6 Simple Rules for Nail Salon Etiquette

A visit to the nail salon in the middle of a hectic week at the office can be a pretty relaxing experience. However, it can be equally stressful if you do not know how to navigate the salon protocol.

What do you do if you don’t like your nail filing job? How much should you tip? How do you voice your opinions without upsetting or offending your go-to aesthetician? If you ever find yourself in any of these circumstances, you need to handle the situation in the best way possible. Otherwise, you may have to start looking for a new beauty professional.

Besides being polite and respectful, there are other nail salon etiquette tips you can observe. These tips will enhance your nail salon experience as well as your interaction with other clients and staff.

1. Making and Keeping Appointments

Making appointments beforehand, at least 24 hours in advance where possible, is a great way to make sure you are served the moment you get into the nail parlour. This is particularly important if the nail salon has a busy schedule. This way, you avoid having to wait in line to be attended to.

If, for some reason, you can’t honour the appointment, let the salon staff know as soon as possible. Chances are that there was someone else on the waiting list who would be more than happy to take your slot or a walk-in customer who would like to have their nails done urgently.

Also, keep in mind that time is a precious commodity, both for you and the salon staff. Be punctual for all your appointments. In case you’re running late, call ahead.

2. Tipping

The standard tip is usually 20% of the total cost of the services, including taxes, or 2$ for a low-cost service such as a polish change. If you receive exceptional service, it’s okay to tip above the standard rate.

When tipping, the issue is also not about what you tip but how you tip. Although most people tend to settle their salon bill using credit cards, it’s better to use cash when tipping your service provider. This ensures the tip goes directly to the person you intend to thank.

Avoid being the nail salon’s “bad tipper.” This notwithstanding, you are not obligated to tip your technician. According to salon policies, the only thing you must pay for is the cost of service.

Tipping should ideally be done as a form of appreciation for a job well done. For most salon workers who earn low wages, the extra cash goes a long way in making ends meet.

3. Picking a Polish

Imagine going to a nail salon hoping to get your nails done in the shortest time possible only to find a long line held up by another customer who can’t seem to settle on a nail polish colour. Pretty irritating, right? This throws off the entire nail salon schedule for that particular day and forces the staff to work extra fast to make up for the lost time.

If you haven’t decided what nail polish colour you want, arrive early to have enough time to play around with the colours and still enjoy full service. You can also carry your nail polish bottle from home to get the exact signature shade you want. Some salons may also have a nail wheel, which lets you preview different colours before settling on one that matches your skin tone.

4. Communicate Your Preferences

Communication is critical, especially in the service industry. A business needs to communicate with its clients the kind of services it offers. On their part, clients are expected to inform the business of their needs, wants and expectations.

When getting your nails done, let the technician know of any preferences you may have for the nail polish service. Pay attention during the service and speak up if you are not happy about the way something looks.

Don’t wait until the service is done to complain about unflattering nail polish colours or designs. If you have ticklish feet, let your technician know so they can adjust the treatment to fit your needs. If you have sensitive skin, say so.

5. Get off the Phone

As attached as you might be to your phone, keep it away until your nail treatment is done. If you have to make or receive a call, use a low tone and keep it brief.

Texting while getting your nails done is a definite no-no. You might end up smudging your nails in the process. This also makes the technician’s job harder as you are required to be still during the treatment.

6. Mind Your Space

A nail salon is a public place, meaning you have to be careful not to interfere with the comfort of other clients. For instance, if you notice that a client is sitting on the edge of a seat because your bags are eating into their space, arrange them so they don’t take up too much space or hog other clients’ sitting spaces.

Kelly Young is a writer born and raised in Toronto. Proud of her simple and cozy life, a perfect evening for Kelly would be to snuggle up in bed with her cat and a well-written historic memoir.