How to tell if your nail salon is a good one

There’s nothing like a nice, well-deserved mani-pedi to brighten your week and make your fingers and toes feel clean and cute. But what about when you have an annoying experience? If you are someone who has had frequent manicures and pedicures, you’ve probably had that one nail tech who has just totally screwed up your nails, or worse, cause you to have a bad experience while you’re there. Getting a mani-pedi these days isn’t cheap; even if you go to a less expensive salon in your area, if you get gel or acrylic it can be an upwards of $50, plus tip! That is a lot for not being pampered, or getting good work done. To avoid having a bad experience at a nail salon, check out my tips that I learned from experience on how to tell if your nail salon is a good one.


  1. First Impressions are everything

First impressions are a sure-fire way to know if any business is a good one from the start. When you walk in the door, you should be greeted with a smile and by being acknowledged by the nail tech. Someone should come quickly to greet you, check you in, and if you have to wait, make sure that you are comfortable and let you know how long the wait will be. Better yet, I’d recommend calling ahead. If you call ahead, you can get a feel for how rushed the salon is. If it is a busy time, then it can be a good thing that the salon is popular, but they should also be willing to take the time to speak kindly to you and answer all of your questions. Don’t be afraid to ask a lot of your questions, if they want your business then they will be kind enough to give you the information you need. Further, if the salon has a dedicated receptionist this is a bonus!


2. Cleanliness

The atmosphere of a place is important, but if you don’t like the music, the decor or the magazine selection they very well could be a great salon, so don’t judge a book by its cover in this case. What you can judge, however, is the cleanliness. The water should be freshly clean, there should be a very obvious use of cleaning supplies in your nail tech’s kit, and you should experience a fresh change of paper and water when they scrub your feet. They should also have plastic or paper to catch anything that might fall for the next person. Your nail tech should be clean, too and professional looking.


3. How are they working

If you made it into a clean atmosphere with a friendly greeting, then you may have decided to go ahead and get your pedicure started. Are they working to make you comfortable? At good nail salons, they will let you take your time to pick your color, then offer you a magazine, water, pillow and show you how to choose the massage setting on your chair. If a nail tech rushes you to your seat, puts in any massage setting and makes little effort to communicate with you about your comforts, that’s not a good sign. Your nail tech has probably done a pedicure a thousand times, but they should be also paying attention to the detail and the work hey are doing. If your nail tech is laughing and gabbing to the gal next to you, you probably have no idea what they are saying or if they are talking about you. Your nail tech should be mindful of they way they are making you comfortable not only physically, but socially. After all, you are paying for the overall experience; a service, not just a product. If your pedicure is terrible, DO NOT go on to get your nails done, it’s highly likely that the quality of work will be the same for your nails as it was your toes.

4. Patience, please! 

If you have successfully made it past the pedi and are on to your manicure, congratulations: you may have found a good nail salon. Sometimes, the same person will do your nails and toes and sometimes, they will hand you off. A different person can do completely different work, so pay attention. Your nail experience should take time. If you already have paint, acrylic or gel on your nails when you come in, then the first step should be to let your hands soak. They should lift up your hands to check your nails and cuticles and place it back in the warm water if it’s not ready yet. If you have a nail tech that rushes you out of the water to scrub off the old residue, that’s a big red flag. The nail tech should let your hands soak, give you a nice lotioned massage, and then begin to cut your cuticle carefully. If your nail tech isn’t even looking at you while they cut your cuticles, beware, that can become painful real quickly if they cut too far. Second, they should nicely and neatly wrap your gel in foil, not wad it all up and do a sloppy job. Neatness, attention to detail, and paying attention to the way you are feeling are all good signs of a good nail salon.

5. Consider going to a hair salon with a nail station

Many times, it can be easy to look for the cheapest option or just Google “nail salon”, but many times, professional hair salons have nails stations and that won’t show up on your Yelp or Google search. They very often will hire individuals who can speak English and tailor to your needs that way. The same rules for telling if it’s a good nail salon apply, be sure to test for friendliness, transparency with pricing, and on what services they will provide, etc. to see if it is a good option for you.



Remember etiquette: Just as a nail salon and tech have the responsibility of treating you as a valued customer, so also do you have etiquette to maintain. Try not to be insulting or rude to your tech, if they messed up, kindly but firmly ask them to fix their mistakes. Second, be sure to tip for a job well done. If they job wasn’t well done, you can ask them to fix it or even see if there is a manager or owner on staff.

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1 Comment

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    August 3, 2017 at 10:51 pm

    i hope its helpful to her too 🙂

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