5 Manicure Mistakes You (And Your Nail Tech) Have Been Making This Whole Time

Manicures can be the most relaxing 30 minutes of your week, if they are done right. But chances are, you've not doing them (or having them done) right. You've likely been making these five manicure mistakes you're entire mani-getting life. There are several things you shouldn't be doing to your digits while getting your nails did at the corner salon.

They are usually family owned establishments, so the service tends to be a bit more personalized, generally speaking. They are cheap and fast. But you also get what you pay for and you can end up with a bad manicure. Small salon manis are ritualized, from the filing-buffing-cuticle perp to the hand massage to the painting and drying.

Let it be known that all salons are different and all technicians have their own quirks and routines, and that many places let you customize your manicure experience, depending on how much cash you're willing to drop.

And now, the five most common manicure mistakes. It's OK if you've committed these nail sins in the past — I certainly have too.

1. Cutting Cuticles

Most experts say that cutting cuticles is the worst thing you can do. Cuticles are a protective barrier and they keep bacteria out, so pushing them back is really as far as you should go. Hangnails are one thing, but if your nail tech grabs the cuticle nippers and starts to cut, cut, cut with reckless abandon, ask her to push them back with a cotton-covered orange stick instead.

2. Oversoaking

A lot of nail industry insiders recommend soaking digits in a warm water bath to soften the cuticles prior to all that nipping and pushing. This might make you waterlogged and pruney, but only soak for a few minutes or your nails and skin can get brittle and gross. Don't use any soaps or detergents, either, since that weakens the nail and the surrounding skin.

3. Using Quick Dry Polish

Usually, a corner mani salon will offer you a quick dry topcoat so you can get your arse out of there and resume tapping on your iPhone keyboard. These topcoats don't speed up the drying process for polish undercoats and dreaded smudges can still happen. And there is nothing more annoying than a smudge or a dent in a fresh mani that happens before you even leave the salon.

4. Doing More Than Two Coats Of Color

Two coats of lacquer is more than enough. If you go for the third, even if your polish is pale, it can get thick, gloppy, dented, chipped, smudged, and gross. No, no, no, no, and no.

5. Letting Your Nail Tech Get A Little Handsy

Nail technicians should not use their hands instead of a tool. This should go without saying, since it's obvs unsanitary, but it has happened to me. Whenever a nail tech uses her fingernail to wipe errant polish, I am like, "Can you use a tool for that?," and she says, "No, it's okay," I fume. It's not okay. It's not cool. It's not clean, and you have every right to request she use a sanitized tool instead.

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