Nailed It

Decoding salon services. 

Finishing touches on a French manicure. 

t seems like there are as many salon services as there are polish colors—and they involve way more than painting on a pretty color. We learned that simpler services are less expensive, but aren’t as eye catching—and don’t last as long—as other options.

For a standard manicure, the technician usually removes any old polish, trims and shapes the nails, grooms the cuticles, moisturizes the hands, and paints on a new coat of polish. A spa manicure kicks it up a notch by adding services like a hand massage, exfoliation, and a moisturizing wax treatment to the standard manicure.

A French manicure is actually a paint style, not a service technique. In the classic version, the technician paints your nail bed pale pink or clear and the tips white. The modern variety uses colorful paint, glitter, or metallics on the tips, sometimes paired with neutral nails in shades of pink, beige, or gray.

For nails sure to be noticed, add art. Dots, geometric shapes, ombre blends, pictures, logos, beads, mix and match colors … the only limit is your creativity—and the steadiness of your technician’s hand. 

If you love nail art but generally wreck a manicure in a day or two, ask for gel. Using special polish cured with a UV or LED light, gel manicures last about two weeks. Prefer longevity over art? Try dip powder nails. The color is an acrylic powder that’s brushed and fused onto the nail (actually dipping into the jar is unhygienic). It creates a thick, durable finish that lasts up to four weeks.

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