Manicures are no longer reserved for big events like weddings and social dinner events – many women now see manicures as a necessity to make them look good and feel good. But as nail salons pop up all over Singapore, how do you determine which manicurist to stick to, and which to avoid at all costs?

Manicure is more than what glitters and shines. Here’s a checklist to help you decide.

1. She follows the general manicure procedures

having a manicure

It may seem counter-intuitive for a manicurist to not know the steps of a manicure – but you may be surprised. Furthermore if it’s your first time at a nail salon, you might not know what to expect. A basic manicure starts with removing any existing nail polish, shaping and filing your nails, soaking it in hot water, then pushing down and trimming your cuticles. While there may be slight variations across manicure practices, these are the basics. If your manicurist skips any of these steps, it’s time to question her professional standards.

2. She observes sanitation and hygiene

Common skin bacteria may enter the skin around the nail and lead to hand infections like paronychia (pear-ah-NIK-ee-ah). If left untreated, the entire finger or toe may be infected. That is why we should never underestimate the importance of sanitation and hygiene in a nail salon.

trimming cuticles

There are many ways to tell if your manicurist is observing the appropriate and hygienic practices. One of which is the nail files/buffers they use. You’re safe if they use one-use nail files/buffers but if they are not, do not hesitate to ask them how is their sterilisation done. Also observe how the other tools are treated; if they do not look like they have been sterilised before being used on you, you might like to think twice about this nail salon.

3. She communicates

manicurist doing pedicure_featured

Is your manicurist listening to you? According to industry insider Athena Elliot who runs the website, “[m]iscommunication is a primary cause of nail salon infections and lawsuits from infections.” So make sure your manicurist makes you feel comfortable about providing feedback both on their service and the outcome of your nails.

4. She knows her stuff

manicured hands

Did you know that there are different nail types? Just like our skin, nails can be classified into dry, sensitive, oily, and combination types. A good manicurist should be able to identify your nail type and advise you on nail products to avoid and provide recommendations on how to take care of your nails.

A good manicurist should also know her products. Nail chemistry is an advancing field but some salons still use unrecommended products that were used over 10 years ago, e.g. methyl methacrylate (MMA). A good manicurist should be able to explain the products she uses, and why they are used.

5. You’re enjoying yourself!

relaxing pedicure

Because if you’re not, something is very very wrong. A manicure should not hurt. It should be a relaxing, enjoyable, and pampering experience. You should leave the salon not just looking better, but also feeling better.