NEW YORK — For anyone who’s ever been shopping at a big-box department store, it’s safe to say you’ve seen manicures, makeup and other beauty products that are typically designed to impress and grab your attention.
That’s not a new trend, but it’s now increasingly happening in the United States.
It’s becoming more and more difficult to make your own manicure.
For most people, it takes hours and hours of work to create a perfect manicure, says Lisa Lohr, founder and executive director of the nonprofit American Foundation for the Advancement of Color Blindness.
The most expensive manicure at stores like Walgreens and Target is around $600, and many of those manicures are made with high-end materials, such as gold, diamond, and pearls.
“If you’re in a really expensive department store and you want a manicure that you can actually wear, it could cost you $3,000,” says Lohar.
“But if you can make your nails shine, it’ll cost you only $40.”
But it’s not always easy to find the perfect manicurist.
“The nail salon industry is one of the most underfunded sectors of the economy,” says Dr. Karen M. Koss, a professor of cosmetic surgery at the University of California, San Francisco, and co-author of The Beauty Salon Myth: How People Get Beauty.
In a study published in February in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, researchers from UCLA and the University at Buffalo found that only 10% of salon owners were qualified to offer the services that they offered.
So when the manicure industry’s demand for talented manicurists drops, that means less of the people who are qualified to do so are willing to work for it.
“I have to go back and work with people who have a history of creating amazing products and I have to work with them again to get them to get it right,” says M.K. Korn, who has trained dozens of manicurers over the years.
“When they have a problem with the nail salon, I’m the one to step in and fix it,” says Korn.
She says she’s not alone.
“It’s a constant battle,” says Linda Burd, a longtime stylist in New York who now works as a full-time consultant for companies like H20 and H20 Salon.
“Every time someone makes a mistake, it makes me more angry.
I’ve always been a little bit of a perfectionist,” she says.
“You have to learn to trust your instincts and know when you’re going to make a mistake and when you can trust them.”
A few nail salon owners are making a comeback, however, and are embracing the idea of offering personalized nail care, a change that has some nail artists saying they’re looking forward to working with them.
“We’re doing it because we have to,” says Beverly L. Brown, who works as an artist and designer at the famed H20 salon in New Jersey.
“Because the quality of what’s coming out of the salon is better than anything else, we’re doing a better job than what’s going on out there,” she adds.
“There’s a lot of people in the industry who don’t know what they’re doing.
There’s a whole other industry behind it.”
Brown and Koss agree that there are two important things to keep in mind when it comes to manicurizing: 1.
Make sure you know what you’re getting into.
Make your nails look as good as possible.
Brown’s advice is simple: Get an appointment and pay a little extra for the experience.
“Your nails are a reflection of you.
If you’re a perfectionistic person, you’re not going to be satisfied with what you see,” says Brown.
“So if you want to give it a good go, go in with a positive attitude.”
“I think a lot [of people] are in this mindset, that you have to buy everything,” adds Koss.
“They’ve got to be happy with the experience.”
And while it may be nice to have the perfect product in your hand, it can also be nice not to have to do any of the work.
“That’s why I think it’s a great thing for people to start taking care of themselves,” says Burd.
“And to get their nails done in a professional way.”
A word from our sponsors This article was originally published on Feb. 23, 2018.