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Image / Editorial

This is what your next nail appointment will look like, according to a leading Irish nail technician

14th Jul 2020
This is what your next nail appointment will look like, according to a leading Irish nail technician

Expect masks, gloves and a lot of glitter

Nail salons are back open and busier than ever. If you managed to get an appointment this month, you’re probably wondering what will happen when you arrive at the salon. 

We already know some of what to expect — masks for stylists and clients, contactless payment and a lot of gel polish removal.

But how exactly will it all work and what post-lockdown nail trends will dominate?

We caught up with Rebecca McParland, owner of Vanity Throne Nails and a nominee in this year’s IMAGE Business of Beauty Awards, to find out.

Walks-in may no longer be possible — and remember to cancel if you can no longer make it

“Due to controlling the number of people within the salon for social distancing, it will be appointment only and we will no longer be able to offer a walk-in service. If you would like to check availability for last minute appointments, feel free to call and we will be happy to fit you in if possible. 

Where possible please do try to book your appointment (especially for your refill or soak off) well in advance to ensure you get one as all salons will now have less appointments per day. We have had to block out extra time to sanitise in-between clients and to avoid the number of people in the reception.

Remember that social media throughout lockdown has helped a lot of nail technicians to continue to grow their client base. There will be more new clients booking in and it may be harder now to snap up those fewer appointments each day.

When booking please be sure that you have booked exactly what it is that you want/need. For example, if you have gel polish on remember that you will need to have the old polish removed before the new application so you’ll need to book for a ‘soak off and gel polish’ and not just a “gel polish”.

Unfortunately there won’t be as much flexibility now throughout the day for any add-ons or changes to bookings. Appointment times will have to be adhered to so that all the social distancing and hygiene protocols within the salon run smoothly.

If you are unsure about what you need to book, we are always here to help so feel free to message just to make sure you are getting what you want. If you are no longer able to make your appointment, please be sure to cancel it. No matter how last minute it is we will appreciate it a lot. We will all be busy after months of being closed and will likely be able to fill it.”

You’ll have to fill in a health screening questionnaire before your appointment 

“Post-lockdown clients are advised to be on time for appointments. No earlier and no later. If you are late for your appointment we now have less flexibility to fit you in as we will have to ensure we do not cross over appointments/clients. Time between clients to clean is a must therefore all appointments have to run on schedule.

Clients will be asked to come with as little personal belongings as possible and arrive alone to their appointment with no children. If you and a friend have an appointment back to back unfortunately you will be unable to come/wait together.

Upon arrival to the salon for your appointment we will greet you and take your temperature. You will be asked to sanitise your hands at the sanitisation station and you will be asked to wear a mask. (Clients are welcome to come with their own mask, or will be given one upon arrival.) Clients will be given a short Health Screening Questionnaire to fill out before starting your treatment.

It will be best to come prepared with an idea of what colour/design you would like. Swatch sticks will be extremely difficult to sanitise (especially with hundreds of colours to choose from), therefore I will show the swatches to clients and hold up any ones you’d like to see.

Phones will not be allowed during your treatment for hygiene reasons so if you have pictures of any designs you would like for nail art just drop me a message beforehand or you can use your phone to show me them before starting your treatment and I’ll snap a photo of it with my phone. 

As a nail technician, high hygiene standards is a must within the salon, especially regarding the use of tools to avoid cross-contamination between clients so the recommended guidelines for this should not be much different to what nail technicians should be doing anyway.

My protocol with the use of tools will involve metallic instruments (non-porous) being washed in soap and water to remove any debris before being placed in Barbicide, a disinfecting solution (disinfecting kills and reduces microorganisms).

Once tools are sufficiently disinfected they will then be placed into a UV cabinet (ultraviolet rays will kill and inactivate microorganisms, viruses and bacteria, stopping them from multiplying). This will be done per client.

Nail files and buffers (porous) can not be sanitised to this standard and therefore will be single use. Each client will receive a new file and buffer for their treatment and they will be disposed of after use. Cuticle oil will also be applied now with a cotton swab which will also be disposed of after use.”

Don’t be surprised if the technician is wearing full PPE

“I will be wearing full PPE at all times for your treatment (including a face shield and disposable masks and gloves per client). This might feel a little strange at first compared to your last salon visit but don’t worry.

We have lots to catch up on and it will be worth it when you get the best damn set of nails you’ve ever had because I’m so ready to get back to it and see you all again! After a moment we will be having the craic again and getting excited over all the new colours and glitter that we’ll forget we’re even wearing it.”

The salon might look a little different — and prices could be higher

Clients will notice a revamp to the salon as well a more neat, minimised approach to my work station. All equipment will now be off the table and away in drawers or placed on a trolly to avoid collecting dust throughout treatments. This will therefore be more sanitary and easier to keep clean.

Clients will be advised to pay by card just to minimise cash flow. Unfortunately one of the new changes within the beauty industry is going to be an increase in prices across all salons. Professionals within the industry have had no choice but to increase treatment prices due to treatment times being increased, the cost of our materials going up and added PPE.

This is something that personally I have found very difficult to do. Where I know most of my clients understand and support this, it is unfortunate that this may now be a small difference in someone being able to get their nails done now. Having not been in work for almost 4 months, bills and a wedding to pay for, I can completely understand this.

I am always grateful for all my clients continued support and will still be continuing to offer a loyalty card where when full, you will receive €15 off.”


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Don’t worry if your nails are weak or brittle 

“After lockdown we have all had a chance to see our natural beauty, including our real nails! This will have given us a chance to see just how good/bad the condition of our nails are. I pride myself on looking after my clients’ nails and keeping the condition good, as well as educating them on how to care for their nails so I am hoping that my clients (who aren’t happy pickers of their gel) will be pleasantly surprised at just how strong and healthy their natural nails are.

However, if anyone has been the opposite and maybe a bit apprehensive about resuming getting nail enhancements back on because maybe their nails were extremely weak, please don’t be afraid. If your nails are weak there are multiple reasons for this but the actual product itself is not one of them.

I hope that clients will have a new sense of pride or want to care for their nails. If your nails are weak, let’s work together and make them gorgeous AND healthy!”

Expect some next-level nail art 

“Throughout lockdown I have discovered the most amazing community of fellow nail technicians and professionals in the beauty industry. Social media, especially Instagram, has literally helped me to network with incredibly talented people and we have all cried, laughed and learned with each other throughout our lockdown journey together. 

We are all ready to get back to what we do best. With nail technicians having upskilled from tutorials, private masterclasses, chats and advice from each other, expect to see a lot more neat, perfectly built nails and incredible nail art. Nail art in particular is going to go to a whole new level. 

There has been so much buzz going on Instagram and it hasn’t gone unnoticed. All our clients have been seeing and commenting on our new skills, storing ideas for their first, second, third, fourth… mani back.

Everyone seems to have been loving all the new nail art designs and I have a feeling that even some of my clients who would have been apprehensive to try nail art before now will. All this time to focus on the art that we can offer has shown clients that nail art doesn’t have to be mad. Nail art can be whatever you want it to be, from big and bold to subtle and delicate. 

I feel that we are going to be seeing a lot of the upskilling designs that we were all learning and trending throughout lockdown as nail technicians are literally itching to get re-creating on real hands!”

And expect to see some key trends emerging 

“I predict that out of the masterclasses that went on and the interest in some designs that these will be the top trends to look out for:


There has been a huge interest in marble and realistic gemstone looks as seen in the top nail magazines, with almost all nail technicians wanting to learn the multiple ways in how to create these looks as well as clients loving this new trend and booking in for it. Rose gold marble and opal gemstones being the most popular.


Bringing back ’70’s fashion vibes with striking colours and summer feels.


With nail technicians taking a keen interest in ways to create quick, but effective art for clients not wanting to spend a fortune on hand-painted details but still achieving eye-catching looks.

French with a twist

The classic French has been taking on a new modern look with patterned, coloured, and rainbow/ombre tips. 


Old English is making a comeback along with bold graffiti style lettering. 

Overall, a lot of already popular designs such as tortoiseshell, cow print, florals and designer prints will be taking on an alternative look with nail technicians playing about with different colours and techniques in creating these (for example white tortoise shell, rainbow designer print, and one stroke brush techniques to create florals).

I’ve a feeling that colour stories will also be reincarnated from last year again due to most nail technicians I know spending all our Emergency Covid-19 pay on lots of new colours which will make it hard for clients now to pick their favorite nudes and pink shades.”

 Look out for Covid career-changers

“Salon life as we know it will change, but then again so has everything. It might take a little while to get used to it but it’s nothing we all can’t do together. If lockdown has taught me anything, it’s only just made me even more passionate and excited to get back to doing nails and seeing all my clients again, who have always supported me from the very start and I’m thankful for their continued support. 

Post-lockdown we may even see an increase in the amount of people wanting to join the beauty industry as the time away from work, in some cases, has led to a few girls I know realising they don’t enjoy the profession they’re in. I’ve already had a few girls asking when I’ll be holding certified nail courses face-to-face as well as the interest in more online nail art classes from certified nail technicians which lockdown has now shown us that we can broaden our reach for students with paid-for private masterclasses, lives and video tutorials. 

There may become more of a desire for nail courses in general and if that’s the case then welcome to our glittery world!”

We are following announcements on events and large gatherings as closely as you are, and as soon as it’s safe, we will have a new Business of Beauty Awards date to share. In the meantime, thank you so much for bearing with us.

 Feature photo: Pexels

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