Everything You Need to Know About Nail Salon Etiquette

You might not think there are set policies or rules for going to a nail salon, but there are. Most salons have their own policies ranging from late arrivals and late cancelations to how the customer treats their employees. Thankfully, it’s common sense for most people to just be nice, polite, and courteous. But not everyone is, which is why we made this guide to everything you need to know about nail salon etiquette. There’s nothing complicated or confusing, and all of the etiquette is straightforward, but it’s still important to read through and make sure you are doing the right things. 

If you don’t want to deal with scheduling and canceling appointments or spending time at the salon, you can always try Clutch Nails, which we will discuss in detail later. If you are one of those people who do enjoy going to the salon, then look over this guide and see if you’ve ever been guilty of doing any of these nail salon no-nos! 

Don’t Cancel the Day Of

This is one of the biggest things to avoid if you have an appointment at a nail salon. Try as hard as you can to never cancel the day of your appointment. Of course, there are always exceptions, such as emergencies or a last-minute work obligation, which are valid. But, it’s hard to fill a day-of appointment, so the salon will lose out on money if you don’t cancel at least 24 hours in advance. The only thing worse than a late cancelation is a no-show because then the salon can’t even try to fill your spot. 

Even if you have a great memory, write down your appointment date and time, or set a reminder on your phone. Most salons will call you or send you an email/text reminder the day before as well so that you can avoid the late cancelation. Just try to be as considerate as you can when it comes to appointment times. You probably wouldn’t like it if your appointment or meeting was canceled the day of either. If there really is an emergency or something you simply can’t avoid, be as polite and apologetic as you can when canceling, and try to reschedule right away, so they don’t miss out on a sale. 

Arrive On Time

Besides the cancelation rule, this is probably the most important piece of etiquette to remember when going to a nail salon. Everyone’s time is valuable, so arriving on time (and preferably, five minutes early) is just the right thing to do. If you are stuck in traffic or running behind, always call and give the salon a heads up and let them know your estimated arrival time. That way, they can start on other clients or finish other work in the meantime, rather than sitting there wondering when you will show up. In most cases, they will probably say not to worry and thank you for the heads up, but if they are booked back to back, they might cancel your appointment. 

If the salon is more than 15 minutes away, it’s always best to leave an extra five to ten minutes early so you’ll get there on time. Of course, if you live down the street, you will be fine to just leave a few minutes before your appointment time. Keep in mind that it’s always better to be early than late, and better to be late than not show at all! 

Have a Color in Mind

This is an interesting point that many people do not think about. It’s definitely not the most important thing in the world, but it’s still something to consider. In most cases, nail salons are very busy. They are constantly going from customer to customer throughout the day. Because of this, time really is of the essence. Have you ever gone into a salon, and the person in front of you has the nail color rings and takes forever to decide on a color? It can actually hold things up quite a bit. 

Before you go into the salon, have an idea of what color or design you want on your nails. We know it can be fun to browse through all of those colors, but most salons have at least 100 colors to choose from. So, you can see how that would be time-consuming to even just glance through all those options. At the very least, have a general color in mind, such as pink, for example. That way, when you go in, you only have to look through the pink colors before settling on the one you like. 

Leave a Tip

The art of tipping can sometimes be a confusing thing, but it doesn’t have to be. Here’s the main thing to know: always leave a tip! There is pretty much never a reason not to leave a tip unless there is a rare circumstance or issue. If that is the case, take it up with the manager or owner, don’t just walk out without leaving a tip. You would be surprised at how many people don’t leave a tip because they say it will make the service too expensive. We think a good rule of thumb to follow is that if you can’t afford the service and the tip, don’t get the service. 

Typically, a tip will fall in a range of 15 to 20 percent of the service cost before tax. Anywhere in that range is perfectly acceptable. If it’s a low-cost service (such as a regular polish change), the tip would only be around $2, so most people would leave more than 20% in that case. The other thing to consider is how you tip, cash or card. It is pretty much always preferred that you tip with cash, but tipping on a card is better than nothing at all. 

Is There Another Way To Do My Nails?

Yes, there is another way to do your nails, and it’s faster and cheaper (and doesn’t require any etiquette). Going to the salon is a nice treat, but it can get very pricey and time-consuming after a while, especially if you are someone who goes regularly. If you are someone who is looking to save money or someone who just doesn’t like spending time in the nail salon, then you should think about using press-on nails. The press-on nails from Clutch Nails will leave you looking like you just had an amazing manicure at the salon. Your wallet is the only one who will know the truth! 

Press-on nails are also way easier and faster than attempting to paint your own nails. We’ve all had those major fails where the polish gets everywhere, or you keep messing up a design. You won’t have to worry about that anymore! People will be asking you where you got your nails done, and they won’t believe it when you tell them the truth. Plus, you only need three items and about 10 minutes to finish the whole process. 

You will need glue, a small application brush, and press-on nails. You start by making sure your natural nail is filed and buffed how you like it. Then, take the application brush and put a small dot of glue on it. Paint an even layer on your nail, and then immediately press the fake nail on the top. Hold it down for about 30 seconds, then repeat with your other nails. You can file and trim the nails like you would real ones. 


Now you know everything there is to know about nail salon etiquette. Some of it is common sense, but it’s good to read everything just as a refresher. People can be so busy (and forgetful), sometimes they forget about basic things like tipping or canceling their appointment 24 hours in advance. Life happens, so it’s not the end of the world if you find yourself doing one of these nail salon etiquette no-nos, but you should try and stick to these rules out of respect for the salon and your nail tech. 

If you are tired of going to the salon, or if it’s getting too expensive, then trying Clutch Nails is a great idea. If you’ve never used press-ons before, you’re going to love how easy they are to use. You’re also going to love how professional and amazing they look on your nails. One of the sets we are absolutely loving right now is the Cherry on Top set. These nails are a bright pink with an adorable cherry design on the accent nails. They are long nails with a square shape and a glossy finish. They will look great with anything during any season, but especially during the summer months!  


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