Nails: How do you treat damaged nails in the salon?
Marie-Louise Coster looks at professional services you should be including in your manicure treatments.
Nails are big business, now more than ever before, and more and more clients are looking to grow and maintain their own natural nail.
Sometimes I feel like we are so busy with gel polishing and nail art that we have forgotten what amazing work can be achieved with a treatment manicure - I mean, when was the last time you did a manicure that included exfoliation, masking, massage even? There are so many fabulous ranges, and specific salon treatments available, as well as home care products to retail, I would say you are missing a trick if you are ignoring this area of the market.
Our lives are getting busier and more hectic and we are sacrificing time for ourselves so when we do treat ourselves we want to be made to feel special, pampered and relaxed. Next time your client comes in for her manicure, discuss with her what she wants to get out of her treatment – yes she may want lovely painted fingernails but she may also be concerned by her dry hands or perhaps a more specific massage for some relaxation. Whatever her reasons for having a manicure find this out during the consultation so as you can give her what she considers to be a perfect manicure.
There are many variations and extras that can be added to the standard manicure routine to make it more luxurious:
Exfoliation & Mask
The addition of an exfoliator and mask will increase the overall effectiveness of all other products you use on the skin. Exfoliating prior to the hand and arm massage will remove dead skin making the skin more responsive to the massage cream, follow the massage with a mask to further nourish and moisturise the skin.
This is another perfect addition for those with dry skin or cracked hands. The paraffin itself is particularly moisturising and can come with a variety of added ingredients such as essential oils that could aid relaxation. Just be wary of allergies if using paraffin wax with added ingredients.
For those clients seeking relaxation, hot stones are a particularly effective addition to the manicure routine. They make a beautiful addition to the massage, and the cosy stones can be used in between the fingers whilst painting the nails to add a little more stress relief.
If you don't offer Hot Stone Treatments perhaps you could incorporate some reflexology within the massage element of your manicure. Not only will this be relaxing but also rebalancing to the body as a whole.
These are perfect for clients with rheumatism, arthritis and poor circulation, as well as moisturising and nourishing the hands. The heat from the mitts not only relieves aches and pains but penetrates the massage cream deeper into the skin making the product more effective and moisturising.
If your client is specifically looking for help with nail damage the above options won't be enough. Go through a thorough consultation to find out the extent of the damage, the cause etc and put together a treatment programme to help provide a solution.
Nail damage can cover a wide spectrum of things - thin nails, brittle nails, flaking/peeling nails, bitten nails, trauma due to incorrect removal of nail enhancements…the list goes on.
Commonly, these days, we are seeing more and more damage from the gel manicure, with so many clients saying to me that having gel nails (or Shellac as they call it because that is what they think the service is, they still can't seem to grasp that Shellac is a brand!) ruined their nails. I can't tell you how many times, like you I am sure, I have explained to the client that gel polish does not damage their nails - it is impossible - but what will damage their nails is incorrect application, not taking care of the polish whilst it is on and incorrect removal - namely picking it off! Add into that the amount of people who have bought ‘at-home' kits or random products online, and we find ourselves faced with a bit of an epidemic.
The internet cannot be policed, and ‘at-home' kits aren't going anywhere so we need to educate our clients upon the dangers and the pitfalls. Whilst, to the client, an at home gel kit may seem very simple to use - after all it is ‘just nail polish and will obviously save them money' - without correct training, and without using corresponding lamps and products the client may develop allergies due to under curing, exposure to the product, getting it on their skin etc. Without said training, knowledge and understanding of the product and the nail itself. they won't know how to prepare the nail correctly, care for the product and remove it properly, all of which will result in nail damage, leading them back to you to correct it! So how can you do that?
There are many in salon treatments, and additions to your standard manicure that you could introduce. A very simple introduction would be the heated mitts, as discussed earlier. Apply extra cuticle oil to the nail plate and surrounding area, plus hand cream to the hands, place the hands in liners and into the heated mitts. The addition of heated mitts will provide the heat to penetrate the products deeper into the skin and nails, this will provide nourishment and vitamins. It is a very simple addition and one that has a great benefit -particularly for clients with rheumatism and arthritis.
By far the best salon treatment, that I consider - and have witnessed - to be most effective is IBX. This is a two part system that is the only treatment available, to my knowledge, that penetrates the nail plate and works inside the nail. With met ingredients of Avocado and Jojoba, this strengthening and repairing treatment forms an inter penetrating polymer network that fuses the upper layers of the nail together making the nails stronger and thicker, even after one application. Because it is inside the nail the client can't ruin it, or forget to keep re-applying it (as they can do with topical treatments), so it will keep working.
It is a treatment that is perfect for people with any form of nail damage, regardless of how old or severe, as it will still be effective. I have a client who started coming to me after years of poor nail extensions from non-standard nail salons, and neglect of her nails. She is getting married later in the year and wanted to try and grow and strengthen her own natural nails. Below left is a picture of her nails before the first treatment, below right is a picture of her nails after the third treatment, the results are really quite staggering.
The growth is obvious, but what the pictures can't show you is how much stronger her nails are to touch. She hasn't been wearing any form of polish or hardened on her nails and she has not had one breakage. The time difference between these two images is just six weeks. We are carrying the treatment out every two weeks; imagine the result by the time we get to the wedding!
Marie-Louise Coster is a Session Tech, Beauty Therapist, Trainer and Business Consultant, with over 20 years' experience in the industry. All About Mi Beauty & Holistic Training School is ABT-accredited.