How often do you get a manicure, pedicure, or mani-pedi? Twice? Ten times? To the point where counting them would be pointless? At this point, it seems as though all you have to do is show up, hold out your hands, and you are good to go. There are a lot of moving parts to getting that Insta-worthy mani, from the not-so-sanitary buffer blocks to the nail-art design you are itching to cop. Follow the post to learn all the ways you could be doing it wrong and how to fix it for the best nail salon visit of your life.

Mistake 1 – Too Fixated on the Nail Art

If the nail design you are trying to replicate is really complex or detailed, even if you do your research and take eighteen screenshots, you still might not be able to get the identical result. The size of your nail bed may prevent you from wearing a particular nail art design, so be flexible. Nails vary from one to another. In addition, the pattern will look better on your nails if the technician makes the necessary adjustments to fit them.

Mistake 2 – Not Bringing Your Own Kit

When it comes to hygiene, some nail tools have one thing in common: they are made of metal and hence easier to sterilize. But a paper file and buffer block will melt in a sterilizer. Bringing your own is perfectly fine. Do not use anything softer than metal for tools, including shared foam blocks and buffers.

Mistake 3 – Showing Up Late at Your Nail Salon Appointment

While we are as big fans of gel nail paint as the next gal, we can all agree that removing it is a major pain. Call ahead if you are getting a mani with gel polish remaining on your nails. They can schedule your appointment accordingly so that you will not feel rushed. It will just take your technician about 15–20 minutes out of their schedule to remove it securely.

Mistake 4 – Touching Your Nails After Buffing

You know you want to touch your nails since they are so smooth and shiny after being buffed. Please stop! A manicure will last longer if the base coat is applied to a clean, oil- and debris-free nail. Oils from your fingers could migrate to the surface, preventing the base coat from sticking and resulting in chipping if you handle them right away.

Mistake 5 – Shaving Before the Nail Salon Appointment

I can see why you would not want to show the person giving you a pedi your unshaven legs. However, if you shave your legs the morning of your pedicure, you may experience some stinging. Having just shaved can make your legs more susceptible to the exfoliating effects of a sugar or salt scrub. Believe us, we techs will not pass judgment, but we do ask that you do not shave the day of your pedicure.

Mistake 6 – Assuming Gel Nail Requires Zero Maintenance

Advantage: Gel nail art will endure for weeks. Disadvantage: It is not bulletproof, and it depends on the nail art you obtain. Things that are sharp include studs, spikes, and anything else that ta