In over my head...


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Well-Known Member
Jul 3, 2007
Reaction score
Ely, Cambridgeshire
Right... this is the story...

I did my L&P Foundation course in August, and since then i have been doing nails on friends and family and have never had any major problems, I never seem to get any problems with really bad lift or anything which really gave me confidence... n people have often commented on the nails I have done, saying they look pretty good!!

Anyway, recently got the opportunity to take over in a hair salon from a previous nail tech who was leaving the country an her clients behind. I was really uncertain about wot to do and whether i felt ready or not but everyone, including some of your guys on here said I should take the opportunity. So i did!!

I have been in there a week but I seem to be hitting problem after problem and I really dont know wot to do, I need some serious help and advice coz I had just about all I can take!! :cry:

Ok first... the previous nail tech used to leave the acrylic really thick in zone 3, it never blended into the nail at all. All these clients like it like this but I have a hard job creating it as thick as they want it... they all basically have it so that when the nails need a re-balance there is a huge step!! I have asked if they would like it slightly thinner but on the few people I just did it on... they later rang up complaining!!

Also, in addition to wanting it really thick they want it right up to their skin... now am I right in thinking that I should be leaving a really small space between the end of the acrylic and the eponicium??

Next.. I have had quite a few clients calling back because after a few days they are getting lift.. is there somenthig I could be doing wrong?? I am careful to seal the edges and I always use scrubfresh!!

Also a lot of them like the smile line quite a way down the nail so they can get SIX WEEKS out of the same white tip!!! Wot should I advise??

I never got taught to do an infill and to always re-balance but they dont seem to want a re-balance every appt but i feel like I am going against everything I have been taught!!

PLEASE PLEASE can someone give me some advice... I dont know whether to ride it out and take all the knocks I'm getting of to stop what I'm doing and sit back and get more practice before I go public, so to speak?? All the clients are aware that I have only just trained but quite frankly, they are being really difficult and being the only nail tech in the place, I am struggling:cry:!!!!

Sorry this is an essay... but I just had to get it all out!!! I have to go back 2morrow and right now feel like I am about to be fed to the lions LOL!!!

Any advice you guys can give would really help me!!!
are you leaving it really thick on zone 3 then hun???? yes you do have to have a little gap from the skin and the acrylic...thats so the acrylic cant touch the skin...if it does touch the skin the acrylic will lift....also you can file it flush so that you dont feel where the acrylic has are the nail tech with training not the clients and everyone does it differently even though your acrylic should not touch the skin and clients should not be asking for zone 3 to be
Ok, first step.... Breathe!

Not got much time to write alot because at work (god, if only they knew how much time I spent on this site!) but I can try and help....

I'm think that the reason why the clients may what their zone 3 right up to their skin is because of the huge step! It might look odd to them to have a small space and then a step, so like the look of the step to start staight away.

I have always been taught that zone 3 should generally be quite thin and a small space should definitely be left between product and the eponychium, and blend into the natural nail so that you don't see a line.

If you are confident in your prep, and you say that you haven't had any problems before with other clients, then your application must be ok, so I can only presume that because they are requesting the zone 3 to be so close that this is why they are lifting.

Now, there was a thread on here maybe a week ago to do with how far down the nail people put smile lines. I don't know for the life of me how to get the link up here, so if you do a search, or maybe a search on my name and my recent posts, you should be able to find everyones opinions on that! It also mentions opinions on rebalancing / infills. Mainly because rebalancing can be so costly etc.

Infills - if you do a search on the tutorials, there really are some good ones on here. They will explain what is involved. Also just do a search on the forum in genral, I'm sure loads will come up.

Your clients have now experienced what happens when you don't do things the way you've been taught and on customer request. With enough responses from this site, hopefully when people complain next time, you will be able to say:

- The reason you are unable to put product so close to the cuticle is because....... e.g. lifting, over exposure

- The reason why you don't like to put a lot of product in Zone 3 is because ........ zone 2 should have more strength in the apex so zone 3 should be thinner (I think thats right - but I am rushing here), and because of the look of it blending in. Maybe take some pics in of others you have done and show them how great they look?

Last tip - HOLD YOUR HEAD UP HIGH. You are the one who has spent all the time and effort in training, not them. You've done a great course and I'm pretty confident you've been taught correctly. You can get the answers from us, and we can help you through this.

Hope this helps.

Right, back to work!!

the first few clients i had i wasnt leaving it thick... i was filing it to blend in zone 3 but after getting several complaints i have started leaving it thicker but i think it looks terrible!!!

As for it touching the skin, i am not letting it do that but the clients are moaning that coz they can see the smallest amount of natural nail they feel like they have paid for an infill and left the salon still needing one!!!

I am really stuck as to what I should say to them... i keep getting the fact that i have only just trained thrown in my face and that the clients themselves have been getting their nails done for however many years and they know how i should be doing it!!!

I think half my problem is that I am alone with no backup but not having much experience is levaing me unable to solve their problems!!
thanks guys, i really do appreciate your advice!!

Need the pic-me-up right now!!
It sounds like the last nail tech wasnt very good to me, i know I havent seen her work so i've got no right to comment but if clients are asking you to leave it really thick and no gap between the skin and acrylic then she obviously was doing it wrong in the first place.
Have they also been asking for money back because they might just be complaining more because they know your new to this and they might be taking the mick!!
I think you should keep your chin up and stick with it, your only going to get better (If you stay with the methods you are taught, dont lower your standards for anyone)
If the existing clients are not happy they'll go somewhere else and at least then you can move on, get advertising and get new clients that appreciate your hard work and training!!
xXx Hannah xXx
no one has asked for their money back yet but i got a very snotty email from one client basically saying that i should barely be charging anything considering i had only just trained!!
:eek: HOW RUDE!!!!
Oh well forget them -as angry as you are though try to ignore comments like that, dont email back etc because you might say something you regret and get yourself a bad name!

Anyways im off!

Dont worry too much, keep your chin up!! x x x :hug:
Emma I'm also in over my head, but work with it I say. I qualified in July this year, and I am now mobile. Despite being new I charge the full going rate as I feel that my time is worth it. I still criticise my work, it is never good enough, but I am focusing on improvement and have got some further training booked. Perhaps you could book some more training?

As far as these clients go that want nails doing wrong, dont do them I say. Your clients are walking adverts and if your work is crap, you look bad. Use it as an opportunity to start afresh, if you lose a few clients dont worry (you probably will anyway, some may stop coming because theyve always been used to the old tech). Speak to your tutor about your application method, they will be able to tell you why some of your nails are lifting, book some training, and keep battling on!! Well done for jumping in the deep end though, lots of people would be daunted by working in a salon so soon. Keep going with it, get lots of advice/training and I'm sure you will be glad you did it in months to come. :green:
In that situation, I would call the customer.

Say thank you for her letter. Admit that yes, you have just completed your training, however you are qualified to perform services on the paying public and insured to do so (hoping you're insured!?!)

State who you trained with, what a great reputation they have and the fact that they don't let you pass until you're competent.

Ask her what she feels is wrong with her nails, try and find out why she doesn't like them - because she may just be trying it on because you are newly qualified. Reassure her with your knowledge.

Say that you feel confident in the service that you are providing and explain the reasons why (in my last post).

At the end of the day, if she's not taking it, I don't think it's worth having a client like that who doesn't appreciate what you do. It's just not worth the stress. Ask her to visit another salon and ask their opinion.

yup... have my insurance all in place!!
Lets face it, these Insurance companies don't insure just anyone. You're insured because you PASSED your course.

By calling this woman or addressing other clients concerns, as long as you're confident in your ability, which to me under your methods of application and prep doesn't sound wrong then you should do fine. They should respect your confidence and your knowledge.

Of course you may be lacking in certain areas but you're still performing a service that you're qualified to do so.

Maybe go and display your certificates in the Salon so they can see......?

One thing I've learnt is don't question yourself in front of them, question yourself on here!

Hi Emma, you have trained with an excellent company and excellent product. It sounds to me like the last tech had a completely different idea as to how the appearance of the nail should look. Trust in your training and your ability and above all try to exude confidence even if you don't feel it it inside.

Sometimes if a client senses that you are not confident then they will try it on(I have had this before). You are the trained nail technician, not the client and sometimes they need a gentle reminder of this.

Good luck hun, I'm sure you will be just fine:hug:
Aww emma,

What a hard time it seems your having!:irked:

I think you should stick to what you know - create nails the way you have been taught (especially as when you were working like this previously you had fewer probs than you are now). Keep going hun, however hard it may seem, just don't give up. :hug:

When these clients are complaining, is it because of lifting etc, or is it purely about 'how they look'?

I had a client once, who had NEVER had enhancements on before. I created a FAB (even if I do say so myself) set on her, they looked brilliant. I asked her if she was totally happy with them, and she said she was. She was back in a week later, saying how she noticed the 'gap' after the oil had dried.
(so when the cuticle oil had sunk in, she saw the 1mm gap around the nail)

Because of this, she wanted a refund. There were absolutely NO other problems with them at all. Not a speck of lifting.

I tried until I was blue in the face to explain why this was needed. She decided she still didnt like it, and got incredibly snotty with me. In the end, I made the decision to give her a refund, and let her keep the nails. This is the only refund I have ever given (mainly because I was newly qualified and was still a bit wobbly about the whole thing!). I decided she just was not worth the hassle.

Do not try and be the other tech. Be yourself, do YOUR nails, and your hard work will show. x
a couple have complained about the lift and the rest was about the gap and how the acrylic seemed too thin in zone 3!! None of them seem to like it blended!!

Feel like i'm banging my head against the wall with them tryin to explain!!

As for the lifting,.. i really dont know why I am having a problem all of a sudden other then the fact I am tryi to give them what they want and obviously this is the outcome!!
maybe some of the lifting is because of nerves on the first week AND trying to be better than the last nail tech??? as for them complaining because of lifting and the "gap" from acrylic to skin.....have they trained...NO....stick to your guns work how you were trained and if the clients dont like this ,then you will find more clients giving them want they want ....which is the service you are providing...some people try and push there luck ,your doing all the right technics by the sounds of it , my advice....keep strong and stick to what you know and you will win them over....if you dont...there lose ,not yours xxx
Oh my, big hug :hug:

what can I say... funny how the un-qualified (client) think they "know it all" because they have been "having their nails done for years dahling!" :rolleyes:

In this instance they arnt allowing you to do YOUR job properly... we've all heard the, if the customer wants it, the customer can have it line... well okay, I agree maybe on this point if the customer wants say a straight smile line..... but not.. repeat not a customer who requests that the overall structure of the nail is applied WRONG.. sorry this customer is never right.

You've had heaps of great advice on how to deal with them next time... overall I would stand strong, let them know YOU ARE THE TECH not them (in a nice way) that you will not apply a nail enhancement incorrectly, and degrade the quality of the enhancement, just because they want it so.

and finally if they like awkward lumps of L&P on their nails they are quite welcome to take them elsewhere, because you, as a nail professional, are here to produce gorgeous, quality enhancements.
Thanks guys... i really appreciate all your advice. I love that on this site, you can be truthful about a problem and get the greatest advice back without feeling an idiot LOL!

Thanks again... am definitely gonna stick to my guns :)
Do stick to your guns.

It is always hard to follow in the footsteps of another technician that clients are used to! Even if that technician is doing nails that are not very pretty to you and me.

It's kind of like changing your brand of products. All the clients start to moan about everything and anything, saying "it never happened before with the old product" etc. Even when you know you've changed to something allot better.

women just love an excuse to get freebies, and because they sense your vulnerability at this time they are going for it. Women are pretty ruthless like that.

Nails should look natural and they should look pretty. Was the tech using another brand? In any case, you need to put your 'stamp' on things by doing the nails that you know are done correctly and prettily.

My advise is. Do every new client to the salon YOUR way.

Do some of the more cantankerous oldies the way they want and then gradually work thinner and thiner in the areas you want until they are liking them YOUR way.

You know what is right, so as I said before, stick to your guns and quietly get on with the job. A few weeks should see you settling down. :hug:
I dont know what product the other nail tech was using... I, of course use all the creative products, but she did once tell me not to use scrubfresh as it was expensive and she used some other form of astringent that was blue in colour and just passed it off as scrubfresh!! So for all the acrylic was in creative pots... who knows wot was in there!!

Do you think this is a possible reason for the lift??

I have already done as you said ad all the people that have ome in and I have done complete new sets on, I have odn them the way I have been trained!

Just have to see what happens!! For all a few people have moaned only one lady ha said she wont come back.. cant win em all I guess!

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