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"The crazier, the better!": Here's what Irish nail gals had to say about your mani habits

Relax. Your. Hands.

I RARELY GO into a salon without feeling borderline mortified about something, be it going into the hairdressers with offensively greasy hair or hitting my nail gal up with Freddy Krueger cuticles. 

Given that it’s their job, you’d expect them to have seen it all, and even if you’re the exception instead of the rule, they tend to keep shtum about it. But it got me thinking about what’s going in the nail technician’s head as she files down my scabby acrylics, clinging on for dear life.

Two nail artists lifted the lid on their inner thoughts for DailyEdge.ie – take note for the next time you’re going under the lamp!

What is the most annoying thing people can do/ask for when they come to get their nails done by you?

Grace Flood, freelance artists at Cherry On Top Nails: “If it’s a first time client and they say they don’t know what they want, and to leave it to me. 90% of the time this person will comment and change what I’m doing as I go. It drives me insane!”

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Jennifer Swaine. owner of Leeson Beauty Lounge: ”Probably the most annoying thing a client can do is not relax their hands ! It’s impossible to work with. So we give their hand a little shake and a rub and relax them.

We make a joke out of it, AKA scream at them to relax their hand, and they relax immediately.”

Do you judge what people ask for? 

Grace: “I wouldn’t judge, but I suppose their choice does tell me a lot about them. You can tell who’s conservative or who doesn’t give a damn.”

Jennifer: “We never judge what people ask for. The crazier the better! We do lots of nail art and our clients are getting more experimental about it.”

What’s the funniest experience you’ve had/anecdote you’ve heard during your time as a nail tech?

Grace: “Wow, there’s actually been lots, nothing is off the table for conversation. Where we’ve laughed the most was definitely around the time 50 Shades of Grey came out.

Some of my clients, one in particular, was turning her husband into her very own Christian – every nail appointment she had a new update. I’m still emotionally damaged but it was highly entertaining! I love her.”

Jennifer: ”I remember years ago a client who wore nail extensions came back into me after Christmas traumatised! She cooked dinner for over 20 people, and as she was dishing everything up noticed one of her nails was broken off. She searched everywhere for it but didn’t find it.

So either someone ate her nail, or they found it and were too polite to mention it – GROSS!”

What’s the one thing you wish people wouldn’t do?

Grace: ”Put their hands in their mouth as I’m working on the other hand. I know it sounds mad, but some people actually do that.” 

Jennifer: ”Pick their gel polish off! People always ask does the product damage your nails, it doesn’t, but picking it off certainly does!”

Do you reckon people prefer you to be chatty or quiet?

Grace: “I think it depends on the person. If it’s someone new, it can be awkward for them so they might not say much. I’m holding their hand for over an hour, so I will make small talk initially and go from there.

Eventually, with most of my clients, we end up discussing everything and look forward to our next catch up so we can talk about the things we didn’t fit in.”

Jennifer: “Well, you have to suss that out with each client. We have a huge regular clientele and we have the best craic with them, so my salon is maybe the exception!

One lady actually posted a review about us, and the fact she had fun and would recommend us, never mentioned her nails, or that we were a nail salon. 50% of our job is personality!”

Have you ever given life advice while simultaneously dishing out the French manis? If so, what did you say?

Grace: “Absolutely, but only if someone asks my opinion. I don’t like to do that really as I’m not as yes person. If I think they’re wrong, I’ll say it. If they don’t ask for it, I’m good at just listening and understanding where they’re coming from.

I can very naturally put myself in other people’s shoes to see their perspective.

“Sometimes people just want to vent, they don’t need much response or for you to agree or disagree. I can always offer my experiences if I have some on the topic.

I think women are often told they over react or they’re too sensitive. I think they are looking for a bit of support or reassurance.”

Jennifer: “Life advice is dished out regularly! What did we say … “DUMP HIS ASS!”, probably! We can’t tell you the real answer -what’s said in the salon, stays in the salon!”

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What should a “cool person” be getting done with their nails ATM?

Grace: ”What I’m really loving right now is anything goes … But the ‘cool’ people are playing around with negative space and abstract designs. Also, playing off high end label designs on your nails is still really prevalent.”

Jennifer: “Either long gels with bespoke nail art (clients come in with their own ideas, how did we get by without Pinterest!) or short natural nails with special effect finishes eg. chrome & magnetic gel polish.”

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