Nail salons are common in Hong Kong, and it makes good business sense – it’s the one treat the most sartorially unaware eventually make a concession for. So how do you find a good salon?
1. What’s the first thing you should look for when picking a manicurist?
When you walk into a nail salon, first impressions are everything. So make sure the place feels clean and there’s someone friendly and helpful to greet you.
2. What’s the first step?
Cleanliness should be inherent to everything the salon does. So before the manicure, pedicure or shape and polish begins, the manicurist should clean their hands. Then they should wash your hands or feet with a hot towel or a soak. The soaking helps to soften the cuticles and calluses on the feet (if you’re having a pedicure). If there’s time, it’s also a nice treat to include a relaxing massage. If no soaking or massage is offered you’re not being given a complete manicure or pedicure.
3. What’s the correct way to treat cuticles?
A good manicurist should push the cuticles back after softening them and follow-up with a cuticle treatment. A cuticle oil or butter stick will nourish the cuticles and help to prevent growth of thick and ugly cuticles. If you prefer to have your cuticles cut, a manicurist should be able to do it neatly with well-sanitised tools.
4. Square or rounded tips?
Your manicurist should ask about the length and shape (oval, squared-off or rounded) before they start with the emery board. A good manicurist has the eye and artistry to shape nails uniformly, and won’t file them down at the sides because that weakens nails and can cause splitting.
5. Is a base coast important?
A base coat is a must. If a colour polish is applied directly to the nail it might stain. Ideally your manicurist will use a base coast that strengthens and nourishes the nails.
6. What’s the right number of coats?
Two coats is sufficient. Any thicker and the layers may peel.
7. What aftercare advice is important?
Once your manicurist has finished you should feel comfortable to sit and wait for the surface to dry. It usually takes five minutes with a quick-dry topcoat, and 15 minutes without. Wet polish may stain your clothing and also ruin your manicure or pedicure. Aftercare is really important. Use a cuticle cream and try and keep hands and feet well moisturised between appointments.