The Things Your Manicurist Wishes You Knew

A weekly manicure or biweekly gel mani amounts to one critical thing — it's "me" time. During my routine manicure, someone has commandeered my hands for a little pampering, so I physically can't check my email or scroll through my phone. It's forced relaxation time, and I find it crucial for my mental health. Plus, it relaxes my hands that are so fatigued from all that typing, so I indulge with at least a twice-monthly mani because it looks and feels oh-so-good.

I love the ritual of getting my nails uniformly filed and reshaped, my ragged cuticles attended to, and that fresh, shiny coat of polish. I also like BSing with my nail specialist. The whole routine is simple yet satisfying.

While it's up to our nail care technicians to attend to all of our nail needs and to fix any problems that may occur, like painful hangnails or dreaded chips, there are things we can do to prep for our monthly manis. In talking to some experts on the topic, I realized the one consensus is that caring for nails in between appointments is essential. That includes lots of moisturizing and paying extra special attention to cuticles, since those can become parched, especially when the temperatures dip.

So to prep for your next appointment, check out these are the five things manicurists want you to know before you sit in their chair.

1. No Picking

Michelle Saunders, essie's celebrity manicurist whose clients include Taylor Schilling's and Taraji P. Henson, admits that she will never know the condition of a client's nails until they are in front of her so she prepares for everything. But she warns about the ultimate no-no, saying, "What I recommend to my gel-wearers is to never ever pick off your own gel!" It can be tempting to pick between appointments, but it's crucial to your nail health to let the manicurist remove them, or take the gels off by soaking in acetone. Coming into the salon with healthy nails makes your manicurists' job so much easier!

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2. Hydrate Those Hands

Deborah Lippmann, founder and Creative Director of her namesake brand who also owns a salon at Miraval Resort in Arizona, encourages the hydrating of hands, especially if you have an appointment coming up. This simple step helps your manicurist help you. "One of the biggest problems women have is that their nails, cuticles, and hands are extremely dry," Lippmann said. "Think of your nails and hands like your face. It wouldn’t occur to most women to wash their face and not apply a moisturizer, but they wash their hands over and over and don’t apply hand lotion."

You know, I never thought of it that way...

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She suggests keeping a lotion like her own Rich Girl Broad Spectrum SPF 25 Hand Cream, at every sink in your home, at your office desk, and in your purse. "Easy access is key... because when adding a step to any routine, often times, out of sight means out of mind," she noted.

3. Between Treatments

A huge mistake that you can make is acting as though your nail care should only be relegated to your weekly mani and nothing more. You have to look out for your nails while away from your manicurist's chair. "Weekly cuticle treatment is also essential," Lippmann says. "Apply an exfoliating cuticle treatment, like deborah lippmann Cuticle Remover, massaging into the cuticles and pushing back gently." This will keep your cuticles healthy, which is really the key to a long-lasting manicure.

Deborah Lippman Cuticle Remover, $20, Check It Out

4. Communication Is Key

Lippmann encourages you to consider surroundings, to pay attention to cleanliness, and bring your own nail kit if you have one, along with being assertive and clear on your direction. "Engage your manicurist, and ask questions about the products and services," she said. That ensures that you get what you want and that you leave happy, which leads to you come back! Your manicurist actually likes spending time with you, so make eye contact and don't zone out. You are in close quarters so you may as well make the most of it.

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5. It's All About You

L'Oréal Paris Global Nail Artist Tom Bachik, who charmingly joked that "I'm patient, caring, meticulous, and a bit of a perfectionist with a love for color and design," has an opposite suggestion. He doesn't want you to prepare or overthink things before you come in.

He says, "Do nothing — that's my job. I do it all for them!" But if you still want to help him out, he agrees with Lippmann and wants you to take care of those cuticles in between visits. Oil is essential!

L'Oreal Paris Age Perfect Hydra-Nutrition Oil, $17.99, Amazon

Bachik said, "I recommend nightly use of cuticle oil like L'Oréal's Age Perfect Hydra-Nutrition Facial Oil. It deeply nourishes and replenishes dull, dry skin with a unique blend of eight essential oils. The lightweight formula absorbs quickly helping to keep nails and resilient and flexible, cuticles hydrated and restores skin's youthful glow."

And that's what your manicurist wants you to know!

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