Nail Salon 101: The Most Detailed Guide to Nail Art for Beginner

More than 90% of the women's community is obsessed with nail art and aesthetic designs but has no idea how to do that. Well, it is not their fault. 

Every woman wants to paint her nails flawlessly and follow one of the leading trends in nail art today. 

However, nail art is not as simple as it seems. For beginners, it is more than simply applying the paint on nails. With the new trends in the nail paint industry, it becomes more confusing to choose the best nail art method. 

People often question whether I should need special training in nail art. To answer this, let’s discuss how the process of nail art works and what factors are crucial in nail art designing. 

The Process of Nail Salon

Gone are the days when intricate techniques and finesse methods were used to do complete nail art. Now, people can conveniently paint their nails with a bit of practice and certain skills. For this, professionals have come into the market, and the nail salon industry has made over $6.5 in 2020

They have expertise in nail paint and art designing, and I prefer these nail salons for aesthetic and attractive nail art. Below, I’ve shared some crucial steps for a perfect nail look. 

1- Book a Nail Salon

The first step in the journey of elegant nail polish is to book a nail salon. For beginners, it is wise to search for a popular nail salon and book an appointment.  As gel nails vary in shape and design, so it’s better to consult a professional and seek help in the initial stages. 

2- Arrive on Time

Once the appointment is made at a nail salon, it's time to be more practical and punctual. Leave for the destination on time and do not waste the appointment time of professionals. Being late for the appointment can negatively impact and result in improper nail design. 

3- Confirm the Nail Service

Now, it's finally time to confirm the main nail service. In the nail salon, plenty of nail shape options are available for different customers. Choosing the best service depends on the customer’s preferences and needs. Mainly, two types of nail services are available in the salons, manicure, and pedicure.

i- Manicure

It is done primarily to paint the nails by removing cuticles and other layers and softening the skin. A manicure is a highly recommended beauty treatment for fingernails and hands. 


Along with hand nails, the treatment and cleansing of toenails are crucial. Therefore, salon experts make sure the feet and toenails look perfect by rubbing the skin cells using a rough stone. 


Some nail salon professionals offer both services, including manicure and pedicure. This ensures that both the hand and toenails look appealing and attractive. Thus, I also prefer both services as it moisturizes and exfoliates my nails.

4- Confirm the Package

Mostly, nail salons with a fine reputation offer two types of nail packages. 

  • Basic manicure package

  • The basic manicure package takes lesser time to be completed. Mainly, it includes shaping, trimming, buffing, cuticle oil treatment, and hand massage. 

  • Deluxe manicure package

  • The Deluxe manicure package is pretty detailed. In addition to the things included in the basic manicure, a deluxe manicure also provides sugar scrubbing, callus treatment, paraffin wax, and extra massage for an extended period. 

    5- Nail Service

    Finally, the nail service starts after the customer has selected her preferred service option. In it, some special services are done to enhance the structure and appearance of the nails. Then, a proper massage is put on the feet and hands, giving a completely relaxed feel. 


                                           Different Nail Art Illustrations

    Steps of Manicure  

    Certain steps are followed during professional manicures in the salons. 

    However, before going to the salon for my manicure, I always prefer to clean my nails with polish remover, whether I have applied nail paint or not. Then wash my hands with soap. Doing so removes the extra oil and dirt. 

    Here are the detailed steps;

  • Filing 

  • Filing is an important step to giving the nails a perfect shape. During manicures, professionals file the tips of nails into a round or square shape. 

  • Callus Treatment

  • Sometimes, women coming for a manicure in salons have a callus on their palms. Nail techs treat it by soaking the palms in warm soapy water so that the dead skin becomes soft. Once it softens it can be rubbed with a pumice stone or washcloth.

  • Cuticle Care

  • Pushing back the cuticles gently is a crucial step for putting on artificial nails. Yet, I never clip my cuticles and also don’t permit the nail tech to do so. This is because cuticles protect the nails from infections. 

    Moreover, most nail salons use cuticle oil for maintaining your healthy cuticles. 

  • Nail buffing 

  • Buffing the nail bed increases blood circulation and provides a natural shine to nails. Whereas, it needs to be handled with great care. People possessing thin nails like me should buff their nails lesser to avoid damage. 

  • Paraffin Treatment 

  • When going through a deluxe manicure, paraffin treatment is the most loveable step. During this, the hands are dipped in paraffin wax. Typically, it is preferred to rest the paraffin for 5 to 10 minutes for better results.  

    I mostly prefer to have paraffin treatment as it leaves my hands pretty silky and soft.  

    Nail Salon Costs

    Now comes the most popular question while doing a nail service. Yes, the cost. What is an average cost of a nail salon? 

    Well, it depends on the location and the type of service the customer takes. Generally, the cost ranges from $25 to $35 or a maximum of $75 in case of high-demand services. Although the prices are variable, here is an estimate of separate costs for popular services.

    i-Manicure Cost

    All the prices vary according to the personal preference and location of the customer. I generally do my manicure services in between $30 to $35. It may vary according to the type of polish or gel nails a customer demand. Plus, some clients also opt for special services; hence the price rates increase for those additional tasks. 


    For 100% satisfied customers, nail salons do take tips. The tip price may differ in different countries, the standard tip is 15 to 20%. This might sound a lot, but it is variable and depends on the location or city. 

    2 Main Factors that Influence Nail Art Style and Design

    Acrylic nails are of different varieties and shapes. These may be oval, round shape, or square shape. Thus, before going for nail polish styling and designing, the two main factors should be kept in mind.


    Nail designs full of colors are very trendy in these seasons. To go with fashion and trends, people mostly use a combination of different colors on their nails. It acts as a blend and enhances the beauty of hands and feet. Below I’ve mentioned some popular and pretty color options that I consistently apply and get smooth results every time.

    • Black
    • Pink
    • Red
    • Nude
    • Purple
    • Blue
    • Green

    Besides these, plenty of other custom color options are also available in nail salons. These enhance the beauty and elegance by giving a shimmery appearance to hands and feet.


    To provide a glossy finish to the hands, the last touch, simply known as the finishing, is put on the nail art. However, here are some popular options in the market.

  • Matte

  • Matte nail polish is my favorite because of its distinctive anti-shine properties and various color options. It is best for vacations and the holiday season as the quality is of premium style and perfect for a modern and shiny look.

  • Pearl & Shimmer

  • Equipped with forest green glitter and gold glitter base, the pearl & shimmer nail polish is perfect for summer. Its glittery and clear gloss coating makes the fingertips glow in even dark places.

  • Metallic

  • Chrome or metallic is a high-shine, dark green-toned finish that is best for manicures. Its appealing metallic polish adds a beautiful touch to the hands and feet. Furthermore, the elements used in its composition, like coconut oil, are very effective in maintaining the health of nails.

  • Glitter

  • One of the trendy and cool types of nail polish is glitter. The alluring style and long-lasting appearance make it a wonderful cured glittery gel.

  • Creme

  • Aside from color, Creme is the basic finish of nail paint. It has high and more long-lasting appearance than other popular shades on the market. Moreover, Creme is one of those finishing which is vegan-free and cruelty-free.

  • Holo & Duo-Chrome

  • For holographic makeup, Holo & Duo-Chrome is most widely used. The best thing about this nail paint is it does not extend and can be used in both spring and summer seasons. 

  • Sheer

  • To give a delicate and soft touch to the hand and toenails, sheer is a suitable option. It can also blend with other nail shades to give a colorful and classy look to the nails.

  • Neon

  • For those who want a vibrant look on their nails, neon is the right choice. In terms of finishing and attraction, it leaves behind all other nail paints. Additionally, I love to add a white base coating before applying the neon polish to my nails.

    Each of these finishing shades is best in its appearance and glow. However, it depends on the choices and budget of a client that which shade she wants to apply. Moreover, these can be put on artificial or fake nails too. 


    Types of Manicure 

    The following are some well-known types of manicures that almost every salon offers; 

  • Basic Manicure

  • The most simple treatment of hands can be adapted by a basic manicure. It's something that only deals with nail cleaning, cuticle buffing, shaping, and massaging. Usually, I prefer this type of manicure when I want to rest my nails after acrylics or other fake nails. 

    However, nail paint is optional at the end of a basic manicure. 

    How long does it last? 

    Typically, a basic manicure lasts for a few days or probably a week. 

    How much does it cost? 

    Mainly, it cost me almost $15. Whereas, you may easily get it for between $10 to $25. 

  • Gel Nails

  • Gel manicure is the upgraded version of a basic manicure. The only difference is that it utilizes UV light to cure and harden the gel polish. Gel nails are also used for shaping and lengthening real nails. 

    Additionally, gel manicure offers two types of gels, i.e, soft gel and hard gel. 

    How long does it last? 

    Gel nails are estimated to last for about two to three weeks. 

    How much does it cost? 

    Normally, gel nails range from $20 to $65. Whenever I go for gel polish over my basic manicure, I have to pay $10 to $20 extra. 

  • Acrylic Nail

  • Ladies admire acrylic nails for their super durability. A liquid monomer mixed with a powder gives rise to tough acrylic enhancement, known as an acrylic nail. A nail professional can create versatile shapes while using it.  

    How long does it last? 

    Most commonly, acrylics last for six to eight. Yet, nail techs suggest their clients renew them every three to four weeks, as their nail grows. 

    How much does it cost? 

    The cost of acrylics depends upon the client's demands and the salon. Some salons only charge $35, while some charge up to $100. 

  • Dip Powder Manicure 

  • As the name suggests, this manicure uses powder. First, a liquid base coat is applied over the nail bed, then the nail is dipped in a pigmented powder of the client's choice. Finally, the excess powder is removed with the help of a brush. 

    How long does it last? 

    Typically, I can last dip powder manicure anywhere between three to four weeks. 

    How much does it cost? 

    For adapting dip powder manicures people usually need to spend around $35 to $50. 

  • Shellac Manicure

  • I find a shellac manicure pretty similar to a gel manicure. When applying them, professionals cure the combination of gel and common nail paint under UV lights. Moreover, they are pretty hard like gel nails. 

    How long does it last? 

    Most probably, it can last for two weeks or more. 

    How much does it cost? 

    Regarding the cost of shellac manicure, generally, it falls between $45 to $60. However, the addition of nail art to it may be a bit expensive. 

  • Paraffin Manicure

  • I'm a fan of paraffin manicure since I know it is an ideal solution for my dry skin. The heat produced by the wax enables the pores to open. Consequently, the circulation increases and results in soft and moisturized hands. 

    How long does it last?

    It allows the users to experience nourished hands for one to two weeks. 

    How much does it cost? 

    Paraffin manicure usually costs around $20 to $40.

  • French Manicure 

  • The early 2000s French manicure is again back in the fashion industry. The sheer pink nails with white tips just look flawless. As they're pretty decent, I prefer them when going to college. 

    How long does it last?

    Most precisely, up to a week only. 

    How much does it cost?

    It costs up to $30 or up. 

  • American Manicure

  • American manicure is again simple but provides a classy look. It consists of a light beige or cream base with off-white tips. I often love to design my American manicure by using fascinating pearls. 

    How long does it last? 

    It may last up to one or two weeks, depending upon care. 

    How much does it cost? 

    American manicure is pretty affordable. Generally, nail salons charge between $15 to $20.

    Nail Shapes

  • Square Nails

  • These nails are flat at the tips with sharp edges. The square shape looks best on the ones who own small nails. 

  • Round Nails

  • Round nails resemble the natural shape of the nails. The ones who don't like long nails can easily achieve this shape by filing nails to the natural shape of their nails.

  • Squoval Nails

  • Squoval nails are a combo of square and oval shapes. The edge is flat while the corners are oval. Squoval nails are suitable for ladies with wider and longer nail beds. 

  • Oval Nails

  • For getting this shape the nail tip is semi-circled, keeping the edges round. Shaping these nails requires a medium to the long length of real nails. 

  • Almond Nails

  • I love almond shape the most as I have long nails, so it looks pretty chic. It seems like a peak from the center of the tip and resembles an almond.  

  • Stiletto Nails

  • Stiletto nails are named after the heel of stiletto shoes because they contain long and pretty sharp tips. 

  • Coffin Nails/Ballerina Nails

  • Coffin nails are also long like stiletto nails but they are squared off from the tip. Acrylic is the best option to achieve this shape. 


    In a nutshell, nail salons are the best source for getting an outclass manicure, with several options. Once we are in a nail salon, we are exposed to a number of the latest fashion trends, hence can move with the world. Also, getting your nails finished by nail techs is safe and secure. 

    Meta description

    Nail salon offers their clients remarkable manicures with several nail packages. They shape and paint your nails according to the latest fashion trends. 

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