5 Things You Should Never Do at the Nail Salon

black, white, and nude nails


Though the nail salon may offer a brief, relaxing respite from work and other stresses, many often forget the place has its own set of rules to adhere to. Whether you’re an infrequent guest or a weekly regular (ahem, no judgment from us), you may be surprised by some of the salon etiquette tips we recently learned from Jamie Ahn of Townhouse Spa & Acqua Beauty Bar in NYC.

Read on for her expert take on the five biggest nail salon no-nos.

Manners always matter, but they matter even more in an intimate shared space like a nail salon. To keep your etiquette up to snuff, start by arriving on time. “If you know you need 15 minutes or more to choose your color, please come 15 minutes early to do just that,” Ahn suggests.
If you’re arriving around mealtime, leave your food at home. “Smelling someone’s very pungent dinner is not very relaxing to others and distracts from the spa atmosphere,” Ahn says.

The biggest nail salon no-no on Ahn’s list? “Not sanitizing properly between clients. Files, orangewood sticks, and buffs should be thrown out after every client,” she says. If you notice your nail technician using tired tools on you, speak up and request a fresh set. To be safe, you can also bring your own basic set, like Trim Beauty Care All Purpose Nail Kit ($2).

“Refrain from loudly discussing your personal business or talking on the phone while getting services. It’s rude to other clients as well as your nail tech,” Ahn says. While putting the phone down may be tough, nobody says you can’t Instagram between coats.

It’s not news, but damaging, old-school acrylics are on their way out. “I always tell clients to steer away from acrylic nails,” Ahn echoes. If you need a manicure with longevity, opt for gels, or bring your own polish from home so you can touch your nails up when they inevitably chip. We currently like Essie Take It Outside ($9) and Burberry Beauty Nail Polish ($21) in Elderberry.

While most beauty trends seem to cycle in and out of popularity with time, beware of the notably passé. Ahn suggest avoiding “thick white-tipped French manicures, especially with rhinestones,” and “long stiletto nails, unless you want to poke yourself in the eyes."

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