Nail Necessities: Lessons from a First Time Manicure

Nail Necessities: Lessons from a First Time Manicure

(A Ferndale View by, Crystal A. Proxmire, 12/13/2011)

So the other day I got my first manicure, courtesy of the ladies at Rouge Salon (23341 Woodward).  I got to enjoy an hour long manicure experience that also included a lot of education about how to keep your hands and nails healthy and attractive.  Beautification expert Cheryl Salinas-Tucker did an organic makeup application on another guest, while the nail expert Jennifer Bulatovic, did my pampering for the day.  And, to make an already interesting experience even better, by happenstance Carol Jackson had the appointment before mine so I got to hear what to expect from an experienced manicure customer.

Carol Jackson is very active with the Ferndale Area Chamber, the Ferndale Rotary, animal rescue projects, and her own business Bits N Pieces Small Business Solutions.  She also works at Blumz.  And she has been getting regular manicures for at least ten years.  The past year and a half, since Rouge opened, she’s been going to see Jennifer.

“Only Jennifer.  Seriously.  Since I’ve been coming here I’m more consistent.  Plus she’s a little like a shrink so that helps.  It’s kind of a girls’ version of Cheers.”

Carol gets hers done every 2-4 weeks.  “It’s healthier for your nails to have cuticles cut back and it makes you feel pampered,” she said.  “It’s an hour of someone else doing something for you.  This is the one thing I treat myself for.”

A manicure takes an hour to an hour and a half depending on how thorough of services you desire.  When Carol left, with a beautifully simple French Manicure, it was my turn to get in the chair.

Jennifer started by putting a heated wrap on the back of my neck and offering me tea and or water.  She sanitized my hands with an organic sanitizing spray, then examined my nails.  The sanitizer tingled in spots, which is where my skin was broken due to stretching skin.

“When you don’t push back and trim your cuticles, the skin sticks to your nails and as they grow it stretches.  It causes those little tears and that redness is a little inflammation because the skin is being pulled so tight.”

She then clipped and filed my nails to even them out, giving them a “soft square” cut, to keep them most strong for typing.

She had me soak both hands in a warm bath of ginger with rocks in the bottom to play with.  Soaking softens the hands and cuticles. Then she scraped the dead cuticle skin off the surface of my nails and used cuticle trimmers to cut away the dead skin.  I thought this would hurt, and I was nervous, but it didn’t.  She pointed out that the base of the nail is where the nail grows out from, so keeping this area covered with dead skin prevents it from breathing properly and absorbing nutrients if you use lotion or oil.  Vitamin E oil, or other similar natural products, can be rubbed into the base of the nail and the skin around it to encourage healthy nail growth.

I asked if there were foods one could eat that might help nails grow, but basically good overall health is the key, Jennifer said.  The Vitamin E directly on the nails and skin is her preferred method of fortification.  I asked about products like Tough as Nails, and she said those only coat your nails with an enamel, but don’t make them stronger.

“By the time they are grown, it’s too late to do much.  The best thing is to make sure that the new growth is healthy, and be patient with it,” she said.

Jennifer went to school for a year to become a professional nail technician, and one of her specialties is nail restoration.  Acrylics can cause severe damage to nails, and it takes someone gentle and experienced to guide the customer back on a path to natural, healthy nails.

Products at Rouge are made with a natural approach in mind.  Most are made with organic, vegan ingredients.  “A lot of make-up is made with fish scales, especially things that are shimmery,” she said.  “And a lot of products are made with tallow, which is beef fat.  Not only is that kind of icky, it’s got all those hormones in it that you’re putting right onto your skin.”

After being further pampered with a relaxing hand and forearm massage, it was time to pick out the nail polish.

My intent was to do to the French Manicure, but since I’d already gotten photos of Carol Jackson’s beautiful nails, I figured I may as well be bold and go for a color.

I chose one by SpaRitual called “Yes I Can Green,” which seemed like a good Ferndale color to have.

The experience was wonderful, and my hands feel great.  There had been inflammation in the skin just below the base of the nails, which is gone now.  Jennifer said that to care for my nails at home, I should push the cuticles back when I get out of the shower or bath.  To make the nail polish last longer, I can avoid soaking my hands in soap and take care not to let them scrape against anything.

Rouge offers manicures and pedicures, which include plenty of pampering and care.  They also have gift certificates.  Appointments can be made for individuals, or groups can come in for small pedicure parties.  There is also make-up by Eve Organics, eyebrow tweezing, and jewelry available for sale.

Jennifer is a certified nail tech with five years’ experience.  She and her sister Cheryl grew up with a mother who did hair in a salon.  Cheryl is a former Aveda representative, and Jennifer is a former preschool teacher. Both wanted to find happiness working for themselves and helping other people to look and feel good.  Their colorful location is decorated with items they grew up with, accented with other cool finds.

To find out more or to make an appointment, check out their website at

This website is not affiliated with Rouge in any way, but I found it while I was researching manicure information and I think it is kind of neat –

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