The In’s and Out’s of the Nail Salon

Phoenix Webb

Nail design is an art form. There are colors, textures and lengths that all vary from person to person, and nail technicians are the artists. Nail technicians are professionals who must be licensed by the state of California. According to the California Board of Barbering and Cosmetology, nail technicians must have completed 400 hours of education and have passed the state board certification exam that is written and performed. Most nail salons and technicians offer a menu of services including manicures and acrylic extensions. Nail art may be included with the service or charged as an extra service. Services should be discussed prior to being done. Most nail salons in San Diego are small businesses, and upon entering, one may be greeted and asked what service is wanted, then directed to select a nail polish color. The state board recommends that consumers should look for the technician’s license, as it should be displayed in full view; see if the salon looks clean; notice that the technician washes their hands between clients; the tools used are submerged in Barbicide and if getting a pedicure, it should have been cleaned with soap and water between clients.   Other things to keep in mind when going to a salon, especially if it’s the first visit:

  • Communication must be clear with the nail tech to assure what one is getting.
  • The salon should feel comfortable.
  • Have a clear understanding of how the service is performed prior to starting.
  • If anything feels uncomfortable during the service, or the service was unsatisfactory in any way, tell the technician and they don’t have to be revisited.
  • If the salon isn’t to one’s liking, leave. There are plenty of other nail salons in San Diego.

If getting nail extensions, the most popular is acrylic with or without tips. In order to apply these, the nail tech has to rough up the surface of the natural nail plate with an emery board or a file. Most nail techs in San Diego use an electric nail drill to accomplish this, but be aware: drills are discouraged by industry professionals from being used on the natural nail because it can be damaging to the nail plate. Drills are best used on the acrylic once applied to the nail. Nail tech instructors do not teach students to use drills during the 400 hours of education. One nail technician in San Diego is Adrian Chamberlain, who is the sole manicurist and manager of Styles Unlimited. Chamberlain does acrylics just like she was taught in beauty school: by hand with a 100/180 grit file and a four sided buffer. She also creates all her nail designs with nail polish, glitter and rhinestones, depending upon the client. All nail designs start with nail services performed by a licensed nail technician and with the suggestions listed above, it can be an enjoyable experience.