Admissions 801-747-5705 Services & General Info 801-747-5700



25 High Demand Skills That Every Nail Tech Must Learn

Nov 20 2014

nail-technician-coursesBasic salon duties encompass much more than manicures and pedicures. If you’re thinking about going into this business, there are approximately 25 high-demand nail tech skills that you need to learn in order to be successful.

What follows is brief information about each one. It should be noted that the majority of these services are requested by clients of all ages.

Acrylic “Dip” Services

An acrylic “dip” is a process where an adhesive is applied to nails or nail tips. While the nails are wet they are dipped into a polymer powder, a total of 2-3 times. The nails are then filed into shape and shined.

There are countless colors to choose from. The application process is quicker than getting traditional acrylic nails and there are no fumes. A “dip” is typically repeated every two weeks.

Acrylic Toenails

Acrylic toenails are growing in popularity. There is a huge selection to choose from. They go on quickly, are affordable and easy to maintain. Clients have the option of choosing full nails or just nail tips.

After nails and cuticles are cleaned, a small amount of liquid acrylic is applied to the nail. Once this acrylic hardens, it can be sculptured, painted and buffed. To maintain the original look, nails should be filled in once a month.

Acrylics (Sculpt)

Sculpted acrylics are a great choice for individuals who have flat nails. They utilize a temporary form that fits underneath the natural nail. Acrylic is applied over the form and then shaped to the desired length.

Acrylics (Tip with Overlay)

This method consists of attaching a half tip to the natural nail and then applying a coat of the desired gel or acrylic.

Brush-on Gel Polish

This is a type of gel polish that is brushed on the nails. Because of its thicker consistency, it generally holds its shape without running. It also helps to strengthen natural nails.

Colored Acrylics

Color acrylics are typically available in powder form. Use them with any liquid monomer. They are long-lasting and hold up well with minimal chipping.

Eyebrow Shaping and Nail Tech Skills

Eyebrow shaping shapes the eyebrows. This is done by waxing, electrolysis or simply plucking out the lashes. The method used is usually based on the amount of unwanted hair involved. Waxing and electrolysis are the two quickest and most requested methods. After the treatment, a good lotion is applied to sooth the area.

Eyelash Extensions or Tinting

Eyelash extensions or tinting is requested when someone wants more luxurious looking lashes. Extensions are applied to each lash using a non-toxic, surgical quality, adhesive. Made out of a variety of synthetic fibers, the extensions typically last 3-4 weeks. They must be re-filled once a month.

Eyelash tinting is the process of dying the eyelashes to make them look darker. There are several colors of dye to choose from. The desired color is dependent on hair color, skin type, etc.

Foot Massage

A foot massage is applying pressure to the feet, in effort to create a relaxing effect on the body. Two popular type of foot massage are Chinese and Reflexology.

Full-Coverage Nail Art and Nail Tech Skills

Full-coverage nail art covers the entire area, attaching easily to the natural nail. The art is available in a wide variety of colors and designs. No re-fill treatments are necessary. One set can be worn for about two weeks. After that time, soaking the nails removes the art. So, a new set can be applied.

Gel Toenails

Gel toenails are nail extensions made from a gel product, which is applied and hardened under ultraviolet light.


Manicures are basically maintenance of the hands and nails. They consist of cleaning, cutting and shaping nails. Cuticles are cut and shaped, if necessary. Many clients requests some type of nail polish, as well.


Massage is the process of manipulating a person’s muscles and tendons, in order to create a relaxing feeling and effect.

Nail Art

Nail art is simply one of thousands of creative ways to decorate the nails.

Paraffin Dips

Paraffin dips are generally performed on the hands or feet. The process involves dipping either or both it melted wax. Once the entire area is coated, it is wrapped up for about 10 minutes.

Once the wax dries, the wrap is removed. The wax is peeled off, removing dead skin. This leaves the treated area very soft and feeling wonderful.

Pedicures and Nail Tech Skills

Simply stated, a pedicure is a manicure of the toenails.

Pink-and-White Acrylics

Pink-and white-acrylics are just what they sound like. They are used to produce a “French” manicured look. White acrylic is used to sculpt the nail tips. Pink acrylic is then overlaid on the base of the nail. Nails should be re-filled bi-weekly.

Polish Changes

Polish changes involve changing the color of nail polish that is already on the nails. No cuticle trimming or nail shaping is done. Polish changes are done whenever a client requests the service.


Reflexology is a type of massage, which concentrates on specific parts of the hands, feet and ears. Reflexologists believe that manipulating these pressure points has a beneficial effect on a person’s overall health and well-being. Sessions are scheduled 1-3 times per week.

Soak-Off Gels

Soak-off gels are brushed on in layers. Each layer is “cured,” using a UV light. They are available in many finishes and colors. They typically last 2-3 weeks, without chipping. They are less damaging to your nails and there’s no drying time or smudging.

On the downside, this type of manicure takes longer than a traditional one and the cost is higher, compared to other options.

Specialty Manicures and Nail Tech Skills

Depending on the salon, specialty manicures can consist of several things. There’s a good chance that no two spas are the same. Generally, a specialty manicure consists of both nail and hand treatments.

Specialty Pedicures

Just like specialty manicures, specialty pedicures can encompass different things. Clients can expect a deluxe pedicure and some type of skin treatment.

Traditional Gels

Traditional gels usually last 10-12 days. They have a more realistic appearance than acrylic nails. There are two different types of these nails. One can be soaked off in the second can be filed off.

Waxing and Nail Tech Skills

Waxing is a common method of removing unwanted facial and body hair. Warm wax is applied to the desired area, with a wooden applicator. It is then removed in a quick manner, taking unwanted hair with it. For the session to be successful, there should be approximately 10-14 days of hair growth present.

Wraps and Nail Tech Skills

The purpose of a body wrap is to assist clients in shedding inches from their waists. It involves applying a variety of skin cleansing ingredients to the body and then wrapping the person in hot towels.

As you can see, there are many things you need to learn to be successful in a salon setting. Of course, you won’t master these 25 nails tech skills overnight. But, with determination and due diligence, you’ll soon be working in a career field that you love!

Interested in becoming a nail technician? 

Would you like to become a nail technician? Are you looking to switch careers? If yes, we can help you achieve your goals. At Cameo College, you’ll learn all the latest nail tech procedures and work with the latest nail equipment and products. Contact us today for more information.


3.5 2 votes
Article Rating
Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x