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What is a Nail Bar?

By Sheri Cyprus
Updated May 16, 2024
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A nail bar is a shop that provides products and services related to fingernail and toenail care. Nail bars offer manicures and pedicures; manicures include shaped and painted nails on the hands, while pedicures are the same for the feet. Manicures and pedicures also involve caring for the skin around the nails, such as by trimming cuticles and applying skin cream. While a nail bar always has products and services for the nails, some of these bars also offer other beauty business services.

Many nail bars also focus on the face. These beauty bars may feature make up artists as well as nail specialists. Nail specialists not only paint fingernails and toenails with polish, they add intricate designs such as tiny jeweled sparkles in the nail centers. Makeup artists apply color to the entire face by using eye shadow, lip sticks, and cheek blush.

Nail bar specialists or technicians are also experienced in applying techniques such as French manicures. A French manicure features the nails shaped slightly square. White polish is added to the tips of the nails, while the rest of each nail is left natural or has a natural-looking polish applied. The white polish is applied in a crescent shape that mimics the natural curved whites of the nails, but it usually takes up a larger section of each nail. To finish the natural elegance of French nails, two coats of clear nail polish are added.

Make up artists and skin specialists who work at nail bars usually have separate work stations away from the areas used for working on nails. These sections can look very spa-like. There may be massage chairs as well as stacks of trendy beauty and health magazines for clients to read. A nail bar may feature a wall of attractively displayed accessories for the hands and feet, such as bracelets and flip flops.

Many nail bars have long counters on several walls that are sectioned off into work stations. Each station contains products such as nail buffers, files, clippers, polishes, and much more. A chair for the nail bar client to sit in is placed near the counter of each work station. The look of the counters of neatly stacked supplies is similar to those in hair salons, but the chairs are a little different. Nail salon chairs are large and feature a foot soaking section at the bottom along with a footrest for placing the feet on during pedicures.

A nail bar must be clean and sanitary. The salon equipment and utensils should be sterilized before use on the next client. Nail bars must meet health codes and pass government inspections in most geographical areas.

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Discussion Comments

By Grivusangel — On Apr 10, 2014

@Wisedly33 -- I don't know. I'm not sure these places are always safe to visit. I've heard of people getting nasty nail infections from them. I guess it's a risk everywhere you go, but I usually get my nail services from a full service salon. I know they're inspected by the health department and I think they're safer.

By Wisedly33 — On Apr 09, 2014

Never heard these places called "nail bars." I always heard the term "nail salon." Either one works, though, and describes their function.

Nail bar prices are usually better than what you see in a big salon or spa. Maybe that's because it's all they do, and they don't have as many employees as a big salon, or as much overhead.

I usually go to a nail bar for a pedicure or manicure.

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