Nails are being worn in a myriad of shapes and lengths from the red-carpet to the runway to Instagram, and that means nail enhancements have the potential to be a business game changer. “After many seasons of nails being kept at sport-length, the trend is adding length, wearing nail art or embellishments and experimenting with nail shape,” says Erica Nieuwenhuis, vice-president of Bio Sculpture Gel Canada.

Seeing is Believing

While some clients may not want to depart from their lacquer or gel polish comfort zone, nail enhancements can offer the best of both worlds. “[Clients] can still have a beautiful gel polish service on top of enhancements and have that duration of wear,” says Jennifer Mather, business development manager for CND.“ In addition to the brand’s Shellac and Vinylux colours, Mather recommends incorporating CND’s new Alluring Trilogy Topcoats: Matte, Pearl and Glitter. “The Matte is gives an intense satin finish for a different dimension and versatility from day to night, while Pearl adds a beautiful, soft, blue-pink hue to any colour, to dress it up just a bit,” she explains. “With glitter, any ordinary colour can be turned into an eye-catching shimmery colour.”

Tip #1: “It’s really hard to sell and upsell [enhancements] if you aren’t wearing them. If you’re working in a full-service salon, put them on all the staff. It’s basically advertising what your salon offers.” – Danielle Candido, regional education manager for Gelish

While all nail art is customizable, enhancements can be all the more difficult to master, so education is key and practice makes perfect. “Continue to expose yourself to different aspects of nail enhancements and avoid anything you have not practiced multiple times,” says Candido.

Overcome Obstacles

Rather than waiting for enhancement clients to come to you, it’s important to think about ways to convert your lacquer and gel polish clients. Danielle Candido, regional education manager for Gelish, says it all comes down to educating your client. “The number one [concern from clients] is that it damages the nails, and that’s just not accurate. It all comes down to technique and application,” she explains. One of the latest products to hit the market has been Polygel, an acrylic-gel hybrid that cures under a UV or LED light. “For years, we’ve all been saying we want a product that works with us. Polygel has a salon-friendly odour, produces limited dust and is easy to use. It’s going to change the way technicians do nails.”

Tip #2: “A client consultation should be the starting point for all services. Discuss the client’s preferences and evaluate their natural nail to determine their nail type and what type of treatment would be most suitable to create healthy and durable nail enhancements.” — Erica Nieuwenhuis, vice-president of Bio Sculpture Gel Canada

Pricing can be another obstacle, so Candido recommends being flexible and customizing enhancements so they are approachable for everyone. “Consider offering the initial application as a complimentary
or discounted service,” she says. “Sometimes you have to give a little to get some. If someone has never tried nail art, trying something small can get them hooked. Once they get used to it, you can tone it up or tone it down, depending on their needs.”

When searching for a product, Nieuwenhuis recommends a product line with an emphasis on taking care of the natural nail. For example, Bio Sculpture Gel’s two-step process of natural nail treatment products nourish the nail, and curable treatment gels preserve the natural nail while adding length, shape and art. “Without using building or strengthening products [on nails], adding durable additional length is virtually impossible,” she says.

“The enhancement has to be structurally sound,” echoes Mather. “Go back to make sure it’s prepped properly. Once you’re ready to put colour on, step back and break the rules a bit.” 


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