Are you considering a new career and thinking about becoming a manicurist? Manicurists can work flexible schedules and show off their creative talents every single day. In addition to these benefits, they enjoy strong job security and the opportunity to make a difference in the way people feel about themselves. If you enjoy working with others and want to use your creativity in the workplace, becoming a manicurist might be the perfect career path for you.
What Does a Manicurist Do?
The primary role of a manicurist is to help their clients achieve beautiful looking nails. A manicurist provides a variety of nail care services for their clients. These nail services include manicures, pedicures, paraffin treatments, and hand massages to enhance a client’s appearance and boost their self-esteem.
They may provide additional services to enhance the appearance of their client’s nails as well as utilize techniques to revitalize the appearance of the skin on hands and feet. Many clients book regular nail appointments as part of their self-care routine. Manicures and pedicures can be a deeply relaxing experience and boost a person’s overall sense of wellbeing. Following are a few of the techniques that a manicurist uses to provide professional nail services, as well as the tools and supplies you will use on a daily basis.
While some clients may request specialty manicures, others may prefer a basic manicure. Basic manicures consist of filing and buffing the nails, trimming them evenly, applying cuticle oil, clipping hangnails, pushing back cuticles, providing a brief hand and finger massage, and applying a basic coat of fingernail polish.
A French manicure is a classic manicure option that continues to be popular many decades after it was first created. The French manicure consists of the same steps as a basic manicure yet ends with the application of white polish across the tips of the nails to illuminate and brighten them. A clear color nail polish is then applied to the whole nail to seal and protect the final look.
A paraffin manicure is a very popular add-on service that clients request when they would like a paraffin wax treatment included in their manicure of choice. Paraffin wax is very moisturizing and an excellent skin softening treatment that creates instantly smooth skin. Paraffin wax treatments are usually applied prior to nail polish application and after a hand or foot soak.
The paraffin wax is gently heated, so it becomes a pliable liquid and is poured inside a plastic bag. Proper care is taken to ensure it is not too hot. The manicurist then takes the client’s hand or foot and places it inside the bag containing the heated wax. As the wax cools, it molds around the client’s hand or foot. After a few minutes, the manicurist then removes the client’s hand or foot and wipes away the excess, revealing soft, moisturized skin and a healthy radiant glow. This service is often requested during the summertime when “sandal season” is in full swing.
A gel manicure begins with the same steps as a basic manicure or pedicure, however, instead of applying a basic nail varnish at the end of the service, gel nail polish is applied instead. Gel polish lasts much longer than basic nail polish and can give weak, brittle nails added protection from breakage. It also dries quicker than basic polish, which makes it great for busy clients who don’t have much time to wait for their manicure to dry.
Acrylic manicures are a popular choice for clients who suffer from brittle nails or those who have a tendency to bite or pick at them. Acrylic manicures start with gently pushing back the cuticles, filing any rough edges, and then shaping the natural nails. Once this process is completed, the manicurist then mixes the acrylic which consists of a combination of powder and liquid ingredients. As it is applied, it slowly hardens onto the client’s natural nail, creating length and shape. Nail varnish or nail art is then applied on top. This treatment lasts for about two weeks before the client requires a touch up (commonly referred to as a “fill”) or decides to have them removed for a different look.
Many clients enjoy the length of acrylics but are looking for something that looks a bit more natural. Shellac manicures are the best of both worlds. Shellac allows a client to enjoy the fullness and shape that acrylics are well-known for, but with a more natural look. Shellac manicures start with the same steps as a basic manicure however, a hybrid gel polish is applied onto the nail and is then set under a UV light. Shellac manicures can last up to two weeks without chipping or fading and is one of the most popular nail services that manicurists provide their clients.
Tools and Supplies Utilized in a Manicure and Pedicure
While enrolled in a cosmetology program you will learn how to use a variety of manicurist tools. Following is a brief explanation of the most essential tools you will use while employed as a professional manicurist.
While you may already be familiar with nail clippers, you will learn how to use them properly to keep your client’s nails from becoming brittle or breaking during the clipping process.
Filing your client’s nails is an important step in a manicure. Clients may have their nails filed into a variety of shapes, including squared, rounded, coffin, stiletto, almond, and oval shapes. You will learn how to recreate each of these shapes during your hands-on training in the cosmetology program.
Nails have a naturally oily top layer designed to protect the rest of the nail underneath. While this is beneficial to keep nails looking shiny and healthy, this oil can also cause polish to chip. However, over-buffing the nails can also leave them weak and brittle. During your training you will learn how to safely use a nail buffer without stripping away the nail’s necessary top layer.
A cuticle pusher is usually made of wood or metal and is used to gently push back the cuticles making varnish application easier. Pushing back the cuticles also creates a very polished look. It is important to know how to push back cuticles safely to avoid infection or cause damage to the nail bed.
Many clients may need a good trim to their cuticles. Trimming the dead skin around the cuticles will make nail polish appear smoother. Trimming the cuticles will also give the illusion of longer, more elegant fingernails.
Toe separators are used while applying nail polish during pedicures. Because a client’s toes may not lay completely flat, they can get smudged and damaged when nail art is applied. Toe separators help keep the toes straight to ensure the client’s nail polish dries properly without damage.
How Can I Learn to Be a Manicurist?
Attending a cosmetology program is an easy way to learn the techniques and tools of a manicurist. While there are different ways you can enter this career field, enrolling in a cosmetology program is the best way to do so. A cosmetology program will not only teach you how to become a proficient manicurist, but you will learn how to provide a wide variety of other services that will make you a versatile and well-rounded salon or spa professional. This will help increase your proficiency as a professional cosmetologist, and it will also enable you to service a wider clientele.
During a cosmetology program, you will work with instructors that have industry experience. You will learn the theory behind cosmetology during traditional classroom lectures, and also gain hands-on experience working with actual clients. You will learn how to provide manicures, pedicures, facials, hairstyling, professional makeup application, and hair removal.
Prepare for a Cosmetology License
Enrolling in a cosmetology program will also help you prepare for the cosmetology license exam. After taking and successfully passing your exam, you may enjoy greater opportunity for advancement throughout your career. Some people who enter the field of cosmetology take managerial positions, and others may decide to open their own salon. By enrolling in a cosmetology program, you have many options and paths to follow throughout your career.
Are you ready to become a manicurist with the knowledge and skills of a cosmetologist? If you answered yes, it’s time to explore opportunities to enhance your future. The Minnesota School of Cosmetology may be the perfect fit for you.
Want to Learn More?
At Minnesota School of Cosmetology, we are dedicated to helping our Cosmetology program students develop a solid foundation and a flair for style through hands-on training in basic and advanced industry techniques. You will learn how to cut, color and style hair, give manicures and pedicures, provide spa treatments, and perform various skin care techniques from industry-experienced instructors in a professional salon setting.
Contact us today to learn more about becoming a cosmetologist and start a rewarding career in the beauty industry.