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14 Secrets From a Nail Artist That’ll Make Your Life Easier

Lubov Martynova is an expert nail artist with a lot of experience. She has a blog where she shares the secrets of taking care of your nails and reveals interesting things about the industry in general.

We think that many of the Bright Side readers will find these nail secrets very useful.

How often you need to get your nails done

Some people think that you can’t keep gel polish on for more than 14 days. Others are convinced that this coverage is like tank armor and you can keep it on for as long as you want.

The general recommendation (depending on the manufacturer of the polish) is 14 days. But I think the optimal time is about 3 weeks.

If you keep it on for longer, there is a huge chance that it will break and peel. Dirt and moisture might get under the polish, which could lead to serious trouble, including fungus.

Why you can’t remove gel nail polish by yourself

Once, a client came to me who had had her gel nail polish on for 1.5 months and then removed it by herself. She had actually removed the upper layer of the nail itself. This made her nails very thin.

This could have been fixed with some acrylic powder but the client didn’t like this idea and just asked me to do the regular gel nails. After the procedure, I told her again that she’d had the previous polish on for too long and that the new cover would not work well. She said she understood that.

But a few days later, she sent this picture:

When you can’t see an artist and it’s been 4+ weeks since your last visit, just use a nail file to carefully shape your nails. Don’t try to remove the polish on your own and get yourself an appointment as soon as possible.

How to take care of your manicure at home

To make sure your nails are healthy, you need to have regular procedures.

  • Use hand oils and creams, especially in the fall and winter when your skin gets very little moisture.
  • Use cuticle oil and be careful while you’re doing it. You should do this 1.5-2 weeks after your manicure. It’s better to use orange sticks for your nails after an evening shower, while the skin is still warm.
  • Use gloves to protect your nails from detergents.
  • Drink more water and take vitamins.

Why you might feel uncomfortable using an LED lamp

You have most likely had unpleasant sensations while drying your polish under a LED lamp. Very often, artists say that you are too sensitive, but this is not always the reason.

You may feel a burning sensation because the artist put on too much base layer. Another reason may be that when they removed the previous polish, the layer of the previous base was too thin (it should be about 5-10 %).

If you have a burning sensation that is very uncomfortable, take your hand out right away. Wait for your nails to cool down (this should take about 3-4 seconds) and put your hand back in again. Important: When you take your hands out, don’t turn them because the base layer might get deformed.

Your nails need to take a break from polish from time to time.

In my own experience, it all depends on the nails. If they look healthy and not too thin, you don’t need a break. Just make sure you change your polish often enough.

If your nails are thin, you need to see an artist and remove the polish correctly (without using the special liquid that dries both the nails and the skin around them). After that, don’t use gel polish for 2-3 months, to give the nails enough time to heal. During this healing, you can use special treatment polishes and cuticle oil.

How to sanitize tools efficiently

I follow a very important rule: the number of manicure toolsets has to be the same as or bigger than the number of people I can see in a day. In my case, this means 6. Otherwise, there is just no time to sanitize all my tools.

I use an ultra-sound bath. I put in the disinfecting solution and put the tools in for 15 minutes. Many nail artists only do this, but I’m also a fan of disinfection. So, after that, I also use a milling cutter.

After the solution and the cutter, I put all the tools into a bag and put the bag into a 180°С sterilizer for thermal disinfection. The bag itself should only be opened in the presence of the client, who can see that everything is safe.

Is it easy to do a manicure for men?

In fact, working with men is very easy. They sit quietly because they feel awkward, then they just say “thank you” and leave.

A day in the life of a nail artist

My first client is usually at 10 am. And every client takes about 2 hours and 30 minutes. If I can do it faster, I will have some extra break time. But sometimes, I’m still working with the first client when the second one comes in, which means I don’t have any time to rest at all. I have about 4-5 clients a day (which is 10-12 hours of work).

I’m usually completely free at about 10 pm or a bit later.

Why nail artists don’t like certain clients

  • Because I have a lot of clients, it may be a bit uncomfortable when a client comes 20 minutes before the appointment. I’m almost never free, so they just have to sit on the couch and watch TV.
  • Some women come with their children, friends, or husbands. If this happens, they also have to wait.
  • I hate it when people ask to reschedule their appointments. I understand that anything can happen, but when the same client asks to reschedule several times, this is really annoying. It usually means she is not coming at all.
  • Sometimes, clients ask to change places with other clients. So I have to call everyone and ask them if they are ready to switch places with a person they don’t know.
  • Sometimes, clients start asking me how much I earn. Do you really think I can tell you the truth?

How nail artists may be telling you that they want a tip

Once, I was on Instagram and I saw some stories there. My colleague talked about how to hint to a client that you want tips. The colleague just “forgot” several bills on the work table. It worked like this: the artist would come to the workspace with a new client and say, “Oh, the previous client left this as a thank you. So nice of her!”

Many clients fell for this manipulation and also gave her tips. Nobody wants to feel worse than other people. By the way, some people in the comment section said that this trick was also used by taxi drivers.

“$25 for the manicure and $3 for the coffee”

A woman I know (Mary) went to a beauty salon for a manicure before an important business meeting. She arrived right on time, but the artist was still busy, so the receptionist offered Mary a cup of coffee.

Coffee makes waiting less annoying, right?

The artist was then free and invited Mary over to their station. The job was done fast and very well. Mary said that she even forgot she had to wait.

But the receptionist didn’t and said, “It’s $25 for the manicure and $3 for the coffee.” Mary was shocked. Of course, she didn’t make a scene and just paid the money, but what if she didn’t bring enough money for the coffee? Would they make her wait for her husband to bring the money?

Any good salon should offer free tea and coffee.

How I got my gel polish removed at a salon

I always do my manicures myself. It is very time-consuming, but I can be sure about the quality. Once, before my birthday, I decided to get the polish removed at a beauty salon because doing it on my own was always difficult. I can do it on my left hand (I’m right-handed), but the other way around is a nightmare.

I called several beauty salons that were not far from home and found an artist that wasn’t busy. I asked her to leave the old base layer (which is necessary when you do the removal with a machine, otherwise you can damage the nail badly). She said, “No problem!” and... removed the base layer.

After this procedure, my nails were beyond sensitive. It was the first time in my life that I felt that my nails could hurt. It was even hard to reach into a bag to pay for something. I don’t know if I will ever trust my nails to someone else other than myself.

How long it takes to become a professional nail artist

It would be so cool to just go to bed and wake up as a professional programmer, chef, or ...nail artist. But this is not how things really work, unfortunately.

Some artists believe that all you need is a basic introductory course, and you’re good to go. And others are constantly learning new things and techniques. In my opinion, there is always room for improvement.

Here is the non-exhaustive list of courses I’ve taken so far: “Basic course of manicure and nail design,” “Speed,” “Commercial nail designs,” “Instructions,” “Pigments,” “Combined manicure,” “Thin lines,” and “Strength of nails.”

Do you have a nail artist you trust and regularly see? Share your experiences in the comment section below!