel applied to forms on your natural nail, with color applied as a separate layer. Like gel nails, these need LED or UV light to cure. Lasts 3-4 weeks.

Dip Powder Nails: Also commonly called SNS nails. This process is similar to acrylics, but you dip the nails in colored powders rather than paint on color. Dip nails last 3-6 weeks.

Silk Wrap Nails: Silk wraps are made using a silk mesh as a form, which is applied on top of the nail. Sometimes linen or fiberglass is used as well. These nails feel very light, and can look great, but isn’t offered at many salons. Lasts about 2 weeks.

Traditional Lacquer Nails – The standard polish that you’ve seen a billion times before. If done well, this can last for up to two weeks.

2. Nail Shape 

Another thing to decide on is the shape of the nail. You can have your natural nails filed to the shape and length you want, or you can have the acrylics or gel shaped into whatever shape you want your nails to be. 

The most common nail shapes are:

  • Round
  • Square
  • Almond
  • Squoval
  • Coffin
  • Stiletto
  • Oval
  • Ballerina

However, the nail shape choices don’t stop there. There are also more artistic shapes like flare, lipstick, arrowhead, and edge. 

3. Nail Length 

The nail length goes hand in hand with the nail shape. Some nail shapes cannot be done if your nails are too short or too long. Be reminded that some nail products can allow you to lengthen your nails if you wish to. 

Additionally, nail tips or extensions are also available to add length to your nails.

Together with acrylics or gel, the extensions can lengthen your nails while still providing ample support for them. 

You’ll want to say you want acrylic tips, or you would like to add tips to your nails

4. Nail Color

Another thing to decide on is the color of your nails. It’s not just red anymore! There are endless colors to choose from, but your color choices will be limited by what is available in the nail salon you are going to, and on the nail format you want. 

Ask your nail technician to show you their collection so that you can choose the nail color that you want. If the nails you want coming in various colors, you can also choose two or more depending on your preference. See our guide for choosing nail colors based on your skin tone.

In some nail salons, they’ll be able to show you the bottle or the product itself so you can choose the color you’d like. For some, they’ll show you swatches so you can see what they look like when used. 

5. Design

You can tell your nail technician what you want, or draw it. However, it is always better if you show them a picture for inspiration. There are endless different nail designs, particularly for artificial nails, and you’re only limited by your imagination.

Sometimes, the design you want might need other additional tools or products to use like stones, stamps, etc. Check to make sure the salon has what you’re looking for before starting with the manicure so that you’ll know what to expect. 

It’s also a good idea to ask your nail tech for her ideas! Do you want to be surprised with a funky design? If so, let the pro work their magic! Or do you have a specific design in mind? Ask how it might be improved.

6. Finish 

The two most common finishes that the nails can come in are matte and glossy. You may even combine them depending on the design that you want to achieve. 

These are usually topcoats applied as the last coat on the nails. However, if you are adding extra embellishments, the embellishments, jewels, or rhinestones may sit above the top coat. 

7. Removal

You can remove traditional nail polish easily at home. But most of the other nail finishes like gels and acrylics are more complicated to remove, and often involve soaking the fingers in acetone for long periods of time.

While you can remove any nail finish at home, most salons will recommend you come back for removal. This is almost always an additional cost, so confirm the removal process before you start.

While you can remove any nail finish at home, most salons will recommend you come back for removal. This is almost always an additional cost, so confirm the removal process before you start.

Finding a Good Nail Salon and Nail Technician

Ever got frustrated with a nail technician because you didn’t get what you wanted? Before putting all of the blame on the nail technician, assess the situation first. 

There are many reasons why your nails may not end up exactly the way you wanted. In some cases, the nail technician could be to blame if they just did a bad job or didn’t understand you. 

However, most nail technicians want you to get the perfect manicure for your nails. Often, the reason could be a simple misunderstanding. It is possible that they didn’t understand what you want, or you didn’t explain it well to them. 

There are also some instances when the design you have in mind just isn’t going to work on your nails.

For example, maybe you show up at the salon with short nails want to have gel polish on them, but wants your nails longer as well. Gel polishes are a type of overlay and can’t be used alone to lengthen the nail. 

Unless nail extensions or acrylics are used, short nails can’t magically be made longer just by using gel polishes. Understanding the limitations of what can be done (and what can’t be done) will help you achieve the service you want, realistically. 

A Picture is Worth 1000 Words

One of the best ways to make sure that you get what you want is to show the nail technician a picture of the results that you want. From there, they could discuss with you the different methods that they could use to achieve your goal. 

One of the best ways to make sure that you get what you want is to show the nail technician a picture of the results that you want.

It is also possible that some may not be able to achieve exactly what they want because they don’t have enough artistic skills to create what you’ve got outlined. Some may also not have the right tools to do whatever it is that you want for your nails. 

Many nail artists use English as a second language, and in these cases, it can be difficult to tell your nail tech specific details. Try to keep your explanations simple and as clear as possible. Avoid slang or overly complicated words if possible.

When is the Right Time to Tell Your Nail Technician What You Want?

You want to explain your ideas and design goals to your nail artist before you get your manicure started, and also during the process. If something is happening that you’re not expecting, ask about it and get some clarity before continuing. It’s better to iron out any issues as they come up instead of getting to the point where everything is done and the cake is baked.

What To Consider Before Making a Nail Appointment

The results that you want to achieve will depend on a few things. You need to consider the following before you go for your nail appointment for a smoother process: 

1. What Do You Want?

One of the first things to decide on is what you want your nails to look like. To do this, you can look at pictures of nail art online.

Your nail tech will be able to copy the design, and a good nail technician will be able to use it as a jumping-off point for an original design. 

It is always best to know what you want before you go to the salon so that it would be easier for you to answer them when they ask you questions. 

2. How Long Are You Willing To Stay In The Salon?

Another thing you should consider is the amount of time you are willing to spend in the salon. Some types of nails can take a long while to complete compared to others. 

If you are in a rush, you might want to opt for a specific method over another. When going to the salon, it is always best to free your schedule so that you don’t rush them and so that they can do everything properly. 

3. How Long Do You Want Nails To Last?

Another thing to decide on is the lasting capacity of the nails. Some nails will certainly outlast others. If you want durable and long-lasting nails, it is better to choose acrylics rather than simple nail polishes. 

Plus, you also need to know how to take proper care of your nails to make them last longer so you can avoid repeated visits to the salon. Proper aftercare is essential to make sure that you don’t damage the nails prematurely as well. 

4. How Much Are You Willing To Spend? 

Different types of manicures also come in different price ranges. It is important to know how much you are willing to pay for the nails that you want. 

The price of the manicure will also vary from one salon to another. It will also depend on how intricate the design you want. If it takes a lot more work to do, you can expect it will cost more. 

Some nail technicians may charge higher than others because of their skills and experience. Read the reviews and know whether they are worth it or not. 

Written by Kayla Young

Kayla is the founder of LuxeLuminous. She has worked professionally in the tanning industry for years. She has been interested in esthetics since childhood, and has tried every hair, skin, and makeup product ever produced (more or less).