Is prom your first big formal occasion? Do you have your prom dress, hairstyle and makeup all chosen and planned out? What about your nails?
Many teens will have their first real, professional manicure for prom. While your nail artist will (literally!) hold your hand and guide you through it, we know it’s nice to be prepared before you try something new, so we put together some first manicure advice to help get you ready before the big day!
Your Nail Appointment
Schedule your nail appointment in advance as prom days can be high volume with long waits – know that you’ll probably spend 45 minutes to an hour at the salon or a basic manicure, so allow plenty of time to get ready afterwards or make the appointment a day or two before the dance.
Choose Your Polish
When you check in, usually the clerk or cashier will point you to a wall of shimmering nail colors and tell you to choose the one that you want. You will likely have to actually take the bottle off the wall and give it to your nail artist (who may think you’ve done this before), so give this some real thought – keep your prom dress in mind and the overall look you’ve planned. Note that not every color looks exactly the same in the bottle as it does on your nail, so be brave and ask if you aren’t sure! If you wanted a bright, solid pink, but accidentally chose a sheer, subtle tint, you won’t be happy, so speak up!
Next, you’ll be escorted to your seat. If you are alone, ask if you can pay before the services start, or at least pull out your payment and set it safely near you before the polishing begins. Nothing is more frustrating than reaching into your pocket, purse or wallet after your manicure and messing up the polish immediately (although there is a fix for this…keep reading).
Communicate then Relax
Your stylist will confirm how you want your nails shaped (rounded or squared off – it’s a preference thing), do some initial prep on your cuticles (deep breath – this can be a little bit ouchy…just let him or her know if it hurts and they will usually apply less pressure), exfoliate and soak your hands. All you have to do is sit and relax. You will probably be instructed to wash and dry your hands, and then sit again (last chance to pull out that payment before your color is applied!) for polishing.
Let them Dry!
Once your nails are painted, you will usually have your hands placed under a UV light to help them dry. Don’t be tempted to dry for 60 seconds and run – this is a critical hardening phase, and the less you do the better.
When you leave, be super careful about reaching in to your bag or pocket for keys. If you can, have someone else drive you to and from your appointment so you can let your nails dry without fear (and thus avoid driving in any kind of distracted state which is a HUGE no).
Note – if you accidentally smudge your nails while you’re still in or around the salon, just let your technician know. They will almost always gladly retouch for you right then and there…then allow MORE time to dry!
Of course, a basic manicure is a far quicker and simpler process than having nail extensions (acrylic, gel, silk wraps, etc.) applied, but your salon will be just as willing to walk you through those services. And that’s just about all you need to know if you’re planning your first manicure for prom!