Nail Art Popularity


Help Support SalonGeek:

This site may earn a commission from merchant affiliate links, including eBay, Amazon, and others.

As a percentage, how many or your clients wear nail art as a regular part of their nail service?

  • less than 5%

    Votes: 36 57.1%
  • 20% plus

    Votes: 9 14.3%
  • 30% plus

    Votes: 9 14.3%
  • 10% plus

    Votes: 3 4.8%
  • 50% plus

    Votes: 6 9.5%

  • Total voters
Not open for further replies.


Judge Gigi-Honorary Geek
Jan 12, 2003
Reaction score
Benissa, Costa Blanca, Spain
The following is an article I wrote for Nails (UK) magazine last year. Some of the posts in theis section of the board reinforce what I wrote. It is meant to be cautionary in nature and not to burst your enthusiam. Just to make you think or 'look before you leap'! Also it is a general comment - I know there are exceptions to every rule.

For the sake of argument – and we want to hear your views – I would like to pose a question??

If you the nail technician added up all the money you’ve ever spent on Nail Art training classes, equipment and supplies (airbrushes, stencils, coloured acrylic powders, diamantes etc) and then added up all the money you have made back from performing nail art services on your clients; who would come out on top; you or the suppliers?

From the research I have done on this subject both in the UK and in Spain, (not the USA) I am only getting these answers:

1. Nail art is everywhere in the magazines etc. BUT not on your client’s fingernails!

2. Everyone loves to look at it but no one wants to wear it!

3. People are interested in it until they hear what it is going to cost them!

Wouldn’t you think that particularly here in Spain, the holidaymakers would be dying to go a bit wild and have their nails decorated? They ask for it all right, but when they find out that it costs extra to perform the service, they loose interest.

As a working nail technician for many years, I spent hundreds (probably thousands actually) on training and supplies. I am also an artist by trade so I was good at nail art, and I can honestly say that even with excellent marketing in the salon, I never re-cooped the money I had spent.

The truth is that Nail Art services are only performed on a very minute niche of the market It is unlikely that more than 1-2% of your clients will ever ask for or wear nail art as a regular part of their nail service.

The truth is that it is the technicians – yes you – who are the ones who get excited about nail art because it is an area in which you can be creative and do something different. You are the ones who are wearing it NOT your clients.

Unless you market your nail art to a niche market (various ethnic groups, children, teenagers etc,) and, dedicate yourself to becoming a specialist in this area of the nail business, or work in the industry teaching and selling nail art supplies, or are in demand from the fashion industry or the magazines for your services, you are never going to make a fortune or perhaps break even on the money you have already spent.

Creating art on nails is terrific fun and there are some fantastic artists in our industry who have found their niche, but be careful and don't get too carried away by buying too many bits and pieces or you will be out of pocket.
I agree with you to a certain extent. As you say, people love to look at it but would never wear it and when they hear it costs more they decide against it.

I am in the 50% category, I'm afraid and I do think that I have recouped my money. I think it's down to marketing really. I have hundreds of designs both freehand and airbrushed ranging from french to the god damn ridiculous but I make my clients aware that, although the crazy and colourful ones are on display, they are just merely showing my skill as a nail artist.

Also, I tend to know whether a client will wear nail art regularly normally from the first treatment. Don't ask me how - I just do!!!!!!! I like my clients to go away with very classic and elegant nails so for the most their nail art is a fancy french or something quite striking but just on the ring finger.

I never push my clients in to having nail art but when they see the designs they say 'Ooohh that's lovely' even if it's a crazy design. So to get them to try it I will adapt it and simplify it by maybe not using as many colours or changing the colours somehow and then only doing it on one finger (normally the ring finger) but it just proves to them that it doesn't have to be over-the-top and tacky. Then what normally happens is they love it so much on the ring finger that the end up having it on all of them!!!!!!!!!!!

When they then come for their next appointment and have just a plain polish or french they think it looks too boring and then end up having something else!

So what I think I'm trying to say is you can recoup your money and you can get your clients to wear nail art it's all to do with the way you go about it.

Sorry if I've bored you senseless! :(
Almost all of my clients have nail art as part of their service. It has been a great add-on service for me and I can safely say that I have recouped and made money.

I only do freehand nail art, as I found in the beginning that foil and striping tape etc was a waste of time if a client wanted it to last a while.

My clients ages range from 30 - 55. They all love nail art. Just lately they are all wearing the hibiscus in various colours. I thank you Christie. You are an inspiration. :D

Just my twopenneth.

Although I have only been doing this since June I would say out of the 90+ clients I have, 20+ have airbrushing when they have their infills done, so obviously I have not recouped the cost of equipment, training and materials, due to the fact that I have only been doing it for just over 3 months.

Jue ;)
Hi Geeg

Glad you raised this topic because I have been wondering about extending my services to air-brush art and weighing up the set up costs against income, I do wonder if its going to be worthwhile.

At the moment, I find that, specifically with enhancement clients, they so like the fresh, clean look of their new nails or maintenance, they just don't want to "spoil" that look initially so I figured that maybe it would be better for the natural nail clients. So few of them even want their nails enamelled lately that my polish collection is now languishing in the depths of my store cupboard. My natural nail clients are simply requesting variations from the Lulu collection these days - their sense of adventure is going from one colourway to another within the same set of enamels!!

The most I seem to be asked for is just a simple solitary diamante on the ring finger (they are sooooo adventurous aren't they!). I guess its pointless to run headstrong into training/set up costs until I see real demand but I have a tendency to want to "expand" on my services all the time when maybe I should just keep it simple and stick to the standard services. I just find myself admiring some of the great designs techs are producing and want to try it too but yes, probably, I'd end up getting the admiring glances from clients, but hear a "maybe next time" comment!
i am in the 10% but i must say that most of them only have gemstones applied and keep it very simple so i would say no i have not got the money back for what i have spent on it :( :(
Sawadee ka

I not no from other country but for my country and look internet i think maybe 2 year more for become very good and many customer and in 4 year have many many lady want so good to learn for future .

Now have some customer have and when some lady see she want i want see lady in magazine for advertise clothes and something have nail art and many people see and want same i think good idea .

Nail art is very beautifull and can look very good for lady so many ways lady can wear some lady come my shop want flower 10 finger them like so do for them i like see nail and just flower 2 finger not too much flower.

Many fashion come good from see lady and star wear magazine need maybe beckham wife she life too much and people see them want same .

Nail art for future and very good your buisness every where i think .

Kop khun ka mui
approx 60% of my clients have nail art, its all airbrushing, french, fades and some more weirder designs.
I always have art on my nails as they get noticed more and thats good for my business.
i agree with kelly its down to marketing, i have lots of designs on the wall and its mesmerising!
One thing with havin art on the wall is that they look at that rather than at you when you are working, so you can get on quicker without having to look up at them occasionally.
there are no age bounderies either, ive got older and younger clients and wow they choose things i dont think they would!
some of the ideas my clients come up with astound even me!
i have made money from it & its fun too!
I agree with you Jan. The ages of my clients range from 17 to 82!!!!!! The lady who is 82 and another of my clients who is 75 absolutely love having nail art - the bolder the better!!!!! They think it's fun because when they go to their OAP clubs the other ladies think they're nuts!!!!!

My nan is 81 and I do her nails occasionally (she doesn't live very near me) and on one occasion I did her nails and when she showed them off to her friends at her club they all wanted it!!! They were all off for a week in Holland at Easter so I had 6 OAP's having nail extensions and nail art!!! It was a scream! :D One kept falling asleep in the chair :morn: and the other's were crazy!!

Although it was hard work I can honestly say it was one of the best days work I have ever done. The designs they had were really funky and they all agreed that their grandchildren would either be proud of them or disgusted with them!!!!!!
Thank you --- all who have posted so far ... for your replies and thoughts. And thank you also for your intelligent perusal of my post and for understanding where I am coming from (unlike the response I got a few months back from another message board belonging to a competitor (and her groupies) who branded me as racist and defeatist and other choice expletives, for my comments).

Obviously (to me and Alex Fox anyway) I was only trying to caution technicians against getting carried away and 'becoming out of pocket'.

I am thrilled to see so many of you who are making money out of your skills ... but so far, it looks like you are still in the minority (in the UK) so everyone keep posting and polling so we can get an even better picture of what is happening out there.
It seems like it is always the ones you least expect want to have nail art applied. I wear it all the time and most of my clients dont like it or say oh its fine for you but its not for me. I find people are more apt to get designs on their toes then their fingers. I honestly don't care if I spend more on nail art then I make because I love doing it, it satisfies my soul.
About 80% of my clients have nail art. Some have it one fingers only, some on toes only and some have both. I had a lovely Cuban lady come last week and she wanted jewels on ALL her fingernails :shock: She was going back 'home' to Cuba for a 3 week holiday and wanted something amazing...and that's what she got..lots of rhinestones...WOW they looked FAB.

I have now perfected my signature design...rhinestone dragonflies...usually just on the toes...they look great, especially for holidays, and they are just a bit different to the usual 'run of the mill' designs out there.
i had a conversation with another tech the other day who is very new, and i cautioned her not to buy an airbrush set up, until she made some money, as it is a huge expense and i believe that we are in this business to make cash! (well i am) and the best way is to give em beautiful nails, not art. i totally view art as an add on to a great set of nails.
Sorry to be slightly controversial but although the money is great in this business the main reason I do this job is because I love it and not about the amount of money I can make.

I worked as a part-qualified accountant for 3 years which I made a helluva lot more money doing that than what I'm doing now. The reason I become a nail technician is because I loved the creativity of nail artistry both enhancements and nail art. As, Geeg said on a different post - there's a lot more to being a nail technician than being able to put a nice set of nails on.

I'm sure you love what you do as much as the rest of us but the emphasis shouldn't really be on the money. Sorry!
Whilst it is a wonderful position to be in -- where one can afford to give up some income for the 'LOVE of the job' -- the reality is that most of us can not afford that luxury.

Most of us work to earn for a good standard of living for us and our families. But where I agree with Kelly is that the seat of ones motivation should be the love of what we do over all else because those who enter the Nail profession just for the money they see in it, and have no love for the work itself, never do as well. But that is the same for most things.

I'm sure that Jan was just being realistic in cautioning her nail technician friend not to get carried away buying expensive equipment, until she was sure of her market demand. Very good advice in my opinion ... which is why I wrote the article in the first place.
kelly, you're right, i do love my job, but i also love to shop and if i could choose between the two, life would be different!!!
I have seen many new nail techs come in to this business in the last few months thinking they can make a killing, but as they aint willing to learn and they dont really love their chosen profession enough to stick it out so then u see them sell their kits on ebay! Its such a shame!
when i started, i used transfers, striping tapes secures etc.. to create art on nails as it was cheaper than buying an airbrush set up, and looked great! i still use 'em
I remember the fracass well, Gigi.

Only 3.6% of my income comes from airbrushing whilst 45% comes from enhancements. As I said in a previous message if you cant satisfy the 45%, what good is the 3.6%.

I do airbrushing mainly for my own pleasure. The majority of my clients wear only nail art as a "fancy" french - it makes them different to the normal "wobbly" smile lines produced elsewhere locally.

I like wearing something on my own nails as a marketing tool more than anything else. I tend to really only wear subtle abstracts. I like animal prints on the tips rather than the entire nail at the moment.

Well that's my tuppence worth LOL
I hope no-one thought I was being nasty. I too think that the advice you gave her about checking out the market before investing in expensive equipment was excellent advice.

Like yourself Jan, I too initially bought striping tapes, transfers etc and from that I managed to save enough money to eventually buy my airbrush. By that time I had sussed out my local market and felt it would be a good investment. Luckily, I was right as over 50% of my clients regularly have nail art.
Before I moved to Dublin, most of my clients had some form of airbrushed nail art, although the majority would be fancy french or colour blends - these are the money makers not the beautiful intricate designs we see in magazines etc., although it's the wild and whacky designs I wear myself which tend to grab people's attention.

I initially bought my airbrushing set up for my own pleasure, it's something I enjoy and have spent a small fortune on it, but I bought it with the intention of using it on myself and if anyone else wanted to pay me for airbrushing their nails - then that was a bonus! So no, I've not re-couped the money I have spent on it, but I have such a huge stock (just had to try EVERY single colour and EVERY single brand!), that it will take years for me to do so. I think if you shop carefully and limit yourself to a sensible amount of colours, then it's possible to make a little money on airbrushing. I did away with the 'enamel of your choice' included in the price of the service (nail extensions/manicures etc), and started to itemise things. I will now charge so much for enamel and so much for airbrushed colour, the airbrushed colour is charged 'per colour' and I found that a lot of people love a colour blend or fade (that's how I became hooked on airbrushed nail art many moons ago), and will pay slightly more for it. As I said before, I found the 'colour blends' to be the money makers rather than the other designs, they're quick and easy to do (takes me no longer to do a colour blend than it would to do enamel, and 'clean-up' is so quick if you use decent paints), but I have had more people than I thought asking for the more detailed designs. In the UK I had a few regulars (probably had more money than sense!! Did I just say that about some of my old customers?? :oops: ) who would pay in the region of £25 to £30 for their airbrushed nail art alone, but I must say this is the exception rather than the rule.

Anyway, I've moved to Dublin now and just in the middle of having my 'home salon' built (almost finished), so we'll see how things are here. I have had a lot of interest shown in the nail art I wear, but I've had to put people off until the salon is built as I don't want strangers in my home.

I'm demonstrating at the Pro Beauty show in Dublin next month so am hoping to build some interest in the whole airbrushing 'thing'.

At the end of the day I would have to say to anyone thinking that airbrushing can make them a fortune - it might and then again it might not, and unless it's something you really enjoy doing for the fun of it, I'd think twice before spending heaps of money on an airbrushing system.


p.s. Sharon - do you have any pics of your rhinestone dragonflys? They sound wonderful and I'd love to see them!
Hi Fi,

I remember it well also!! Couldn't believe that someone would twist the words of my article around so much that I ended up being called racist (for using the word ethnic) de-motivating (because I urged caution) and a hater of nail art because I said that the majority of clients do not have art as a regular part of their nail service!!
I think this poll so far is bearing that out don't you?
I am impressed that you can calculate your figures so well Fi.

Kelly, no one thought or thinks you were being nasty ... just passionate about what you do which we all are! So do not worry.
Not open for further replies.

Latest posts