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...so, as part of my learning process, I reasoned it would be good for me to actually go and have a 'pro' gel manicure ...maybe I can glean some tips ...and compare what I get to what I'm doing ...

I have to say I am doing pretty good compared to the guy who did my nails today ...he shortened my nails without even asking & they weren't long - just getting to a length I liked; he did it so quickly I barely realized he had done it ...grrrr
...he had to file off some hard gel; that part I feel went well, using an e-file.
He did a traditional manicure soak first which surprised me ... after my cuticles were done he took an extremely abrasive file & seriously roughed up my nails ...he wore a few of then down very thin to almost an uncomfortable level. I noticed he did not really cap my free edges and even did a bit more filing of the free edge after my color application...I already have a chip only 7 hours later (just a little one but still) The free edge will bend with a light touch. I can't wait to firm my nails up a bit tomorrow at the salon...ugh! This cost me $33 (plus a tip ...what was I thinking!)
At least I can write this off on my taxes next year (right?) ...you bet I will!Dodgy
Wait a minute Loribe - you paid $33 for a manicure? Was this a spa manicure? Did you get a paraffin dip or a hand scrub? Relaxing massage? And how long did the manicure take?

I'm curious because I haven't had a manicure since October 2012, and it was not the best. I went to a really nice nail salon while on vacation in Marco Island,Florida. The tech couldn't file my nails straight to save her life, but she was so sweet. I just fixed them when I left. That cost me $25, but I got a nice scrub with my classic mani and the massage was so relaxing.

I am surprised that you tipped the tech since you weren't 100% happy with your service. Or was it because you were going for the learning process/research purposes?

Chrissy
http://www.lovethosetoes.com
Bowie, MD
I was a bit surprised by the cost ...he did do a nice hand massage & I had them done 'french style' so I think that was probably a little extra - he also had to buff off some hard gel so maybe that was a couple bucks IDK ... I always feel obligated to leave a tip especially if I know the tech works on commission ... and it was a good learning experience for me - but I have already redone my nails!
Seriously, if someone "roughed up" my nails and filed them "uncomfortably thin" during a gel polish manicure or any enhancement service, I'd get up and leave.

I rarely do anything more than buff the shine off the natural nail, either with my e-file or a buffer. With the way the products are these days, it's just not necessary to do anything more.

This doesn't sound like a pro gel manicure to me.

edited to add: I'm also not a fan of "a la carte" menu pricing when it comes to shortening or anything else that actually belongs in a service. Also, didn't he do a consultation (even a very short one) so he could know how long you wanted your nails?

Once again, I would think you wouldn't want to get any tips on technique and application from him.

By the way, I use a very thin line of Young Nails Protein Bond on the free edge and I never have any chips of the gel polish.
when I said it was a good learning experience ...it educated me to remember the things you just pointed out Harmony & the importance of the consultation ...it also gave me confidence that I am doing it correctly and professionally. He was very rough on my nails ...I believe he used 100 grit (or the next level up) on the top & to shorten ...you can imagine how that ripped into my natural nail. As the week has gone by ...I am considering calling the owner and mentioning this particular tech needs a little refinement - from what I hear, she is quite good ...but she needs to better educate the tech(s) she hires. The tech who worked onme didn't really speak much english so communication was difficult ...you're right - looking back, I probably should have just pulled my hand away and left

personally ...for anything I do in my salon, if the pricing is going to be above what I have posted, I always let my client know that there is an extra charge ...I don't do Ala cart either for the most part ...I mean, a cut is one price, and a cut w/shampoo & blow dry is another ...add the iron and it's a bit more. I don't really consider that Ala cart though. For a manicure, I do expect to pay a few extra $ for a French style.

While the experience was disappointing, like I said - it was a good confidence booster! I'm glad I have you ladies to learn from!