Modern Etiquette: The 9 things nail technicians wish you'd stop doing.

In 2023, there's one thing that's become alarmingly apparent: No one knows how to behave anymore. 

And it's not our fault. After all, we were locked inside for basically two years. Isolated. Spent a lot of time online wearing stained trackies and watching celebrities make TikToks.

So, in a bid to help remind us all how to behave like polite human beings, we're taking a leaf out of New York Magazine's viral guide to existing in modern society, and sharing some new rules.

In the Modern Etiquette series, Mamamia asks people in different fields to share their hard-line do's and don'ts, according to their expertise.

And now it's the nail salon's turn.

Watch: Hairdresser talk, translated. Post continues below.

Video via Mamamia

We asked nail technician Mavala expert and manicurist Oli Antunes to tell us all the things clients do that get on her nerves. And she didn't hold back.

Here's a list of everything your nail technician wants to you to kindly stop doing.

1. Believing that SNS is a healthy nail enhancement alternative.

Bad news: SNS isn't as 'healthy' as you might think. 


"It’s not, so stop using SNS," said Antunes. "It is not a penetrating formula and is essentially acrylic powder bonded with superglue. It's bad for nail health."


We'll just be over here sobbing in a corner hahahelphaha.

2. Arriving with half-bitten nails and cuticles. 

If there's one thing nail technicians hate, it's when customers come in with half-bitten nails. Apparently, it's a big no-no.

"Not only is this an unhealthy habit but an unsightly one," said Antunes. 

"Biting nails continues to traumatise the nail plate and matrix (root structure) leading to permanent damage to the nail and cuticle health, as well as hang nails, bleeding and ridges." 

So, no bite-y with the teeth-y, yeah?

"It’s a habit worth breaking. I recommend using a quality topical treatment with a dedicated protocol for best results." 

3. Coming in for a pedicure with unshaven leg hair stubble. 

"It’s never fun giving your client a pedicure spa treatment and having a ‘prickly’ massage experience," Antunes told Mamamia.

pls forgive.


We just... we feel seen. 

4. Cuticle abuse.

"Trouble-shooting cuticle abuse is frustrating. Never ever cut cuticles," Antunes said. 

Instead, she suggested opting for a gentler approach of using a softener or remover and pushing your cuticles back with a hoof stick (those little cuticle tools your nail technician uses).

"You can tell when clients regularly use cuticle oil and it’s so important for the flexibility of nails and minimising breakage."

So, do take proper care of your cuticles.

5. Arriving with self-sabotaged synthetic nails. 

Hands up if you've ever ripped your gel nails off because you can't be bothered getting them professionally removed?

Yes, hello, this is all of us.


As you're probably aware, it's absolute garbage for the health of your nails. :(

Antunes said, "Never ever pick at gel nails or attempt to remove synthetic treatments at home. Ripping it off literally takes layers off your nails, which thins the nail plate and leads to further damage."

6. Expect magic with flaky and peeling nails. 

Fact: healthy nails take time. And when it comes to things like flaking and peeling, you can't expect results overnight.

"If you suffer from weak, peeling nails it is advised to use a nail hardener for an intensive period. This issue cannot be fixed immediately in the salon and will impact the final manicure result."  

7. Arriving with super cracked heels.

According to Antunes, this is a really common one — and it's often a more severe issue during the winter months, for obvious reasons. 


She suggested, "Try to moisturise daily and wear socks to bed to intensify the results. Don’t forget summer feet are made in winter!"

8. Not wearing SPF on your hands.

You got the whole sunscreen-on-your-face-and-neck-every-day thing down pat (go you!), but what about your poor, neglected little hands? Don't they deserve some love and protection, too? (They do).

As Antunes told us, "This is a crucial area often overlooked and I see so many clients with discolouration and sunspots on their hands."


"Daily SPF application is essential to protect hands from premature ageing and pigmentation. Keep a bottle in the car to use every day whilst driving."

9. Not being patient. 

Are you the kind of person that feels you need to ~busy~ yourself while getting your nails done? Checking your emails? Messaging your pals?? 

Well, apparently, it's a nail technician's worst nightmare.

"Flicking through a magazine, rifling through your bag, tapping on your phone and rushing to get out the door is a manicurist’s nightmare. It will ruin your manicure."

"Just sit back, relax and enjoy the moment of self-care."

Want to read more Modern Etiquette articles? Go on:

Can you relate to any of the above? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

Feature image: Getty.

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