Is Your Manicurist Doing a Good Job?

Published on Aug 31, 2012

Have you ever wondered why some manicurists can take 15 minutes to do a classic manicure and others 45 minutes?

Read this article and don’t get shortchanged by rogue manicurists anymore!


We have with us Sunni from Urban Nail & Beauty to share with us what the essential steps of a manicure are and possibly some tips and tricks to spot if your manicurist is doing a good job.

#1: Keeping the salon and instruments used clean

“Many customers think that the work starts from removing the nail polish but really, much of the work happens before customers even step in.” Sunni shares. Every night before the shop closes, she would clean the instruments and sterilize them in hot water before opening for business the next day. This step is a crucial one, according to podiatrists Dr. Robert Spalding, author of “Death by Pedicure” and Dr Robert Klein. The process of manicure and pedicure is a breeding ground for fungal, bacterial and even herpes infections.

Nail infections

You may not be able to tell if your local manicurists actually sterilize their instruments properly but look out for these 10 warning signs you should NOT step into the salon.

#2: Remove nail polish cleanly

Some manicurists do a sloppy job of removing your old nail polish. but really, new nail colour will stay longer only on a clean nail surface. For typical nail polish, normal nail polish remover is required. Gelish nail removal is just slightly more complex and is often called a “Soak-off”.  Note: Most salons charge extra for Soak-off!

remove polish

1. Wrap each nail in an acetone soaked cotton ball.

wrapped nail in foil

2. Wrap with foil to protect.


3. Leave for 5 minute and it should wipe off. Excess nail colour should be removed.

#3: Remove Cuticle thoroughly

Depending on whether you go for Express or Classic Manicure, your manicurist may then remove the cuticle, a thin, colorless layer of skin that rides on the nail plate, to give your nail a “cleaner” look. (Cuticle removal is often skipped during express manicures)

Soak in milk

1. Soak the nails in a warm bowl of water to help soften the cuticle. Some salons such as Urban Nail & Beauty has been known to use milk to soften the cuticle? The lactic acid in milk is apparently more effective in softening the cuticle.

Apply cuticle removal gel

2. Apply a small amount of cuticle removal gel to soften the cuticle and let it sit.


3. Use a clean cuticle pusher to push back the cuticle.

Removing cuticle

4. Remove excess cuticle on the side with a cuticle nipper.

#4: Shaping the Nail

1. File the nail from corner towards the centre for an oval shape or front of the nail for a square shape

Apply cuticle oil

1. Apply cuticle oil to moisturize nail and prepare nail for buffing.

Buffing the nail

2. Buff the nail to remove any leftover nail colour and smoothen the nail surface for longer lasting nail colour.

TIP: A good manicurist would then apply some hand cream and give you a pampering hand and arm massage.

#5: Apply Nail Polish

1. Apply base coat to protect the nails and give the nail colour a better grip on the nail.

Apply nail polish

2. Apply two coats of nail polish

TIP: After applying the second coat, swipe across nail to “cover” nail tip and minimize chipping!

Apply top coat

3. Apply top coat to protect nail colour and minimize chipping and peeling.

Apply quick dry

4. Apply Quick Dry to speed up drying of the nail. Note that some salons charge extra for quick dry!Go for some old-fashioned nail drying and you are good to go!

nail drier

That’s all we have for now. Leave us a comment if you have more tips to share!

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