August 27 2014

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Beauty Etiquetter: When Indecision And Smudges Strike At The Nail Salon


Beauty Etiquetter is a new column on Beauty Counter in which we address your beauty protocol predicaments with candid advice from industry experts and those in-the-know. To submit a question, e-mail celia_ellenberg@

The Quandary: I often change my mind about my nail polish choice after the manicurist has started to paint it on. How many times can I switch the color before it’s considered rude? And if the color smudges while drying, can I ask for a redo?

The Expert in Residence: Nadine Ferber, co-owner of Tenoverten nail salons

The Advice: “The color of certain polishes in the bottle can vary greatly from the look once applied to your fingernails, so it’s acceptable to ask a manicurist to try another color—or two. Of course, try to be considerate of the manicurist’s time and ask her early on in the polishing process to switch the color when possible. Or if you’re going into the appointment unsure, ask her kindly to try one nail so that you can see what the result will be before committing to that shade. If you decide to try yet a third color, it is nice to ask the manicurist whether she has another client after you so that her schedule won’t be affected. A good rule of thumb is that if you ask more than three times, the manicurist will probably start to get a bit worn down and might not do the best job in the end.

If your color smudges while drying—which happens all the time—you should ask to redo that nail; just don’t expect it to be the same manicurist doing the fixing if she’s gone on to start with another client. There shouldn’t be a charge to redo a nail, no question about it. But remember that most smudges occur when putting your hands in or out of the dryer so be careful at that stage. We use Qtica quick dry drops without dryers, which really cuts back on the number of smudges.”

Photo: Getty Images

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