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How To Tell Your Nail Tech What You Want

by Gabbi

Although it might seem a simple concept, it can be really difficult to tell your nail tech what you want! How often have you left a nail salon with nails that you just aren’t happy with because you aren’t quite sure what to say or where it all went wrong?

Most of us do not know the technical terms and names given to the different styles and designs of nails. Besides, it is easy to feel overwhelmed and rushed when deciding what you want in the salon, too.

This seems simple, but many people turn up to the salon with no clue on how they want their nails to turn out. Your nail technician also needs to know what you want, so there are no misunderstandings or confusion.

How do you tell your nail tech what you want? To tell your nail tech what you want, you need to know what you want. Take time before your visit to research the type of nails you want, and what you want them to look like. At your appointment, be friendly when you explain what you’re looking for.

When telling your nail tech what you want, do so clearly and in a friendly tone. Do not ask for the impossible or seem too demanding!

Keep reading to find out exactly how to tell your nail tech what you want, so you are both happy at the end of the appointment!

How Do You Say What You Want In A Nail Salon?

Being able to tell someone what you want is a great skill to have, and it is especially important in a nail salon!

If you do not frequent a nail salon often and don’t have a nail tech who knows your preferences or the ins and outs of your nails, you need to be very clear about your expectations. This is not only so that you will be happy walking out of the salon, but so that the nail tech can do their job well.

Here are a few things to think of before going into the salon:

1. Type Of Nail Service

You need to be clear about what type of service you want from the nail tech. There is a range of different services that nail techs offer, so understanding the different services, and which one you want, will help the technician know what you’re looking for.

Here are some of the most common and basic services offered:

Gel nails – Gel can be applied directly to natural nails, or onto an extension placed on the nail. Gel nails are done in three steps, which include a base coat, a color coat, and a topcoat. Each coat needs to be cured under UV light. The end result is glossy and smooth.

Acrylic nails – Acrylic nails are done using a combination of powder and liquid which is applied to the nail, or to extensions, with a brush. Once applied and dried, the acrylic is filed down to look more natural. The nails are then painted with a base coat, a color coat, and a topcoat.

Polygel nails – Polygel nails are the best of both worlds, combining characteristics of gels and acrylics. They are applied as a gel to ‘forms’ and placed onto a layer of polish on your natural nails. More polish is applied as a top coat. It must be cured with a UV light.

Manicure – A manicure is a simple beauty treatment that cares for your hands and nails, and gets your natural nails looking neat and pretty. During a manicure, your nails will be cut, filed, and then shaped. Your cuticles will be pushed back and your nails will be tidied overall. You could also opt for a nail polish coat during a manicure too.

Once you know what type of nail service you want, you can clearly let your nail technician know where to start. But unless you want to be surprised, there are some other things to consider.

The other factors you will want to consider include:


If you are having nail extensions done, you will be asked what shaped you want your nails filed into. There is a very wide range of nail shapes, such as square, round, almond, coffin, stiletto, and more. Try to research shapes before your appointment so you can let your technician know.


It can be so overwhelming trying to choose a color in the nail salon when you are surrounded by so many different options.

While you can still decide on a color in the salon, it is best to have a general idea of what it is that you want before you arrive. Just a general idea on color is fine, you can choose the specific shade when the nail tech shows you all the different options.

If you’re having trouble deciding, look for inspiration on Pinterest or other social media. You can also try matching your outfits, glasses, or even shoes for a coordinated look.


The different nail designs to choose from are endless. Whether you want your nail tech to freehand the design, or you want glitter or rhinestones, have an idea of what you want before your appointment.

Also, make sure to let the nail tech know that you are wanting extra designs done to your nails so they can factor this into the process.

Before The Appointment

Once you have a good idea of what it is you want from your nail technician, keep it in mind so you can let them know as you arrive.

If it is all a bit much to remember, you can write it down so you don’t forget. It is also a good idea to take some reference pictures along, so look for some online. This way you are both clear on what you want and hopefully, it leads to you both being happy with the results.

What Do You Ask For When You Want Acrylic Nails?

If you are wanting to get acrylic nails done at the salon, let the nail technician, or the person booking the appointment, know beforehand. Acrylic nails can take longer than other techniques, so they might have to factor this extra time into your appointment.

Tell your nail technician that you want acrylic tips, and try to be clear about the shape and length of the nail you want. Most of the time they will apply long tips to your nails, and shape them down from there.

Let them know if you want a gel color applied over the acrylic as well, so they can have the color waiting and ready to paint on.

Just be very clear and open about what you want when you want acrylic nails at the salon.

How To Find A Good Nail Technician

It is so important to find a good nail technician. Having your nails done by a technician that isn’t so great can not only leave your nails looking really gross, but it could damage your nails too.

Here are some ways to find a good nail technician:

Look Online

First, you need to find a nail technician near you. Look for nail salons close to you, and check their websites. See if their site looks legit and up to date, and see if you can find the services they offer.

Look for photos of past work done too, this gives you a good reference of their skills. Once you know the salon name, search reviews. Bad reviews pop up easily, and if there are a few, stay away!


A nail salon needs to be clean. If you walk into the salon and it does not seem clean and hygienic, walk out. There are some horror stories of fungus and other horrible things gone wrong with nail extensions in an unclean salon.


A good nail technician will be friendly and open. They will ask you what you want and take this into consideration. You don’t want a nail technician who sits you down and gets started without even finding out your preferences!


A good nail tech will take their time with your nails, and not rush you out to meet their next appointment. Nails take time and patience, and you are paying for this service!

Happy To Fix Mistakes

Mistakes happen, we are all only human. Your nail tech should offer to fix up any mistakes they have made without causing too much of a fuss or argument.

Speak To Friends

You can also find a good nail technician by speaking to friends who also get their nails done. There is a good chance one of your friends will have a nail technician they trust wholly, and you can book an appointment to visit them too!

Related Questions

Which nails last the longest?

Dip nails are considered to be the fake nails that last the longest, as they can last for as long as a month. The color is applied by dipping your nails into a powder between the application of base and sealant coats. The colors are deep and bright and last!

Should I ask for acrylic or gel nails?

Gel nails are the better option if you want more natural nails. They also help prevent damage to your natural nails as the gel is more flexible. Acrylic nails give you more options with shape and length, and design, and help avoid cracking and peeling polish.

You can also give polygel nails a try if you’re having trouble deciding.

Can I get nail extensions on short nails?

You can get nail extensions on short nails if there is a little bit of length to work with. If your nails are too short, then there will be nothing for the extension to stick to, and it will just pop off.

If you’re worried your nails are too short, you can also hold off for a few weeks and use a nail growth product until you feel ready to hit the salon.

Up Next: Polygel Nails Keep Popping Off? – Here’s What To Do

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