A Guide to Your Best Salon Manicure

If there is one thing I am anal about, it is my nails. I’ve always been this way, thanks to my mom and grandma, both of which had standing weekly nail appointments that they would not miss, rain or shine, sickness or health. I started getting my nails done really early, wanting to emulate my mom and grandma’s perfect manicures and pedicures I so admired. To this day, if there is anything I am finicky about, it is my nails. I really believe you can get a sense of someone’s overall hygiene by looking at their hands and feet (even men!)

But as you probably know, not all nail salons are created equal. I am regular at one salon which I’ve been going to for many years, because I know it is clean, consistent, relaxing, and most importantly, professional.

Bellacures is really the only place I will get my nails done, so I decided to sit down with them again and make sure I (and you) get the most out of my weekly visits. Here, a guide to your best salon manicure, as told by Bellacures!

What is the difference between cutting and pushing back your cuticles?

Cuticles require TLC and maintenance to keep the nail clean. When you push back your cuticle, you are simply using a tool to push any skin that is on the nail bed back. When you cut your cuticles, you are using a cuticle cutter to remove excess skin by cutting it off. Many experts agree that pushing cuticles back is the best method to avoid infection, as if they are cut improperly, it allows bacteria to enter the body; however, many people like the clean look cutting the cuticle gives. 

How can you ensure that the tools the salon you are at are using clean tools?

This is so important! Bellacures uses an autoclave, which is a hospital-grade sterilization machine. All metal tools are placed in a sealed paper package and then steamed at an extremely high temperature to ensure all bacteria that might be on the metal is killed. You can make sure by observing that your manicurist is opening a paper sterilization package for all metal tools or simply just ask them how they sterilize their tools. 

What is the average tip for a salon manicure? Do the pedicurists get more than the manicurists, or is it equal?

As a general rule, you should tip based off the cost of service. 15-20% is the average. Of course, you can do more or less based off of your experience!

What are the different kind of nail shapes you can ask for?

The most popular are square, “squoval” (square with rounded edges), rounded and almond shaped. 

Are UV/LED lights bad for your longterm hand skin health? Is one better than the other, why?

LED lights are said to be safer and they offer a faster drying time than UV lights; however, both emit UVA rays. While your hands are only under the light for a short period of time, UVA ray exposure can increase your risk of skin cancer. Research is still being done, so it is hard to say, but you can apply sunscreen or wear fingerless gloves to be safe. 

Why is it important to choose a non-toxic polish?

Non-toxic polishes are important as they don’t have dangerous ingredients and chemicals in them. At Bellacures, all of our regular nail polishes are 3-free. We also have 7-free long wear Dazzle Dry polish. These polishes don’t contain the toxic chemicals that are known to be included in nail polish formulations such as formaldehyde, formaldehyde resin, toluene, etc. 

Do you have any “off menu” secrets at Bellacures?
Definitely! Try the “organic vegan sugar scrub” add-on. 

If you do not see a color you love, is it possible to ask the manicurist to mix colors?

Of course! Technicians are happy to help and can work with you to create a custom blend if needed. You can always ask for one coat of one color and a second coat of another.

Any other salon etiquette tips?

It is always polite to try to not talk on the phone, as others are trying to relax. Use this time to unplug! Take calming deep breaths and shut your eyes for meditation or try to enjoy an old fashioned book or magazine. 

Image Credit: Patricia van der Vliet for Vogue Japan September 2013

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